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1999 Mellon-MIT Grantees

Lorena Barberia

Harvard/JFK and HIID - "The Uses of Remittances and Their Effect on Informal Economic Activity in Cuba"

Eric Eversmann

Harvard/GSE - "The Role of Education Kits in Emergency Education"

Kelly Greenhill

MIT - "The Politics of Repatriation: Resistance to Minority Returns to Bosnia-Herzegovina"

Sarah Kenyon Lischer

MIT - "Refugees and the Spread of Political Violence"

Oxana Shevel

Harvard - "Refugee Policies in Post-Communist Countries (The Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine) and the Role of International Organizations"

Timothy Snyder

Harvard - "Forced Migration Between Poland and Ukraine, 1943-1947"

Chris Strawn

Harvard Law School - "The Dynamics of Internal Displacement and International Involvement in Colombia"

Jessica Wattman

MIT - "War Economies and the Persistence of Violence"

 

Lorena Barberia
Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School and HIID
Summer 1999
The Uses of Remittances and Their Effect on Informal Economic Activity in Cuba

NGO Partner: United National High Commissioner for Refugees

Remittances, which approximated $800 million in 1996, are the second largest source of foreign exchange earnings for Cuba. While recent academic studies have underscored the persistency of these links by detailing the importance of remittances for Cuba, this work has placed only limited attention on understanding the impact of these flows. The purpose of this research will be to explore the uses of remittances in Cuba. Specifically, this research examines whether the pattern of remittances flows from the U.S. to Cuba are a primary source of capital being utilized to foment entrepreneurial activity or to finance household basic consumption needs.

The study uses a two-staged approach using macro and microeconomic data to examine the scope and magnitude of flows from the U.S. and how recipient households utilize remittances. At the macro level, data on Cuba's dollar earnings and expenditures will be gathered and analyzed. At the micro level, extensive interviews with various Cuban entrepreneurs working in the informal sector, such as restaurant owners and taxi drivers, will be conducted based on survey questionnaires. This final product, a country case study, will contribute to UNHCR's collection of research on the subject of remittance patterns across countries.

 

Eric Eversmann
Harvard University, Graduate School of Education
Spring 2000
The Role of Education Kits in Emergency Education

NGO Partner: UNICEF and Somali NGO Partner

Education Kits, packages of basic school materials for pupils and teachers, have become the preferred first response of United Nations agencies working with refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa. Originally developed in 1993 by UNICEF and UNESCO for use in Somalia, the Education Kits have met with mixed reviews from local users of the materials and UN staff alike. In mid-1998, UNICEF-Somalia undertook a thorough review of the Education Kit in that country. Among other findings, the review noted that the kits were most useful when employed as a start up input for educational activities, but that many of the materials contained in the kit were inappropriate and that they promoted harmful dependence on external materials in many communities. Modified kits (according to the recommendations of the internal review) will be introduced into refugee and IDP areas of Somalia in June 1999.

In January 2000, I will travel to Somali to work with UNICEF and its partner NGOs on an evaluation of the kits following six months of active use. This evaluation will ask the following questions. To what extent have the modified kits corrected the shortcomings noted in the UNICEF-Somalia review? And, to what extent are kits the best use of resources for promoting the re-establishment of education in the emergency regions of Somalia? The primary method of data collection will be through interviews with those who are making use of the kit: education staff in the field and the children, parents, and teachers for whom the kit is intended. The evaluation will also try to determine what local (refugee, IDP) adaptations to the kit have been made that may hold potential for further improvements in its materials and methodology. Such adaptations are important because, despite its many shortcomings in methodology and pedagogical design, the kit has become a mainstay of emergency education intervention for United Nations agencies.

 

Kelly Greenhill
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science
Summer 1999
The Politics of Repatriation: Resistance to Minority Returns
to Bosnia-Herzegovina

NGO Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Since the end of the 1991-95 Yugoslav civil war, the "international community" has actively sought to reintegrate Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and undo the widespread ethnic cleansing that characterized the conduct of much of the war. This reintegration effort has widely been acknowledged as a failure. BiH remains in a state of de facto partition that large numbers of people of each nationality--Bosniac, Croat, and Serb--are fighting hard to preserve. Hard-liners on all sides have continued their campaigns of ethnic separation and consolidation--both coercing their own people not to leave areas beyond the control of their respective armies and offering incentives for resettlement inside strategically significant areas. At the same time, these hard-liners have actively striven to avert the ethnic reintegration of those areas in which they are the majority, by using coercion to discourage minorities who wish to return. In short, the war in Bosnia goes on, only now it is being fought not with tanks and artillery, but with displaced people. The question this research seeks to answer is why. The answer (or combination of answers) to this question is critically important, as the most appropriate and effective policy tools and prescriptions to deal with this resistance--if any exists--differ greatly depending upon what best explains it.

Although resistance to communal reintegration is not unique to the situation in the former Yugoslavia, little scholarly attention has been devoted to the issue. The situation in BiH provides an opportunity to remedy this oversight through the conduct of interviews and case studies that should offer insights and lessons that are applicable to other conflicts within the Balkans and throughout the world. Interviews will be conducted with refugees in diaspora communities, with IDPs within BiH, and with those community and national leaders who are intimately involved with the ethnic reintegration issue. The case studies will focus on an ethnically diverse set of six to eight communities in BiH that have offered widely disparate levels of resistance to return.

 

Sarah Kenyon Lischer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science
Summer 1999
Refugees and the Spread of Political Violence

NGO Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

This project asks what factors determine whether refugee movements cause fighting from civil wars to spill over into neighboring states. Building on my previous fieldwork in Croatia and Geneva, I will extend my work on refugee involvement in political violence. Using a broader range of cases, I plan to specify and test the mechanisms that involve refugees in conflict.

The Bosnian case I examined suggests that the political willingness and military capability of the receiving state is a necessary condition for refugee involvement in political violence. I will also examine additional hypotheses positing that refugees can act independently of the receiving state, or that a weak receiving state may be unable to prevent political violence by exiles living within its borders. My project will assess hypotheses on refugee involvement in political violence by gathering data on Rwandan Hutu exiles in Zaire and Tanzania from 1994-1997. In addition to expanding the data on refugees and security, my research will clarify the challenges faced by UNHCR and NGOs in providing both assistance and protection to refugees.

I will present the results of my summer research at the American Political Science Association conference in September 1999 and to the Mellon-MIT program in the fall of 1999.

 

Oxana Shevel
Harvard University, Department of Government
Summer 1999
Refugee Policies in Post-Communist Countries (The Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine) and the Role of International Organizations

NGO Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

This project engages the question of how do international organizations (IOs) affect refugee and citizenship policies of the new democracies in East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. IOs empowered by mandates to assist refugees and to reduce statelessness (such as the UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the OSCE) seek to influence refugee and citizenship policies of post-Communist states such that international standards are reflected in national legislation and practices. In practice, certain post-Communist countries follow the recommendations and standards advocated by IOs more readily than others. This research compares national responses to IOs' pressures in four post-Communist states: the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. I contend that to understand variations in IOs' effects on national policies, it is necessary to understand and specify the political channels through which international pressures translate into domestic policy choices. I seek to do this in my dissertation: to specify the conditions under which IOs exercise influence, and the pathways through which IOs' influence translates into concrete domestic policy choices. My field research reveals that the ability of IOs to influence refugee and citizenship polices depends on three sets of factors: First, the level of politicization of a given policy issue domestically; second, the position taken by the specialized government bureaucracy and this bureaucracy's autonomy; and, third, the institutional design of the policy-making process that regulates IOs' access to the legislature and lobbying opportunities in parliament.

I will use Mellon-MIT grant to conduct additional field work for my dissertation in Ukraine and the Czech Republic this summer. In the Czech Republic new refugee legislation is currently under discussion in the parliament, and amendments to citizenship law have also been proposed. I will examine what role the UNHCR played and continues to play in drafting new legislation, how it interacted with various domestic actors, how successful it was in influencing different elements of Czech refugee policies, and what factors account for its success (or lack of it). In Ukraine I will be conducting research in Crimea on the effect of IOs on Ukrainian citizenship policy towards the Crimean Tatars and other formerly deported peoples (FDPs). Ukrainian citizenship legislation was recently amended, and thousands of FDPs have affiliated to Ukrainian citizenship over the past year. The UNCHR has been particularly instrumental in bringing about changes to Ukrainian citizenship policy and now is involved in ensuring implementation of the new legal provisions. I will analyze how it interacts with local and central authorities and NGOs, and what societal and institutional factors affect its ability to influence national citizenship policies and practices in Ukraine, as well as policies in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Finally, this summer I will also undertake an internship at the UNCHR office in Ankara where I will be working on the reduction of statelessness in the former Soviet Union. Specifically, I will work on identifying gaps in the CIS countries' citizenship legislation that may lead to statelessness, and will draft recommendations for the UNHCR on what actions and strategies it might take to prevent and reduce statelessness arising from these legal gaps.

Timothy Snyder
Harvard University
Summer 1999
Forced Migration Between Poland and Ukraine, 1943-1947

NGO Partner: The Ukrainian Archive (Archiwum Ukrainskie) and the Eastern Archive (Archiwum Wschodnie Osrodek Karta)

Between 1943 and 1947, under cover of war and postwar settlements, 100,000 Poles and Ukrainians were killed and 1,500,000 Poles and Ukrainians lost their homes in three operations explicitly designed to create nationally homogenous territories. The first of these was a cleansing of Polish civilians carried out by Ukrainian partisans in 1943 (which brought responses by Polish partisans); the second was the Soviet-communist Polish "evacuation" of Ukrainians from Poland and Poles from Ukraine in 1944-46; the third was a military operation by communist Poland in 1947 to forcibly disperse remaining Ukrainians from their homelands.

The aims of the present research are to complete an historical account of these events (which includes the role of political institutions and non-governmental actors) as part of the history of forced expulsions in the twentieth century; to establish how these events are remembered by Ukrainian and Polish survivors; and to explain how these memories affected and were affected by policy in sovereign Poland and Ukraine after 1989 and 1991. This research will provide the basis for one quarter of a book entitled "Peace in the Northeast," the main purpose of which is to establish why echoes and memories of wartime and postwar national conflict and forced expulsions have played a relatively minor role in the domestic and international politics of northeastern Europe since 1989.

 

Chris Strawn
Harvard Law School and Centro de Investigaciones Sociojurídicas,
Universidad de Los Andes
Summer 1999
The Dynamics of Internal Displacement and International Involvement in Colombia

NGO Partner: Catholic Relief Services

In the early 1990s, only a handful of NGOs recognized the problem of internal displacement in Colombia. The Colombian government was silent on the issue, offering neither a political nor a humanitarian response. Now, with estimates of the number of displaced persons surpassing one million, the subject is at the forefront of public debate on human rights. Despite recognition of the crisis, the Colombian government as well as NGOs have enjoyed little success in formulating large-scale policies that attack the causes of displacement or mitigate its effects. I argue that the lack of an adequate investigation into the economic interests underlying displacement inhibits the Colombian government and NGOs from developing critical structural responses to displacement.

Answering this need, this study, with the sponsorship of Catholic Relief Services, analyzes the violence leading to internal displacement in Colombia, the economic interests underlying that violence, and the problematics of foreign investment. In particluar, this study critiques the role of multinational corporations and foreign capital, which have at times sharpened the conflict in Colombia by providing funds for different armed actors. By documenting cases of the politicization of foreign investment as well as formulating norms and guidelines to ensure that foreign capital does not become politicized and ultimately contribute to displacement, this research will not only fill gaps in the analysis of the causes of displacement, but also assist in the design of policies that aim to prevent internal displacement.

Jessica Wattman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science
Summer 1999
War Economies and the Persistence of Violence

NGO Partner: Catholic Relief Services

There is no question that conflict can be profitable. The struggle over economic resources finds its most extreme expression in the scarce environment of war, creating opportunity for substantial wealth accumulation. In most instances, however, the "international community" has catalogued economic objectives as subordinate to political and military missions. This common viewpoint has led to policy prescriptions that have focused heavily on political and military reconciliation with little regard to the underlying economic drivers of the conflict. This project hypothesizes that, in certain instances, powerful groups develop substantial financial interests that can be profitable only with the continuation or institutionalization of war. In these cases, it may be vital for intervening groups to understand what is happening economically on-the-ground in order to make sense of the political and military situation. While the economic functions of violence in civil conflict have been remarked upon for quite some time by the NGO community, neither these actors nor the academics who study related areas have adequately engaged with the problem. This has left both a theoretical and practical vacuum which this project takes a first step to fill.

Shifting our understanding of humanitarian disasters in this way suggests a research agenda that focuses on the benefits of large-scale human tragedy and not only on the costs. Very crudely, it implies looking at who profits from humanitarian disasters and who loses; what they gain or lose; mechanisms for securing advantage; and the importance of international relief to these operations. Liberia will be the first case study of this project. As an initial approach, a wide-range of interviews will be conducted with NGO workers in Liberia during the conflict, community and government leaders involved in the reconstruction process, and members of the traditional and emerging merchant sector. Additional research will focus on mapping out both the formal and informal economic infrastructure that developed during the conflict.

 

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