Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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IR Students Win Academic Prizes

May 27, 2011

The following prizes have been awarded to international relations concentrators graduating in the class of 2011:
Shanoor Seervai has won the Mark and Betty Garrison Prize for best thesis in international relations, foreign policy analysis, or diplomatic history. Seervai’s thesis, “Explaining the Persistence and Decline of Separatist Movements: The Case of India,” cites differences in the practical functioning of institutions as key to the different outcomes of separatist movements in federal democracies. Her methodology, she says, can be used to predict outcomes of separatist movements in other states, as well.

Julien Philipp Sebastian Gaertner has won the Samuel C. Lamport Prize for best thesis on international understanding with an emphasis on cooperation and tolerance. For his thesis, “Modeling Energy Regimes: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Energy Choice Across Countries,” Gaertner aimed to explain the determinants of energy supply and usage on a cross-country level. He designed a meta-model of energy choice that considers energy prices, geographic conditions, government composition, public opinion, and cross-country peer effects as determinants of energy regimes. His findings emphasized pricing, government composition, and peer effects as the strongest influences.

Ambika Natesh won the Anthony Riccio Prize in International Relations, awarded each year to a student who “has demonstrated an unquenchable curiosity about another part of the world, a commitment to the rigorous learning of a foreign language, an intrepid pursuit of study abroad, and a pride in her university and her country.” Natesh studied Arabic for eight semesters at Brown, through the advanced level plus two semesters of an independent study on Arabic media and translation. She studied abroad in Jordan, including a global independent study project on women in the Middle East. She is a double concentrator in Middle East studies and has taken eight courses on the region, including a group independent study project on terrorism and an independent study on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Her service to the University included leadership in the IR Departmental Undergraduate Group (IR DUG) and work as an IR student assistant.

Ambika Natesh, Emily Atwood, and Eric Shu have received the International Relations Concentration Service and Leadership Award, celebrating graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication to the IR concentration and fellow concentrators. All three are leaders of the IR DUG. The IR DUG is a student-run organization that creates opportunities for IR concentrators to interact with each other and with professors. It provides a peer advising system, organizes casual meetings with Watson-affiliated faculty, and holds information sessions on internship/career opportunities, among other activities.