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Student Research

Through research, students develop a practical expertise in and intellectual passion for their chosen field. Conducting research with faculty or with fellow students develops strong collegial relationships. Research allows students to contribute to their disciplines while still in school.

Undergraduate researchers are better prepared for graduate school or professional employment because they have the skills and confidence to experiment. Research has taught them that experiments do not always work, but they always teach us something. Student researchers discover that asking questions leads to answers, and each answer leads to another question, another possibility, another opportunity. Undergraduate research allows students to dig deeply into the mysteries of their discipline and to discover themselves. Read more about getting involved with student research here.

Evan Bruning, Mara Scallon, and Jane Rudy — CEEISA/ISA Joint International Conference

Bruning, Scallon, and Rudy presented their research on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Central and East European International Studies Association/International Studies Association Joint Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence in Slovenia’s cap­ital city of Ljubl­jana. They joined pro­fes­sors from Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity, Tulane Uni­ver­sity, and a researcher at The Hague Insti­tute For Global Jus­tice as part of a panel on inter­na­tional courts and tribunals.

The students investigated whether or not the International Criminal Tribunal is inherently biased against Serbs, who comprise the majority of those convicted. Ulti­mately, the stu­dents found that the tri­bunal doesn’t suffer from an inherent bias, but that there are sev­eral structural deficiencies that under­mine its effec­tive­ness and impar­tiality. They said insti­tu­tional weak­nesses and a lack of account­ability within and out­side the tri­bunal have allowed the biases of indi­vidual actors to influ­ence the out­come of pro­ceed­ings. Claims of bias have also been quickly dis­missed, which has bred resent­ment and demon­strated the failure of the global com­mu­nity to view the Balkan con­flict in a nuanced manner.

“By neglecting to address the need for impar­tiality and account­ability within each step of the legal process, the archi­tects of the ICTY and the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity alike failed to pro­duce a uni­ver­sally impar­tial insti­tu­tion,” the stu­dents wrote in an article about their research for NU Polit­ical Review. “The struc­tural and pro­ce­dural weak­nesses of the Tri­bunal exac­er­bate issues inherent in inter­na­tional jus­tice, chal­lenge rec­on­cil­i­a­tion efforts in the Western Balkans, and allow the pre­dom­i­nant nar­ra­tive of the Bosnian war to creep into court proceedings.”

The stu­dents received funding from the Inter­na­tional Affairs Under­grad­uate Research Fund and the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties Under­grad­uate Research Ini­tia­tive to attend the conference.


Ashlee Pitts — Geneva International Model United Nations Conference

IMG_5250“The 2015 Geneva International Model United Nations Annual Conference offered the extraordinary opportunity for aspiring global leaders to participate in simulations resembling modern day scenarios within the different committees of the United Nations.  I had the honor of being a member of the Press team where I worked with eleven other journalists, two Editors in-chief and one graphic designer to publish a new edition of the GIMUN Chronicles every day. I was assigned to the United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal) where I was responsible for following the debates, conducting interviews, writing reviews on the distinguished guest speakers while also publishing articles on various other global issues including the threat of the Boko Haram (Edition 2), the ethics of universal jurisdiction (Edition 1), the rebuilding of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Edition 6) and many more.

Over 200 students participated in this conference and each of them contributed to one of the most rewarding academic and professional experiences of my life. I found so much joy in watching the participants of the conference read and discuss the content of the GIMUN Chronicles. I am incredibly proud of the work that the press team produced this year and I am grateful to have been a part of it. My passion for diplomacy and international negotiations intensified throughout the conference. As a graduating senior, I am more confident than ever before that a career in IMG_5248international relations is the best fit for me from an academic, professional and personal level. I am amazed by Geneva, GIMUN and the incredible people that I met throughout the week and am grateful that my undergraduate career here at Northeastern is ending with such a positive and extraordinary life-changing event.”

As a student-athlete throughout her academic career at Northeastern, Ashlee studied International Affairs with minors in Political Science, International Security and Global Social Entrepreneurship. She is set to graduate this May and hopes to pursue a career in international humanitarian law.


 Zunaira Malik — Geneva International Model United Nations Conference

Zunaira Malik, ’15 was invited to preside over the Human Rights Council at this year’s Geneva International Model UN Annual Conference at the United Nations Geneva Office. This year’s competitive selection process drew ~250 delegates from over 57 countries from around the world. As a chair of the Human Rights Council, Zunaira guided the committee of 25 delegates through a week of debate and resolution drafting on topics of Human Trafficking and Arbitrary Detention. The committee drafted three working papers, and successfully passed two resolutions. For the Human Trafficking topic, delegates focused on prevention, rehabilitation, protection and prosecution. The proposal for Arbitrary Detention focused on universal cooperation, and limitations. On the topic of Arbitrary Detention, the HRC heard a briefing from Dr. Gloria Gaggioli, a legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross on the legality and jurisdiction of international law.

Additionally, for the first time this year, the Human Rights Committee also held a Universal Periodic Review of Morocco, Venezuela, and Czech Republic.The UPR is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council, aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground. It consists of a presentation by the country under review, a question and answer session, followed by a report of outcomes, and recommendations.

Zunaira has been an active member on the board of International Relations Council’s and participated in the Model Arab League for the past three years. At Northeastern University she studied International Affairs and Political Science with a focus on Middle Eastern Studies. She is set to graduate this May and hopes to pursue a career in international policy and national security.


Sam Manning — CSSH Undergraduate Research Forum

International Affairs Major Sam Manning was selected as one of the students to present undergraduate research at the 1st Annual CSSH Undergraduate Research Conference at Northeastern University. He presented his paper, “Risk Aversion and the Value of Business Growth vs. Consistency for Subsistence Entrepreneurship in the Philippines,” as part of the panel on Social Movements and Social Enterprise. His research paper, which was a result of both his Senior Capstone class with Professor Valentine Moghadam, and his work while on co-op in the Philippines, is available for viewing here.


Nick Hugon — Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, Iceland

IMG_4067Nick attended the 2014 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík, Iceland, to conduct research towards an independent project that I am undertaking. His project traces the evolution of Greenland’s natural resource policy as the nation has taken successive steps towards full independence, and the impacts of traditional vs. European values on that policy. At the assembly, I was able to confer with academic experts on Greenland and the Arctic, as well as with former Greenland Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist for the advancement of my research.He heard keynote remarks from President Grímsson of Iceland, President Ninistö of Finland, Phillipe Couillard, the Premier of Québec, Michel Rocard, a former Prime Minister of France, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Robert Papp, the U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic and former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among dozens of others. He states, “I am extremely grateful to the International Affairs Program, which funded my attendance at the 2014 assembly in order to facilitate my research for my project.”


Zunaira Malik — Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference

Zunaira Malik’s paper was accepted to the 54th annual 2014 Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, “Human Security in the Information Age,” a leading undergraduate conference in the U.S. on foreign affairs. Ms. Malik’s research focused on the application of Social Media in the Arab Spring, its implications and future on state governance. Zunaira is a senior in International Affairs and Political Science, with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.


Georgy Gartskia — Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference

Georgy Gartskia’s paper on Abkhazia’s struggle for recognition and independence, which he wrote for his Senior Capstone course with Professor Moghadam, was accepted to the 54th annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference 2014, “Human Security in the Information Age,” the largest undergraduate, foreign-affairs conference in the US.