Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Student Spotlight: Aida Palma '16

Name: Aida Palma ‘16

Concentration: International Relations, CLACS Fellow

Hometown: Guadalajara, Mexico

What is your thesis about?

I am looking at the theory of soft power within international relations. That is to say how countries develop positive perceptions of other countries. The idea is that this positive perception will work in your favor in international affairs. An example of why perception matters is if Britain has a good perception of the US, the relationship between the two countries will be likely be amicable. I am looking specifically at Guadalajara and Chinese migration there. Traditionally in International Relations, migrants have not been considered as agents of soft power. Only nationalistic migrants, those people that constantly propagate national interests through political action have been thought to promote soft power. But if we consider culture as a proponent of soft power, then migrants, as inherent proponents of culture influence people’s perception of the countries they migrate from.

What are your plans post graduation?

I want to work for a few years after graduation before applying to graduate school. I am looking at organizations that deal with migration on an international level or working with organizations that work with Mexican migrants here in the US.