Humanitarian Response and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Increasing Effectiveness and Accountability in the Age of Complex Emergencies
“Natural” disasters and political unrest pose chronic threats to human security. Separately or in tandem, they turn citizens into refugees and displaced people, stretch government capacity, and, increasingly, spark chronic disorder, instability, or military conflict. What are the implications of complex emergencies, where natural and man-made factors combine, for the future of humanitarian action? This institute will convene an interdisciplinary and international group of academics and practitioners to develop a better understanding of the underlying political, social, and environmental factors that affect human security before, during, and after humanitarian emergencies. Topics will include the effectiveness and sustainability of existing disaster preparedness systems in different regions; best practices in humanitarian assistance delivery, training and monitoring; and the politics of compassion in disaster and conflict zones. Discussions will focus in particular on the ethical issues that arise at the intersection of human security and humanitarian assistance; rights-based approaches to humanitarian relief; and the potential for new technologies to transform humanitarian response.
Ethnicity, Conflict, and Inequality in Global Perspective
Co-convened by faculty from the Departments of Economics and Political Science, this institute offers participants a thorough exploration of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of scholarship that connects conflict, inequality, and ethnicity. Best practices in comparative and interdisciplinary research design, implementation, and exposition will be explored, with a particular focus on the dilemmas of doing justice to context-specific data while producing generalizable insights. Lectures and workshops led by distinguished guest faculty will constitute the core of this institute, to be supplemented by participants' individual research presentations and panel discussions on pressing contemporary cases in line with participants' expertise and interests. Applications are especially welcome from scholars interested in evidence-based policy-making.
Climate Change and Its Impacts: Connecting Local Variability and Knowledge in a Global System
The knowledge of global scale climate change science is rich and well established, but the variability in climate encountered at the local level is critical to sustaining human development. How do we best predict regional to local scale changes in future climate? How does this knowledge feed into local practices for ecosystem-based management and sustainable agriculture? How can local knowledge systems contribute to best practices? How do historical legacies influence our ability to adapt and transform? What can be learned and transferred between societies to inform tractable strategies and policies? Primary themes in this institute surround climate change and agriculture, including water stress, use of technology, local/indigenous knowledge, and policy. Participants will be provided opportunities to develop research projects with scholars across disciplines, consider issues related to environmental and social justice, and practice oral and written communication skills.
Forced Population Displacements and the Making of the Modern World
Massive population displacement has long been an engine for the formation of the modern world as well as for producing modern knowledge regimes. The institute explores the historical roots of displacement from the colonial conquest of the Americas and the slave trade to industrialization and rise of nation states. It brings together scholars, practitioners, and activists working on present day displacements from the Syrian civil war to the Three Gorges Dam project in China. Participants will discuss the conceptual tools and forms of political and social mobilization shaping our understanding of and responses to the human and ecological dynamics of forced displacements.