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Through award-winning research, the Elliott School of International Affairs strives to create knowledge, share wisdom and inspire action. Together, our centers, institutes, research initiatives and cross-disciplinary faculty combine in-depth analysis with practical applications to better address the future's most pressing global challenges.

Elliott School Research Professor wins major Indo-Pacific grants

Deepa Ollapally headshot


Elliott School Research Professor of International Affairs, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies; and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative, Deepa Ollapally, has been awarded grants from the U.S. Department of State’s Embassy in India and the Smith Richardson Foundation for two projects spanning from 2020-21.

Her project, “Shared Values and Worldviews in US-India Relations,” is the outcome of her Indo-Pacific expertise and the Sigur Center staff’s dedicated research & funding support to its affiliated faculty, scholars, and MA Asian Studies students. The grant is part of the DOS' efforts to strengthen ties between the U.S. and India through exchanges and programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. American experts on U.S.-India relations will participate in a series of seminars and workshops organized by the Sigur Center and Christ University in Bangalore - India’s Silicon Valley. The partnership will connect both American and Indian experts across a wide swath of industries to reach a more multifaceted understanding of the challenges faced by both countries.  

Dr. Ollapally's other project, “Big Power Competition for Influence in the Indian Ocean Region,” will be administered by the Rising Powers Initiative and result in an eponymous book. Dr. Ollapally will assess the changing patterns of geopolitical influence by major powers in the Indo-Pacific during the 2010s, focusing on the rivalry between the U.S. and China, in addition to the relationships between states, such as India, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and others in the Indian Ocean region. She plans to conduct extensive fieldwork in Asia to decipher the way in which the “balance of influence” is heading, hedging, and China's unprecedented rise in the Indian Ocean. Dr. Ollapally expressed that "There's a profusion of work coming out on the Indo-Pacific, but it is overly focused on the Pacific side, giving short shrift to the Indian Ocean side. I want to fill that gap in the literature and policy orientation.”

New in Research

Jennifer Brinkerhoff wins the ISA Distinguished Scholar Award 

J Brinkerhoff


Jennifer Brinkerhoff, Professor of International Affairs, International Business, Public Policy and Public Administration was named a Distinguished Scholar by the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Studies (ENMISA) section of the International Studies Association (ISA). The ENMISA Distinguished Scholar award recognizes "senior scholars who have had an impact in Ethnicity and/or Nationalism and/or Migration studies" and "have a substantial record of publishing in the field and service to ISA." The ISA, founded in 1959, is the main professional association for international studies, with its headquarters in the University of Connecticut. 

Dr. Brinkerhoff's research focuses on development management, institutional reform, public-private partnership, state-society relations, NGOs, diaspora and development. She has consulted for the World Bank, USAID, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations. Her recent publications include Institutional Reform and Diaspora Entrepreneurs: The In-Between Advantage (Oxford University Press) and Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement (Cambridge University Press). She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and an MPA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Alexa Alice Joubin publishes essay on the importance of a humanities education

Sadayakko, a Japanese Geisha, as Ophelia in 1905

Sadayakko, a Japanese Geisha,

as Ophelia in 1905

In her new essay for The Signal House Edition, Professor of English, Theatre, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Cultures Alexa Alice Joubin writes that "Great stories are often strangers at home. The best of them defamiliarize banal experiences and everyday utterances while offering something recognizable through a new language and form. And stories, like people, travel far and wide."

She argues that a humanities education is more important than ever in the era of globalization, as it helps students understand their partners through the stories they tell. A humanities education also enhances one’s skills in critical thinking, civil debate, and understanding narratives, which are vital for a democratic society founded upon government accountability and rational citizen participation.

As a specialist in Shakespeare, she also notes that in Robben Island jail, Nelson Mandela’s fellow prisoners signed their names next to their favorite passages in his smuggled copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and the U.S. Department of Defense chose to tour the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth to thirteen U.S. military bases in 2004. From literary ambiguity that allows expression under oppressive regimes to tales of recurring human struggle, a humanities education challenges us to ask ourselves who we are, and what we are to do. Read Dr. Joubin's full essay for The Signal House Edition.


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