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Honors Students

Samuel Garcia

Cohort: 2018

What explains the re-establishment of U.S.-Cuba relations under U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro?  Conventional wisdom points to public opinion shifts within the Cuban-American community and domestic reform within Cuba.  These two factors, while important, are insufficient to account for the re-establishment of U.S.-Cuba relations.  This thesis argues that the development of a working trust between Obama and Castro was critical to diplomatic breakthrough.  Decades of animosity fueled a deep mistrust between the United States and Cuba.  As this thesis details, Obama and Castro communicated a series of cooperative and trust-building signals – aided by Pope Francis and the Catholic Church – that allowed diplomatic breakthrough to emerge.

 

Thesis:

Garcia, Samuel (2018). Diplomatic Breakthrough: Politics, Reform, and Trust in the Restoration of US-Cuba Relations

Stanford Digital Repository. Avaliable HERE.

Zoe Goldblum

Cohort: 2018

The state of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948.  For those who had fought for the creation of a Jewish state, 1948 represented a triumph after centuries of Jewish experiences of oppression, displacement, and most recently, genocide. However, in most Palestinian narratives, Israel’s founding is called the Nakba, or ‘catastrophe,’ due to the resulting displacement of around 700,000 Palestinians and the creation of an ongoing refugee issue.  This thesis seeks to understand how the Israeli historical and collective memory of 1948 was constructed and communicated in the early years of Israeli statehood.  In particular, the thesis examines how Israeli leaders portrayed the refugee crisis to the international community through speeches to United Nations General Assembly.  I examine the speeches of Golda Meir and Abba Eban, two important orators and politicians in Israel’s early history. In doing so, this thesis will examine the formation of narratives to describe the outset of the Palestinian refugee crisis that are still in use today. 

 

Thesis:

Goldblum, Zoe (2018). Israel's Founding in Words: Israeli Speeches at the UN and the Palestinian Refugee Crisis

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE.

Keagan Hanley

Cohort: 2018

Can public policy help create the next Silicon Valley in Chile?  Policy makers frequently want to encourage the growth of high-technology sectors or “cluster formations,” which offer the promise of accelerating national growth and employment.  The Chilean government and other governments around the world have implemented various national-level public policies aimed at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.  Yet the efficacy of these policies is open to question.  Some expect high technology clusters to develop in areas where public policies offer targeted support to entrepreneurs, whereas others expect high technology clusters to develop in areas where the preexisting culture and framework fits the innovation-growth model.  This thesis examines policy efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in Chile by considering cluster theory, as well as diverse policy models from successful entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide.

 

Thesis:

Hanley, Keagan (2018). Engineering a Chilaean Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Role of Government in Cluster 

Stanford Digital Repository. Avaliable in June 2018.

Campbell Howe

Cohort: 2018

Since 2003, the Sudanese government and its Arab militia proxies have conducted a genocide against Africans in Darfur, killing roughly 500,000 people and displacing 2.7 million. Public outcry compelled President George W. Bush to take diplomatic measures to end the atrocities, though they achieved little success. In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama included Darfur on his presidential platform and denounced the genocide as a “stain on our souls.” Nevertheless, during his presidency, Obama not only failed to address the genocide, but also lifted sanctions that had been imposed on Khartoum for its criminal activities in Darfur. This thesis examines why the Obama Administration’s foreign policies in relation to Darfur were so weak. In particular, I focus on four main factors that constrained U.S. action in the region: lack of political salience, South Sudan's creation and subsequent implosion, humanitarian crises elsewhere, and China's and Russia's economic interests in Sudan. By understanding these policy constraints, we might learn how to end this long and violent genocide, as well as other humanitarian conflicts in areas with little national strategic import.

 

Thesis:

Howe, Campbell (2018). "A Stain on Our Souls": The Darfur Genocide During the Obama Presidency

Stanford Digital Repository. Available in HERE.

Alyssa Liew

Cohort: 2018

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has created one of the longest standing refugee populations in the world: Palestinian refugees.  Yet Palestinians are excluded by name from the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is responsible for outlining the international legal protections that most refugees are entitled to access.  Instead, Palestinian refugees fall under the protection of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  Why are there two separate entities for managing Palestinian refugees and all other international refugees?   How does this system impact the protection of Palestinian refugee rights, and does it lead to variations in the treatment of Palestinian refugees by geographic location?  This thesis analyzes the international treatment of and protections granted to the Palestinian refugee population by investigating both the international institutional frameworks—in particular, through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNRWA—as well as state-level responses, with a specific focus on Jordan and its policies towards Palestinian refugees. 

 

Thesis:

Liew, Alyssa (2018). Gaza Stripped: Palestinian Refugees within an International and State Context

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Pablo Lozano

Cohort: 2018

Over the last two centuries, the United States has been involved in over 160 military interventions. More often than not, the interventions have failed, at times, catastrophically. Nevertheless, the U.S. continues to rely on military intervention as an important tool in foreign affairs. Why do American military interventions fail?  The Rise and Fall of the Human Terrain System is a thesis that focuses on the underappreciated, but increasingly important variable of local awareness. In particular, the thesis investigates the rise and fall of the Human Terrain System (HTS) in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. HTS, a program established in 2006 to support the U.S. military’s new population-centric counterinsurgency, explicitly attempted to address the gaps in local awareness by using small Human Terrain Teams (HTTs) of social scientists, anthropologists, and soldiers to support military operations at the Brigade and Division level. U.S. Central Command grew the program quickly in its early years, expanding from one well-supported HTT in Afghanistan to twenty-nine HTTs for each Brigade Combat Team in both Afghanistan and Iraq. However, due to inconsistency, a loss of funds, and the inability to balance critical concerns between ethics, security, and military institutions, HTS shut down in 2014. The thesis argues that since the end of HTS in 2014, the U.S. military has fallen short of successfully addressing its deficiency in local awareness. Ultimately, the thesis advocates for a reorganization of the U.S. military to equip the military with the expertise and competency in local awareness that is necessary for the type of warfare that has consumed the majority of its existence, military interventions.

 

Thesis:

Lozano, Pablo (2018). Why American Military Interventions Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Human Terrian System

Molly Montgomery

Cohort: 2018

Recent climate change predictions have left the world to watch nervously as countries like India, the world’s third largest producer of emissions, anticipate bringing over 300 million additional people onto the electrical grid.  If India continues to build coal power plants, the effects on global climate, particularly health in India, could be catastrophic.  In the next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds the fate of the country in his hands as important energy policy decisions are decided, and his role as India’s leader will either push the tide of environmentalism forward, or cause it to flounder.  The country is now poised to bring its citizens onto the electrical grid using solar energy, thus leapfrogging coal.  Will India move forward with solar power or turn back to coal? This thesis argues that the success of solar power in India rests on the maintained prioritization of renewable energy by the Modi government, the continued stability in the trade relationship with China, and manufacturing capability in India today.  In order to analyze the future of the Indian solar project, this thesis will examine the demonetization movement of 2016 (in order to assess the Modi government’s capacity to stick with policy priorities), the China-India trade relationship and a comparison of India’s most successful solar parks (in order to assess India’s manufacturing capabilities).  Each of these cases elucidate different aspects of the solar initiative, its political promises and its political limitations. 

 

Thesis:

Montgomery, Molly (2018). Leapfrogging Coal: An Analysis of the Future Potential of the Indian Solar Experiment

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE.

Rachel Morrow

Cohort: 2018

The relationship between the United States and United Kingdom has long been referred to as “The Special Relationship,” a remarkable alliance based upon a shared language, an interwoven history, and largely homogeneous traditions. Historically, the U.S. President and the U.K. Prime Minister have enjoyed a distinctive personal relationship of their own, and the nuances of their rapport may impact how the two states interact in substantive ways.  For example, during the Iraq War, many argued that British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent British troops into Iraq largely in order to preserve Britain’s special relationship with the United States and due to Blair’s affinity for President George W. Bush.  This raises the central question of this thesis: Does the personal relationship between the U.S. President and the U.K. Prime Minister affect the likelihood of joint military intervention? To analyze that question, this thesis examines the effects of the interpersonal relationship on four cases of military interventions during the post-World War II era: Vietnam, the Falklands, Bosnia, and Iraq.

 

Thesis:

Morrow, Rachel (2018). The Effect of Interpersonal Relationships on Intervention: A Case Study on United Kingdom/United States Heads of State

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE.

Sophie Stuber

Cohort: 2018

Is the right to a healthy environment a fundamental human right? Climate change is predicted to exacerbate negative environmental phenomena, including drought, rising sea levels, and the prevalence of severe natural disasters.  How can and should international institutions, such as the United Nations, aid persons displaced due to climate change?  First, the thesis traces how the international community’s definition of refugees has evolved in the past century, in order to argue how and on what grounds persons displaced due to climate change may considered refugees in the future.  The UN and international legal community do not yet recognize persons displaced due to climate change as refugees with rights that accompany that designation.   Second, the thesis explores international organizations’ responses to previous high magnitude natural disasters, which generate comparable population displacements as those predicted by the climate change.  Finally, this thesis investigates three case studies of regions already experiencing the effects of climate change: Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, and the Sahel region in Africa. These cases provide insights regarding how climate change could affect global migration patterns and will serve as guidance for how the international community should address the challenges of forced displacement due to climate change.  This thesis argues that the international community must design a legal framework that is flexible and adaptable. Moreover, as an international framework may take years to implement, in the interim states should form regional agreements to address the specific challenges of climate change in their respective localities. Forced displacement due to climate change is a complex and deeply rooted challenge that will need to be addressed through a combination of scientific and legal innovations.   

 

Thesis:

Stuber, Sophie. (2018). When Home Exists No Longer: Climate Change and Forced Cross-Border Migration.

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE.

Kar Mun Nicole Wong

Cohort: 2018

The rise of English as the de facto language of the global realm coincides with the integration of compulsory English language curricula around the world. This is true even in former colonies, which had led independence movements that were fundamentally guided by a desire to separate the new state from the influence of the West.  Why did postcolonial countries incorporate English into their education systems?  Does the dominance of English reflect greater inequalities within the international realm which parallel the dynamics of colonialism?  This thesis aims to answer these questions by studying the development of language policies in former colonies prior to and after independence, with particular attention to the cases of Kenya, Rwanda, Singapore and Vietnam.  The thesis details how the colonial system constrained choices in particular ways that encouraged the adoption of English language curricula.  Specifically, the colonial system established the linguistic foundations that resulted in English playing a larger role in the education system, while also setting barriers that prevented local languages from occupying a primary role in society. The global dominance of the English language is thus another important effect of colonization on the national identities and educational policies of postcolonial countries today.

 

Thesis:

Wong, Kar Mun Nicole (2018). A Decolonization of Our Tongues: Analyzing the Reasons Behind Compulsory English Language Curricula in Postcolonial Countries

Stanford Digital Repository. Available in June 2018.

Christine Cavallo

Cohort: 2017

While El Nino cycles demonstrate extreme weather events that fall out of the normal weather patterns, they may also serve as an example for environmental norms we will endure in the future. For this reason, the impacts they have on both international and domestic agreements and stability should be cautiously heeded. South Africa is one of the most water scarce nations in the world, and their dependence on external sources of water adds an interesting element to what is already a challenging question. Lesotho has an abundance of "white gold," as many of the regional river heads originate within their borders. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project serves as a massive international economic boost for Lesotho while also developing the infrastructure for 100% dependence on hydroelectric power. South Africa front most of the costs for construction of the dams and tunnels involved, and in return receives a consistent water source to their nearby provinces. But when Lesotho was hit by the 2015 drought, arguably even harder than South Africa was, many of Lesotho's population questioned why 40% of their water was still being diverted away from them. I want to look at how droughts impact international agreements such as the LHWP, and how we might see any relevant tensions or turmoil escalate in the future.

 

Thesis:

Cavallo, Christine (2017). Dam Them All: On the Failure of Dams and Dam Building Frameworks.

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE 

Karen Lee

Cohort: 2017

Thailand is one of the few countries in the world that has never been colonized by a Western power. It has also experienced more coups that any other country in the last century--eleven successful coups and seven attempted coups since the bloodless coup that ended the absolute monarchy in 1932. One would think that the lack of a colonial history means that Thailand is a unified country, but it has been plagued by ethnic conflict in its southern provinces since the 1950s and violence has intensified in the past decade. My research poses the question, "How has religious and cultural policy towards Thailand’s Deep South differed under elected versus military-led governments?". I plan to engage and analyze existing literature on the relationship between regime type and religious freedom, code Thailand's twenty constitutions from 1932 to the present based on whether or not they have contained clauses restricting the religious and cultural rights of the Muslim minority in the South, and conduct a case study of four civilian and military regimes in 21st century Thailand.

 

Thesis:

Lee, Karen (2017). Constitutional Engineering: Studying Promotions and Revocations of Relgious Freedom in Thailand.

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Yegina Whang

Cohort: 2017

The question of why states pursue nuclear weapons has been significant topic of study due to the escalation of tensions during the Cold War period and intense fear of proliferation in its aftermath. Most research in this field is extremely difficult to produce due to the small sample size of states with nuclear capabilities as well as a lack of information on countries’ nuclear programs. Academics have offered some possible explanations of the rationale behind leaders’ decisions to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), such as the security model, domestic politics model, and norms model. In my thesis, I will contribute to this existing literature by answering the more narrow question of why some states decide to sign, ratify, and then violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Why have only autocratic states broken the NPT? Does this apply to only the NPT or all international treaties? Through evidence provided by my analysis of large-n data sets and case studies of North Korea, South Korea, and Iran, I hypothesize that international isolation plays a key role in explaining a leader’s decision to cheat on the NPT. 

 

Thesis:

Whang, Yegina (2017). Broken Nuclear Vows: Explaining Why States Cheat on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Kirsten Willer

Cohort: 2017

In the current world of nation-states, being is inherently a political action. Nation-states claim to act for the interests of their own people located within their territory, using their citizens as justification for the state's actions. How do states determine who belongs and has rights to the privileges of being citizen? In Africa, however, borders primarily remain in the arbitrary configuration drawn by colonial powers. What is the salience of citizenship when a group of people has somewhat randomly been brought into a state? What happens when states rescind the citizenship rights of ethnic minority groups? Under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Weinstein, My project investigates the outcomes of cases in sub-Saharan Africa where states have encroached upon the rights of ethnic minorities. I argue that these ethnic minority groups will react with violence to the state’s actions if they believe that citizenship is necessary to be a political and economic actor within the community.

I will answer this question through two different approaches. First, I will use a statistical approach to show a relationship between the severity of the state action that contests citizenship and the severity of the group’s response. I plan to code actions taken against ethnic groups that have been bisected by international borders and are minority groups in each country. Second, I will justify my hypothesis through examining the specific situations of the Banyarwanda in Zaire/DRC and Uganda, respectively. The Banyarwanda are an ethnolinguistic group in the Great Lakes region that have historically been regarded as Rwandan immigrants with an illegitimate claim to citizenship in Zaire and Uganda. Over time, both states have rescinded and even expelled the Banyarwanda, but the Banyarwanda do not always respond with violence to these events.

 

Thesis:

Willer, Kirsten (2017). Citizenship Contestation and Reprisal Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Rebecca Mehra

Cohort: 2016

In a world burdened by burgeoning populations and faced by declining water resources, water is likely to trigger conflict. Since the partition of British India in 1947, and the creation of modern republics of India and Pakistan, the two South Asian countries have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, as well as many border skirmishes and military stand-offs. In fact, during the Kargil War of 1999, the two nations came dangerously close to nuclear war. But for India and Pakistan, some disputes notwithstanding, the Indus water treaty is considered one of the world’s most successful trans-boundary water accords, as it addresses specific water allocation issues and provides unique design requirements for run-of-the-river dams, which ensure the steady flow of water and guarantee hydroelectricity. The agreement also provides a mechanism for consultation and arbitration should questions, disagreements, or disputes arise. So despite India and Pakistan being two of the greatest adversaries in the world, the two nations have had a comprehensive water treaty, the Indus Water Treaty, active for over 50 years. Why have these two countries been steadfast in their efforts to share water in a time in which water issues are likely to trigger conflict? Why do India and Pakistan cooperate on this front? The primary goal of my thesis is to present an accurate theory as to why India and Pakistan cooperate over the issue of water by analyzing various theses on how and why adversaries cooperate, and how water could be a potential outlier.

 

Thesis:

Mehra, Rebecca (2016). Connecting the Drops: The Negotiation of the Indus Water Treaty.
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Simone Nelsen

Cohort: 2016

The focus of my honors thesis is the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and a retrospective look at how the Russian government used the Games as a platform upon which to propagate their political, economic and social agenda. In exploring the Russian use of the Sochi Games, I plan to compare it to the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as these three case studies reflect similar regime types and relationships towards media. I plan to explore the connection between the Olympics and the crucial times, economically and politically, during which these countries bid for and hosted the Games, and the relationship between the Games and the hosts’ deployment of new or existing political, economic and social policies.

 

Thesis:

Nelsen, Simone (2016). Hosting: The Choice of Authoritarian States to Bid for the Olympic Games & the Impact on Their Governments.
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Hope Sheils

Cohort: 2016

The borders drawn in the Middle East following the First World War have continued to be a source of contention and violence for almost a century. Many argue that the borders drawn do not accurately reflect thousands of years of history and peoples in the region.
In my honors thesis in International Relations, I want to explore these divisions of ethnic identity by state boundaries. Specifically, I want to explore how these boundaries have affected the divided communities, and the communities with which they interact. Studies of the relationship between ethnic diversity and intrastate violence have been done, to be sure, but I believe that an in-depth analysis what these identities mean for both the groups themselves and the states into which they have been placed by history can give us a greater understanding of how, or why, or whether, violence occurs.
I mean to do a case study of occurrences of violence between ethnic groups to evaluate the claim that a different drawing of state lines would make the region more peaceful.

 

Thesis:

Sheils, Hope (2016). The Lines We Draw: Nationalism and Border Creation at Sèvres and Lausanne.
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Megan Donahoe

Cohort: 2015

My project explores ideas of empire in the Soviet Union. I am going through Soviet newspapers and propaganda to see if in times of conflict, specifically in former imperial territories or spheres of influence, whether or not the media references historical boundaries or any allusions to its imperial history in the region. By better understanding how the Soviet Union grappled with its imperial past I hope my research can be important historical context when understanding the current Russian Federation's neo-imperialist actions in Crimea and Ukraine.

 

Thesis:

Donahoe, Megan (2015). The Rhetoric of Suppression: Soviet Media Analysis of Eastern European Interventionism.
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Sanjana Parikh

Cohort: 2015

My thesis focuses on how the demographic makeup of a country affects its preferences on international climate change agreements. By examining population factors such as youth, education, urbanization, and vulnerability, I will identify demographic indicators that could predict whether a country is more or less likely to accede to global accords restricting carbon emissions. Global warming represents one of the most serious collective action problems of our time, and I hope to better understand how the size, structure, and distribution of populations leads to the formation of public opinion that influences global policy commitments.

 

Thesis:

Parikh, Sanjana. (2015). Constitutional Promises and Environmental Protection. 
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Nicolas Shump

Cohort: 2015

I am looking at a small number of guestworker programs, including Bracero for the United States, Gastarbeiter for Germany, and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program for Canada, to see whether this type of immigration policy effectively meets its goals. My main focuses for that measurement will be illegal immigration flows from the "sending" countries formally involved in the programs, economic well-being for "host" country citizens doing the same jobs as the guestworkers, and economic benefits for the "sending" countries. By looking at these cases, I hope to get an understanding of whether a guestworker program can actually be a viable immigration policy.

 

Thesis:

Shump, Nicolas. (2015). Guest Worker Programs and Immigration.
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Natalya Thakur

Cohort: 2015

My thesis seeks to explore the question: how do non-profit organizations that seek to make social change, through user investment in physical and human capital, affect the socio-economic status of their target audience?

My theory is, if a non-profit has a higher level of user investment, which includes investing in physical and human capital, the target audience (recipients) will obtain a healthier and elevated socioeconomic status. In addition to physical capital, which provides monetary and material resource support, investing in human capital is key to helping achieve skillsets that help raise an individual’s socioeconomic status. Without the addition of human capital investments, physical capital has a temporary longevity and does not usually provide sustainability of economic opportunities. When investments in human skills are made in conjunction with physical resources, the chances of steep economic development are increased because the skills can be transferred and replicated by many people over time, without any sort of expiration date. Understandably there are structural issues with the economic progress of developing countries, however skills within business or leadership, for example, can lead to better sources of income, better educational opportunities, better health, and a better lifestyle. I will be exploring my theory through a literature review, case studies of different non-profits, interviews with target audience members, and an ethics section.

 

Thesis:

Thakur, Natalya. (2015). Charity Work Abroad and the Unintended Democratic Deficit
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Natasha Weaser

Cohort: 2015

My thesis will explore one of most important but least understood bilateral relationships of the 21st century: China and Saudi Arabia. While oil is undoubtedly the key driver of the relationship, the frequency and high-level nature of Sino-Saudi Arabia state visits since 2006 prompts the question of whether a partnership traditionally defined by energy is now one with a strategic-political dimension. By combining statistical analysis, current literature, and interviews across academia, business and government, I hope to construct a more nuanced picture of the relationship and assess its implications on international relations.

 

Thesis:

Weaser, Natasha. (2015). Evolution of the Sino-Saudi Relationship: Oil Partnership or Geopolitical Alliance?
Stanford Digital Repository. Available HERE

Harry Doshay

Cohort: 2014

My honors thesis attempts to explore why certain regions in pre-Modern China contributed greater numbers of individuals to the bureaucracy.  By examining the origins of high level graduates of the civil service examination system, I hope to uncover how certain regions rose to prominence within the Chinese bureaucracy.  In better understanding how the Chinese bureaucracy selected its officials, my thesis looks to help understand how autocracies create and use their bureaucracies to create stability.

Amanda McFarlane

Cohort: 2014

My thesis evaluates the political movement to change Jamaica’s official language from English to English and Patois. This movement involves language politics that were shaped during British occupation but continue to dictate prejudices against speaking Patois because of its association with poor, African slaves. However, language attitudes on the island have begun to evolve as people begin to publicly speak Patois, irrespective of their social class. These changing customs fuel the official language change debate in the country. My research inquires about the interest groups propelling the debate from 2000 to 2013 and triangulates three sets of data to analyze the movement’s progression. I am evaluating interviews I conducted over the summer in Kingston, using the program R to analyze the results of a language survey administered by the University of the West Indies, and conducting an in-text coded analysis of published newspaper articles discussing the issue. Jamaica’s situation is valuable to understand because it signals the political deficiencies that result from conflicting languages between the government and its people. The debate targets this issue, as factions fervently propose various solutions to this predicament.

Nina Papachristou

Cohort: 2014

Laws and administrative bureaucracies like that of the U.S. asylum system must apply across broad groups, yet they are experienced in an individually specific way. I study the bureaucracy of the asylum system and what explains the difference between the formal rules of the asylum application process and the individual experience of applicants. I argue that the bureaucracy's institutionalized rules and processes undermine the goal of protecting asylum seekers, and that an asylum applicant who works with lawyers from a community-based service provider will have a speedier, more efficient and less traumatic application process. My data includes large-N data from the federal government and UNHCR on yearly trends among asylum seekers, and qualitative interviews with West African asylum applicants and their pro bono lawyers in New York City. My thesis attempts to humanize the law by looking at complex rules and explaining the motivations behind them, and the bureaucrats who implement them -- and how they can do better to protect vulnerable asylum seekers.

Claudia Thieme

Cohort: 2014

Policymakers bemoan the tax planning strategies of large tech giants such as Google and Apple.  As we evolve towards an increasingly digital economy, with a rise of firms that are heavy in intangible assets, multinational firms can more easily shift income to low tax jurisdictions.  Business and politics have evolved at an asymmetric pace. Our new commercial reality sees corporations as increasingly stateless entities, causing the nation-state to lag behind in its capacity to enforce the rules to govern a global economy.  In light of this timely policy issue, I explore this phenomenon by identifying what factors allow multinational firms to pay lower effective taxes.  I research whether capital intensity, extent of foreign operations, political influence, and size of the firm allow firms to better avoid taxes.  As the US faces a national debt of over $12 trillion, this issue has become increasingly pressing and reflects the need for reform in the obsolete US tax code.

Andrea Sarahi Zaldumbide

Cohort: 2014

As U.S. policymakers confront an ever-evolving international landscape and face pressing foreign policy decisions, what lessons can they draw from U.S. foreign relations history? Specifically, what can Cold War history elucidate about influences on policy? My honors thesis focuses on U.S. interventionist policies in Latin America during the Cold War. Throughout this period in American history, presidential administrations authorized covert intervention policies aimed at toppling Latin American governments. Declassified government documents show that policymakers cited the threat of Soviet involvement in Latin America as the reason for intervention, but the question is whether this threat was real or perceived. My thesis aims to assess the influence of ideas about Soviet threat in Latin America compared to facts about Soviet-Latin America relations. I argue that an ideology of perceived Soviet threat developed as a result of the Cold War, existed in the circles of policy elites, and prompted presidential administrations to adopt similar policies against three Latin American
governments: Guatemala in 1954, Cuba from 1960-1962, and Chile in 1973. My research intends to contribute to the understanding of the causes behind
U.S. behavior toward Latin America during the Cold War. Moreover, it seeks to present a case for how one factor, the idea of Soviet threat, caused American policymakers to consider covert intervention as vital to the safety of the United States.

Arielle Humphries

Cohort: 2013

My honors thesis examines the question: to what extent do international courts contribute to post-conflict justice for women? This project began with an interest in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 in which an estimated 20,000 women were raped as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has made many important advances in the prosecution of crimes of sexual violence during this conflict, but the small number of convictions raises the question of whether the international tribunal is a largely symbolic gesture. My research will thus examine the extent to which international courts do contribute to justice for women through a case-study comparison amongst post-conflict situations in which mass rape occurred since 1990.

Aharon Kaslow

Cohort: 2013

Indigenous communities appear to face challenges when integrating themselves into contemporary global economies. This is puzzling as they often share characteristics that are attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI): one of three primary international economic activities - the other two being import/exports and licensing. Typical characteristics of indigenous communities include competitively priced labor and access to natural resources and primary goods. With these qualities that are attractive to FDI, the goal of my research is to uncover the primary reason why foreign capital seems to pass over investment opportunities in indigenous communities. Hopefully, these findings will clarify both how indigenous communities should plan their economic development as well as the nuances of FDI.

Elizabeth Knudson

Cohort: 2013

My thesis explores the question of what the determinants of varying levels of national identification in Africa are. I am using three paired case studies-- Zambia and Malawi, Mali and Burkina Faso, and Tanzania and Uganda-- as well as quantitative regression analysis to look at historical, nation building, and development factors that might explain current divergences.

Hannah Lewis

Cohort: 2013

My honors thesis explores various factors that contribute to trust and business success in interactions between Westerners and their Chinese business counterparts. My research stems from my surprise that Chinese-Western business transactions are mostly done in English and that while there is an emphasis on following Chinese business norms, there does not seem to be a strong incentive to learn Mandarin for business success. My question is whether or not speaking Mandarin is an important factor of trust in Chinese-Western business deals. I plan to answer this question with three original empirical contributions: a survey distributed in Beijing, interviews conducted in Beijing and interviews conducted in San Francisco. First, I distributed thirty surveys to Chinese businessmen and women, asking about their interactions with a Western counterpart in order to analyze how trust is correlated with the Westerner's Mandarin proficiency. Second, I interviewed around seventeen businessmen and women in Beijing and asked them about their experiences working with Westerners. Finally, I will interview a smaller number of San Francisco businessmen interacting with Chinese counterparts in order to assess how English proficiency affects trust from the American perspective.

Jordan Nicole Limoges

Cohort: 2013

 I am interested in the question of Muslim integration in Europe as an intersection of politics, religion, and multiculturalism in society. More specifically, my research focuses on the cultural integration of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia in Paris, France; what is the impact of French policy in encouraging, or discouraging, their integration, and how the experiences of Yugoslavian Christian and Muslim immigrants compare to immigrants of other nationalities and religions throughout Europe? I hope to answer these questions using a combination of interview and quantitative statistical data.

Michael Peddycoart

Cohort: 2013

The “Arab Spring” has failed to live up to its name, as evidenced by the continued revolutionary fervor and uncertainty within the Middle East and North Africa.  Dictatorial republics like those in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia have gone by the wayside and the ongoing violence in Syria demonstrates continued opposition to the era of pseudo-democracy within the region.  However, despite the political protests sweeping the region, Arab Muslim monarchies have survived the revolutionary chopping block, though not without internal political restructuring and dialogue with local opposition.  Furthermore, even kings in constitutional monarchies without the benefit of vast petroleum reserves have managed, for the time being, to retain their positions of executive power. My study examines the political strategies these constitutional monarchs implement to forestall regime-changing revolutions.

Lilian Rogers

Cohort: 2013

China's media system is one of the most repressive in the world. However, in recent years there has been an increase in somewhat independent media that is able to conduct investigative reports. Caixin Media, located in Beijing, is one such example. Caixin has broken several high-profile stories, many of which have reflected poorly on China's ruling regime. Despite its critical reporting, Caixin still exists today and while it may sometimes be rebuked it has not been shut down. My thesis will explore the possible explanations behind Caixin's success through a combination of on-site interviews and empirical analyses and hopefully shed light on the broader question of the emergence of independent media in countries with authoritarian governments.

Rachel Rosenberg

Cohort: 2013

With the emergence of indigenous rights movements in Latin America, collective cultural rights have arisen as the third generation of the human rights movement. However, some argue that human rights are a zero-sum game, where possibly promotion of collective rights contradicts promotion of basic individual human rights.  The purpose of my study is to challenge this notion and to analyze the complex vulnerability of minorities within autonomous indigenous regions.  With a focus on religious divisions and conflict, the question that arises is: Why does intra-communal violence break out and escalate in some communities and not others?  In a cross-regional study, this paper focuses on the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico and considers a number of factors that fuel ethno-religious violence.

Carolyn Simmons

Cohort: 2013

Teaching at a children's shelter in Argentina, I became interested in the effect that globalization has on national investment in education. Does international economic integration constrain the choices that policy-makers make, and have policy-makers subsequently responded by increasing investment in human capital? With the generous support of Stanford's UAR, I traveled to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to interview national decision-makers concerning federal spending priorities. Back on Stanford campus, I am conducting honors research on how changing economic structures have altered national education spending levels within the Latin American region. I look forward to analyzing whether globalization pressures policy-makers to enhance their competitiveness in this global economy.