Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)
Anik Willig ’24

Student Spotlight: Anik Willig ’24

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Concentration: International and Public Affairs

Please describe briefly your research as part of the Presidential Scholars Program.

This past summer I worked with Professor Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro, whose work focuses on studying quality of representation, government accountability, and corruption in Latin America. I conducted research on clientelism in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, and instances of politicians branding social services like food boxes and COVID protection equipment with their names and faces. This project aimed at examining citizen approval of these politicians, and determining if this branding resulted in more positive or negative responses. Most recently, I have been producing an interview series dealing with the U.S. immigration system. The project has been conducted under the supervision of Professor Ieva Jusionyte. I have interviewed immigration lawyers, activists, and former undocumented persons on their experiences with the intention of publishing an article regarding issues they discussed within the current immigration system. This project is ongoing.

How did your work with the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at the Watson fuel your interest in immigration rights or complement your ongoing research? 

Working as a student assistant at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Watson has reinforced my desire to work in the field of human rights and has given me valuable experience in studying conflict, working with professionals, and promoting important information on current international issues. I’ve been able to study response efforts towards refugee crises by compiling information on major global conflicts for the CHRHS website, and promoting events with experts on international human rights issues. Being able to study specific topics related to immigration has greatly influenced my research and prospective career interests.

What do you hope to learn or achieve through your research, either at Brown or after graduation? 

After my studies I plan to work as an attorney specializing in immigration or international human rights law. Through my research and work at the center I’ve been able to examine the root causes of humanitarian crises and political barriers to admission within the immigration system. I hope to use these learning experiences to help create a system that is less complex, more humane, and more accessible.

--Aalia Jagwani ’24