Welcome to the Winter issue of the International Studies eNews
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Message from director Deborah Avant
RIGS and the International Studies Program at UCI had an eventful year in 2008. We instituted the RIGS research seminar series and five lunch groups, and proposed an overhaul of the curriculum for the undergraduate major in international studies.
As we move in to 2009, we are happy to welcome our first long term visiting scholar - Virginia Haufler from University of Maryland - and look forward to a full calendar of international studies public forums, RIGS research seminars, and increasing collaborations with other centers at UCI on global and international issues.
The faculty's innovative research is the backbone of the dynamic intellectual environment in international studies at UCI. Read on for more about individual research activities and awards.
New institute to explore how world's poor use technology to spend, store money
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded UC Irvine a $1.7 million grant to create a new research institute focused on the growing use of mobile technology in providing banking and financial services to people in developing countries.
The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion will be the first to explore how the world's poorest people spend, store and save money. The institute will study how these habits are affected by the emerging mobile banking industry, known as "m-banking," which could make financial services and the security they provide available to millions of poor people for the first time.
It also will fund research in developing countries, host conferences and provide scholarships to those who conduct such research. An archive on the emerging m-banking industry for use by researchers in the U.S. and around the world also is being planned.
"This kind of research is critical to informing the design of financial products and services that meet the needs of the poor," said Amolo Ng'weno, senior program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Financial Services for the Poor initiative. "We need to understand ways that the poor think about and use money so that new banking models can become relevant for the population with the most need. Convenient, low-cost, high-quality savings and other financial services can help the poor transform their lives."
UCI anthropologist Bill Maurer will serve as the institute's founding director.
Etel Solingen's Nuclear Logics receives top book award in political science
Why do some states seek nuclear weapons while others renounce them? How have the nuclear trajectories of East Asia and the Middle East differed? What do answers to these and other questions say about North Korea and Iran's nuclear plans?
These are some of the questions that political scientist Etel Solingen tackles in her most recent book, Nuclear Logics, which received the American Political Science Association's (APSA) prestigious 2008 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book published in the U.S. on government, politics, or international affairs. Her work was also recognized with APSA's 2008 Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Best Book Award.
"A crucial, frequently underestimated variable in nuclear proliferation discussions is the role of the political-economy of domestic ruling coalitions, and their preferred models of political survival," says Solingen.
She argues that a state's decision to pursue nuclear weapons has a great deal to do with the nature of its relations - or lack thereof - to the global political economy.
Illegal migration worldwide poses security risks
An era of mass migrations, porous borders and easily obtained fraudulent documents is blurring the definition of citizenship and putting national security at risk around the globe, says UC Irvine political science professor Kamal Sadiq in his new book, Paper Citizens: How Illegal Immigrants Acquire Citizenship in Developing Countries.
Unlike traditional immigration research that focuses on movement from impoverished countries to wealthier nations, Sadiq explores immigration into developing nations. While researching his book, he studied Filipino immigrant settlements in Malaysia and watched the ease with which Bangladeshi immigrants settled in India.
"Bangladeshis and Bengali Indians share many similarities in terms of ethnicity, language, religion and even food habits," Sadiq said. "It becomes very easy then for Bangladeshi immigrants to blend in with the locals in India."
Sadiq's research focuses on "documentary citizenship" - immigrants' use of forged documents or illegally obtained authentic passports to prove residency or citizenship. Weak and erratic bureaucracies in developing countries allow fake documents to flourish. The result is a thriving underground process for attaining citizenship.
UCI INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN THE NEWS
Obama forms advisory group focused on Latinos
Cybernetic birth control
Many officials reluctant to help arrest immigrants
Church shelters Liliana one year
Obama and the youth vote
Research finds fear of illegal immigrant crime unfounded
Promoting civic engagement in the MySpace age
Crimes less likely from immigrants
Storm-hit Cubans need all our help
The stone-age diet that works
Congressional Republicans arm forum with bold anti-immigrant
Bill Gates gives UCI $1.7 to study the poor
Virtual worlds provide real interaction
A depressing historical parallel
Latino heritage month raises awareness, hopes to spark change
Rescue no cure-all for underlying flaws
No panic at WaMu branches
House divided on fed. bailout
Rivals agree on reform
The big three
Illegal immigrant inflow to the U.S. lags that of legal immigrants
New institute to assess mobile banking in developing world
Fed chief guided by lessons from Depression
Nonfiction review: "The Latino Threat"
Children of immigrants reshaping America
The Great Depression: How close are we?
Obama speaks Spanish for first time in ad
Myth of the Latino vote
Audit: US fails in tracking cost of Iraq contractors
UCI students tell of their visit to the Holy Land
Haters come out of the woodwork
Bridging the Muslim-Jewish divide
ICE failure to detect, deport criminal aliens shows distorted priorities
Where's the money, honey?
Refile China now - China grapples with new social safety net
Tijuana's bloodiest year
Experts: Latino advocacy group in LI probe not "wacko"