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New Title from NYU Press and the SSRC

Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government: Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy

As a nation of immigrants, the United States has long accepted that citizens who identify with an ancestral homeland may hold dual loyalties; yet Americans have at times regarded the persistence of foreign ties with suspicion, seeing them as a sign of potential disloyalty and a threat to national security. The product of a collaboration between the Migration Program and the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government brings together a group of distinguished scholars of international migration and international politics to examine this contradiction in the realm of American policymaking, ultimately concluding that the relationship between diaspora groups and the government can greatly affect foreign policy. This relationship is not unidirectional—as much as immigrants make an effort to shape foreign policy, government legislators and administrators also seek to enlist them in furthering American interests.

From Israel to Cuba and from Ireland to Iraq, the case studies in this volume illustrate how potential or ongoing conflicts raise the stakes for successful policy outcomes. Contributors provide historical and sociological context, gauging the influence of diasporas based on population size and length of time settled in the United States, geographic concentration, access to resources from their own members or through other groups, and the nature of their involvement back in their homelands. Edited by Josh DeWind, director of the Migration and Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship programs, and Renata Segura, associate director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, this collection brings a fresh perspective to a rarely discussed aspect of the design of US foreign policy and offers multiple insights into dynamics that may determine how the United States will engage other nations in future decades.

In Council News

Copresented with the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (CASBS), “The City: 2014 Behavioral and Social Science Summit,” to be held November 8 on the Stanford campus, will convene leading researchers in conversation, contestation, and debate with commentators, policymakers, and thinkers. The program features moderated dialogues on “Cities and the Life Course,” “Entrepreneurship and the City,” “Global Cities” (with board member Ed Glaeser), “Sustainable Cities,” and “The Unequal City and Social Unity.” President Ira Katznelson and board member Margaret Levi, director of CASBS, will lead the wrap-up discussion. [Register to attend, with a 20 percent discount code: CASBS14SSRC.]

The Decent City initiative has added new content to The Cities Papers, a digital collection of thought pieces produced by scholars and practitioners who have participated in several gatherings to shape the initiative’s agenda. Addressing the collection’s central question, “How can the core characteristics of big cities be mobilized to make human life more just and democratic?,” the latest papers were prepared for a major conference held in May.

Two new SSRC Working Papers are available for PDF download: from the Drugs, Security and Democracy Program series on research security, “Data Security in Highly Violent Settings,” by series editor Enrique Desmond Arias; and from the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum series on women in politics, “Women’s Political Participation in Asia and the Pacific,” a comprehensive study by Jacqui True, Nicole George, Sara Niner, and Swati Parashar.

A downloadable report from Measure of America and Opportunity Nation, Connecting Youth and Strengthening Communities: The Data Behind Civic Engagement and Economic Opportunity, finds that two forms of civic engagement in particular—volunteering and membership in a civic or service organization—are significant predictors of economic opportunity across US states. A previous joint publication, Historical Report of Opportunity, was cited by the Washington Post in an article about US migration patterns.

In the latest SSRC Research Snapshot, “Weekends in the Clover: Imagining Colonial New South Wales,” International Dissertation Research Fellowship fellow Maura Capps (2013) writes about her research examining the role of grasses in the British Empire’s colonial settlements in Australia.

Drugs, Security and Democracy fellow Thomas Grisaffi (2013) discusses his research on social and economic policy surrounding coca leaf production in Chapare Province, Bolivia, in a DSD On the Line podcast. He applied his findings with Zoe Pearson, another DSD fellow from the same cohort, in a coauthored piece for Foreign Policy in Focus: “Washington Snubs Bolivia on Drug Policy Reform, Again.”

A number of Abe Fellowship Program alumni drew on their own fellowship work for recent articles. Philip Cunningham (2013) contributed a New York Times op-ed about the Chinese government’s promotion of anti-Japanese entertainment: “China’s TV War Machine.” Jennifer Robertson (2010) published “Human Rights vs. Robot Rights: Forecasts from Japan” in Critical Asian Studies. And Nancy Snow (2012) wrote for the Diplomat on “9 Ways Japan Can Better Tell Its Story to the World.”

African Peacebuilding Network grantees Kenneth Omeje and Nicodemus Minde (2013) coauthored an article in the Africa Peace and Conflict Journal based on their APN-supported research: “Stakeholder Perspectives on Priorities for Postconflict State Building and Peace Building in South Sudan.”

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni cited the Education Research Program’s new book Aspiring Adults Adrift in an op-ed on the political and social mission of higher education.

Measure of America’s 2011 human development report A Portrait of California provided context for the CNBC article “Microsoft CEO Apologizes for Gender Pay Gap Comments.” The 2014–15 edition of A Portrait of California will be released in December.

The Huffington Post probed the Program on Religion and the Public Sphere’s digital project The Religious Engagements of American Undergraduates for a story about spiritual life on campus.

Science magazine applauded Vietnam’s successful helmet campaign, a topic covered in depth in the Vietnam Program report Helmet Day! Lessons Learned on Vietnam’s Road to Healthy Behavior.

The InterAsia Program, in conjunction with its Transregional Virtual Research Institute partners, held an international conference on “Media as Activism” in New Delhi, India.

The Digital Culture program and the British Academy cosponsored a London forum on “The Challenges of Digital Culture,” which sought to address issues arising from debate in many countries about open-access publishing and its implications for research.

The Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum’s Justice and Security Research Program cohosted a presentation at The Hague on responses to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as part of a Wageningen UR conference on “Facing Fragilities: People, Aid and Institutions in Socio-economic Recovery.”

The African Peacebuilding Network, supporting independent African research and its integration into regional and global policy communities, awarded a range of grants and fellowships to twenty-four African scholars and practitioners to support and promote high-quality, policy-relevant social science research focusing on peacebuilding in Africa.

The Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program, strengthening tertiary education in Africa through a series of institutional and individual interventions, has forty-three new African fellows working on timely topics, including traditional peacebuilding mechanisms in northern Nigeria, food sovereignty in Tanzania, and rural livelihood patterns in post-conflict northern Uganda.

From Our Forums

Kujenga Amani’s latest On the Spot feature asks scholar and practitioner respondents to explore the issues and challenges related to African Union adoption of immunity clause Article 46A bis. An essay by Kizito Tenthani offers analysis of the elections held in Malawi in May based on his firsthand observations as a manager of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, a platform for dialogue between the country’s political parties.

At The Immanent Frame, Elizabeth McAlister argues the benefits of studying forms of prayer that aim to harm, launching a new series on Aggressive Prayers, Curses, and Maledictions. Richard Amesbury considers social media’s role as a site of conflict in the struggle against ISIS. And a new Book Blog features discussion of Thomas Pfau’s Minding the Modern, which traces the evolution and deterioration of concepts of human agency.

On Deadline

Mellon Mays Predoctoral Research Grants
Applications Due: November 1

International Dissertation Research Fellowship
Applications Due: November 4

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship
Applications Due: December 1

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa
Applications Due: December 1

African Peacebuilding Network
Applications Due: December 14