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  • Author: Wenche Hauge
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: In recent decades Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic has been unregulated. It has garnered more attention after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused a slight peak in cross-border migration. The ruling of the Dominican Republic's Constitutional Tribunal on September 23rd 2013, which effectively denationalised many Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, has increased this attention. However, a narrow focus has defined the debate in terms of human rights concerns versus the Dominican Republic's sovereignty. This policy brief shows why it is necessary to broaden the focus to include other aspects of the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, such as asymmetrical trade relations and how they affect Haitian communities along the border between the two countries in particular. It also points out the importance of social representation, and how images that Dominican and Haitian populations have of each other are formed, and influence the situation of Haitian migrant workers and their families in the Dominican Republic. Finally, it argues that more attention should be paid to the role of local civil society in support of Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic, because civil society has proven to be very active, using a multifaceted strategy in its work.
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: <p>The Intellectualist movement is one of the major Islamic reform movements in contemporary Ethiopia. Informal and decentralised in character, it has attracted young students, professionals and urban intellectuals. The movement was inspired to a great extent by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, which were critically contextualised and applied to the Ethiopian context. This has entailed avoiding the more political aspects of Brotherhood thinking while emphasising the positive role of Islamic virtues in the formation of individual and societal piety. The Intellectualists have further been formative for Ethiopian Muslims thinking about secularism, democracy and constitutional rule, and have played a significant role in mediating between various religious actors in Ethiopia, as well as negotiating the position of Islam in relation to the political authorities. Of particular importance is the way in which the movement has served as a moderating force in a rapidly changing and fluid political and religious landscape. This demonstrates the inherent complexity of the trend commonly labelled as Islamism, and points to the need for nuanced and localised approaches when trying to understand this trend./p
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: <p>Despite earning the inauspicious title in recent years as the shipping corridor with the highest number of piracy attacks in the world, regional responses to piracy and maritime security threats in the Gulf of Guinea, have been fragmentary. Maritime domain awareness remains low, interagency coordination is limited, and intra-regional coordination mechanisms that have been established are often underfunded. The highly fungible nature of maritime threats means that this challenge cannot be addressed solely by individual states but requires cohesive regional security cooperation. While progress has been made, stronger political commitments are needed at the national, regional, and international levels if the worsening trend of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea is to be reversed.</p>
  • Author: Adeniyi Adejimi Osinowo
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite earning the inauspicious title in recent years as the shipping corridor with the highest number of piracy attacks in the world, regional responses to piracy and maritime security threats in the Gulf of Guinea, have been fragmentary. Maritime domain awareness remains low, interagency coordination is limited, and intra-regional coordination mechanisms that have been established are often underfunded.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Gillian Dell, Albena Kuyumdzhieva, Ádám Földes
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Good governance and good administration are among the core pillars that form the foundations of the European governance system. The principles of transparency and openness along with the right of citizens to receive impartial, fair and timely administrative services are embedded in the Founding Treaty of the EU and in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EU ChFR). These principles are identical to the ones stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Council of Europe's (CoE's) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michel Gary, Nuno Ferreira da Cruz
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Local governance reform continues apace around the globe, with an ever increasing trend towards the transfer of powers and responsibilities from central government to the sub national level. Although decentralisation processes can help strengthen accountability by bringing government closer to the people, corruption is a problem at all levels and decentralising services can also simply decentralise corruption. For example, local officials may have greater vested interests based on family, friendships and business ties that can influence decision-making;remuneration at the local government level is, in many cases, low in comparison to the national level; and the institutions that are designed to hold public officials to account at the local level are not always adequate. Monitoring by the media and civic institutions can also be weak. Contact between local government officials and the public is highest at the local level, which increases the opportunities for corruption. Conversely, it also provides more chances for citizens to hold governments to account. Thus, decentralisation provides both significant opportunities which can be leveraged in the fight against corruption, but also presents particular challenges which must be addressed.
  • Topic: Corruption
  • Author: Richard Rousseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis
  • Abstract: Following the inauguration of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in May 2008, the Russian political scene was characterized by a new structure: the country was governed by a bicephalous system (which reflected the two-headed eagle of the national flag). Medvedev became President and Vladimir Putin assumed the position of Prime Minister. In this ostensibly tandem structure, the Chief Executive was subordinated to the President as was the case even before Russia first emerged as an independent country in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such a dual power sharing worked quite well during Medvedev’s term and with no serious fissures that could bring about competing circles of power around each of the heads of state. This was true even though the personalities of the two leaders were very different. Their priorities, however, seemed different, at least formally. During his presidency (2000-2008), Putin made every effort to recover Russia’s super power status and international respect. He did not hesitate to use the privileged position of Russia – main energy supplier to Europe, a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, a continuing influence over the post-Soviet space – to achieve his ambitious goal. For his part, Medvedev preferred to use foreign policy as an instrument to advance the process of economic modernization, while keeping Russian national interests in mind. When compared to Russia’s main partners and competitors, Medvedev was very much aware of the systemic disadvantages his country faced. These disadvantages, according to him, were factors that considerably weakened Russia as a major world power and economic player. The foundation of Putin’s domestic and foreign policy was the concept of “sovereign democracy,” which argues that Russia must follow its own democratization process. There was no need to emulate and copy Western models. In this view, if Russia’s political system had serious flaws, the same could be said of the political systems of Western countries. The West was no longer seen as being in a position to give lessons to Russia. Consequently, Russian foreign policy at the time gradually abandoned or even opposed some of the positions taken by Western countries. Such a tendency began with Putin’s speech at the annual Wehrkunde conference held in Munich in January 2007. Within a year serious tensions arose between Russia and their Western allies, for instance with the August 2008 armed conflict between Georgia and Russia. The origin of this conflict was the longstanding secession attempts by South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two territories recognized as being part of Georgia. Especially glaring were Russia’s disagreements and confrontations with the U.S. over such issues as NATO expansion, European-based missile defense systems and U.S. attempts to expand its influence into what Russia considers its “near abroad”, the post-Soviet space. Under Putin, Russia once again seemed to be a rival of the West, not merely on an ideological basis as during the Cold War, but because of its own strong nationalistic tendencies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, United Nations, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Adam H. Sobel (moderator)
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: The Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate will be focused on understanding the risks to human life and property from extreme weather events, both in the present and future climates, and in developing solutions to mitigate those risks. The Initiative engages the broad and deep expertise that exists across Columbia University on all aspects of this problem. With partners in the private sector, government, and academia, we will work towards the goal of greater societal resilience to extreme events.
  • Topic: Government
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features an address by His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, titled, The New Beginning in Afghanistan: A Conversation with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Introduction and Moderated by: Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Wolfgang Schäuble
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features an address by Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's Federal Minister of Finance, titled Europe: The Current Situation and the Way Forward. The address will be followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session with the audience.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe