Politics & Governance

The World’s Fussiest Flag, London

By Jeffrey P. Lupo, B.A. program alumnus.

Insight from London, England

The Union Jack seems unique among national flags to truly capture an essential feature of the people it represents. It […]

February 26th, 2014|Categories: Europe|Tags: , |

Diversity and Differences, Washington D.C.

By Nabeeha Chaudhary, M.A. program student.

Insight from Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Guess what I did for my birthday this year? Courtesy of the Jackson School (JSIS) and  the Association of Professional […]

July 8th, 2013|Categories: North America|Tags: , , |

Getting lost, Shanghai

By Binh Vong, B.A. program student.

Insight from Shanghai, China.

It’s easy to get lost in Shanghai, virtually and psychologically. My first memories of Shanghai are the bright lights that illuminate […]

April 8th, 2013|Categories: East Asia|Tags: , , , |

Monarchy Under Construction, Bangkok

By Sara R. Curran, Professor.

Insight from Bangkok, Thailand.

A peaceful, weekday morning in the heart of Bangkok and I am actually cool and refreshed with the windows wide open, in spite of the 32°C mid morning temperature. Outside the proximity of birds chirping, the clinks and clangs of pots being washed in the downstairs apartment, the splash of water as someone hoses down a car or cleans a driveway, and the murmurs of voices between neighbors conveys a feeling of routine peacefulness. The tuk-tuks, motorcycles and bustle of Pahol Yothin Road are a very distant sound and hardly disturbing. I am back in Thailand after a three-year hiatus due to my own administrative responsibilities and time constraints (and not due to any diminished desire to remain engaged with colleagues and friends in Thailand).


March 29th, 2013|Categories: Southeast Asia|Tags: , , |

From Inside the Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest

By Rachel Brown, B.A. student.

Insight from Bucharest, Romania.

It’s hot. It’s so hot I can’t breathe and I wish this taxi had air-conditioning. I never wish for air-conditioning but all four windows are wide open and I still feel like I am suffocating. It is so bright outside that the industrial buildings stretching from the airport to Bucharest city are white-washed, bleached as if my eyes are a camera, set on over-expose. The driver is smoking and talking on his phone and looking over his shoulder at me at the same time. He has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. Walking through the airport I was struck over and over again by blue, blue eyes and dark, dark skin. Later at my hotel I will Google “blue eyes Romania.” I end up in a rabbit hole of stories about blue-eyed Arabs, and dating sites for men to meet hot young Romanian women, conspiracy theorists talking about blue-eyes sometimes being a dominant gene instead of a recessive one, and a Wikipedia article about how Estonia’s population is 99% blue eyed.  I scour the television stations to catch sight of these blue eyes again. But the airport is the only place I see them.

I am in Bucharest, Romania for two weeks to work for the secretariat of an international environmental treaty on wetlands, biodiversity and climate change–the Ramsar Convention. It is their triennial COP, or Conference of the Parties, where delegates from about 153 different countries come together to negotiate environmental policy, which they will then take home with them and implement.


September 23rd, 2012|Categories: Europe|Tags: , , , , |

Water connects everything, Álora

By Sarah Boone, B.A. student.

Insight from Álora, Spain.

Looking at a map of the Guadalhorce watershed, I traced the blue line of the river through the towns dotted along the valley. The water in this valley provides life and livelihood to this region of Southern Spain, serving as a source of irrigation for agriculture and drinking water for many small communities and the large, coastal city of Málaga. The river has served these purposes since the time of the Romans, when the region of Andalucía was developed as a breadbasket for the growing empire. The Moorish civilization continued to develop the water infrastructure by building elaborate canals, some of which are still in use today. These systems have lasted for centuries, but today as aridity increases in Southern Spain, the traditional allocations of water and the rural culture it supports are under pressure to change.


August 26th, 2012|Categories: Europe|Tags: , , , |

Sitting in the Betty White Café (that’s right!) in Tel Aviv

By Joel S. Migdal, Professor.

Insight from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sitting in the Betty White Café (that’s right!) in Tel Aviv, I have come to the conclusion that Israel is a highly schizophrenic society.  I am a couple of blocks from the beach, where the evening sunsets over the Mediterranean are breathtaking.  And all around me people seem to be enjoying life to the fullest.  They sit in cafés and bars until all hours of the night, sometimes spilling out onto the street in the warm summer nights long after midnight.  The restaurants are full—and they are expensive.  Cultural events are packed.  World recession?  I don’t see it on the streets of downtown Tel Aviv.  At the old Tel Aviv port, now converted into a happening place of shops, shows, and bikinis, traffic jams to get in last until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.  This is Barcelona on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean.


July 18th, 2012|Categories: Middle East & North Africa|Tags: , , |

A Celebration of German Resistance, Berlin

By Elizabeth Cook, B.A. student.

Insight from Berlin, Germany.

Living in Berlin, a city caught up in a selective forgetting and remembering of the physical past, it is not hard to stumble across something with a hidden or little-known history. On July 20th, a few classmates and I went exploring in the city, and came upon the Memorial to the German Resistance, also known as the Bendlerblock. The Bendlerblock is better known through the context of Operation Valkyrie; the area was used as the headquarters for the Wehrmacht officers who carried out the July 20 plot against Adolf Hitler. General Olbricht, Colonel von Stauffenberg, Werner von Haeften, and Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the building for conspiracy. Currently, the courtyard is home to the Memorial to the German Resistance. […]

January 5th, 2012|Categories: Europe|Tags: , , |