Annual Report 2017

Swiss Network for International Studies
 

Message from the Director

Dr Bernhard Fuhrer

Dr Bernhard Fuhrer

Director of the SNIS

Dr Bernhard Fuhrer

Dr Bernhard Fuhrer

Director of the SNIS

Focus on migration and a new online format

The SNIS is pleased to present you with its annual report 2017 focusing on migration. We decided to illustrate this highly relevant topic with an online format that expands on the traditional text form by including videos and podcasts. Consequently, you can watch SNIS project coordinator Dr. Peter Larsen talk about the impact of his film in Vietnam or hear Marie McAuliffe (IOM) talk about her dual role as member of the International Geneva & Scientific Committees. You can use the menu up top  to quickly navigate the long page.

The continued success of our call and new forms of scientific communication

We are very happy to report that our main activity – the SNIS call for projects – continues to be highly attractive. In 2017 we received no less than 77 pre-proposals while we could only fund eight projects. Researchers seem to increasingly seek out what has become our trademark innovative funding scheme. This is true for the issue area – international studies broadly defined – but also for the form – pluri-disciplinary applied research that bridges the gap between academia and International Geneva. In order to promote the quick dissemination of research results the secretariat also encourages our network members to try novel approaches to scientific communication. In this vein, we asked the winners of the Call to present their projects at our launch workshop with a short film and a PeschaKuscha-style presentation (Japanese presentation format only allowing 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each). Needless to say, our academics first felt thrown off track, but quickly found these new communication forms to free up a lot of time and allow for more interactive discussions. You can find a more detailed account in the section call for projects.

Outreach and publications

In terms of outreach we organised migration-focused events in Neuchâtel, St. Gallen and Lucerne where speakers from international organizations connected with students. These events complemented the various publications that resulted from the SNIS funded projects.

Financial matters

Finally, despite small but continuing cuts in funding, the SNIS has managed to maintain the envelope for scientific activities by saving money in administration .

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and wish you an enjoyable multi-format experience with our online annual report 2017

Migration in the Lens of the Sustainable Developement Goals

Thematic Focus 2017

Migration in the Lens of the Sustainable Developement Goals

Thematic Focus 2017

Call for Projects 2017

In 2017 the SNIS launched its tenth call for projects. Pre-proposals can be in the general field of international studies or focus on a special theme defined by the International Geneva Committee. This committee is  composed of representatives of international organisations headquartered in Geneva. This year the committee proposed the cross-sectorial theme ‘Migration in the lens of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)’, including the following sub-themes:

Demography and Migration

 

Environmental Change and Migration Nexus

 

Gender and Migration

 

Innovation and Migration

 

Migration Governance and Human Rights

 

Transnational Connectivity and Migration

 

Technology and Migrant Integration

 

Funded Projects

After a highly competitive call with a total of 83 received pre-proposlas, the following eight projects emerged as the winners. The first two in the list directly responded to the yearly theme.

Coordinated by Prof. Vally Koubi
Coordinated by Prof. Vally Koubi

Center for International and Comparative Studies (CIS), ETH Zurich

 
Coordinated by Prof. Vally Koubi

Center for International and Comparative Studies (CIS), ETH Zurich

 

Environmental Change and Migration

The Role of Urbanization in Conflict Processes

Climate change and environmental degradation have largely contributed to both internal and rural-to-urban migration. While urbanization can foster economic development and improve economic efficiency of local governments, large flows of in-migration can also pose substantial economic, social, and political challenges to the local population and generate conflicts. This research project examines the nexus of environmental change, migration, and conflict. It will thus provide an important foundation for the decisions taken by policymakers at national and international level.

Coordinated by Dr. Carolin Fischer
Coordinated by Dr. Carolin Fischer

University of Neuchâtel

 
Coordinated by Dr. Carolin Fischer

University of Neuchâtel

 

Engendering Migration, Development and Belonging

The Experiences of Recently Arrived Afghans in Europe

Afghanistan has one of the world’s largest refugee populations and ranks among the least developed and least peaceful countries in the world. This project asks how Afghan migrants can be development actors. The gender-based analysis will examine how young Afghans’ desires are shaped by subjective and socio-cultural understandings of gender in their communities of origin and host countries. It also investigates how these desires are affected by state policy and how recently arrived Afghan migrants are perceived by and incorporated into receiving societies. Finally, the project will examine the implications of the gendered desires for Afghan migrants’ identities and their contributions as development actors.

Coordinated by Dr. Marlyne Sahakian
Coordinated by Dr. Marlyne Sahakian

University of Geneva

 
Coordinated by Dr. Marlyne Sahakian

University of Geneva

 

Green Public Spaces and Sustainable Cities in South and Southeast Asia

Integrating Needs and Societal Wellbeing

Green public spaces meet the human needs and contribute to the societal wellbeing in cities. They also support social inclusiveness and environmental promotion. How does this plays out in practice may differ according to the cultural context and across social groups. This project looks how people use green public spaces in daily life and the implications for urban planning in four mega-cities of South and Southeast Asia. At a time where green public spaces are increasingly being endangered by commercial and state interests, this project will contribute to the promotion of sustainable development.

Coordinated by Prof. Liliana Andonova
Coordinated by Prof. Liliana Andonova

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

 
Coordinated by Prof. Liliana Andonova

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

 

Effectiveness of Partnerships for Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

Behavioural Pathways and Impacts Summary

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) emphasise the role of partnerships in the implementation of sustainability. Partnerships between public and non-state actors have become important instruments for addressing core issues on the sustainable development agenda such as health, education, clean energy or humanitarian issues. However, ones often lacks knowledge about these partnerships’ effectiveness and impact. This research proposes a generalisable theory on PPPs effectiveness, which can be applied across multiple SDG sectors.

Coordinated by Prof. Chahan Yeretzian
Coordinated by Prof. Chahan Yeretzian

Zurich University of Applied Sciences

 
Coordinated by Prof. Chahan Yeretzian

Zurich University of Applied Sciences

 

Improving Rural Livelihoods Through Promoting High-Quality Coffee and Coffee Cherry Products in the Origin Countries in Colombia and Bolivia

In the value-chain of coffee, the farmer’s revenues represent less than 1% the generated value of the final cup. As a result, rural families increasingly abandon coffee production and migrate to urban areas where they engage in off-farm activities. This project will generate and promote knowledge on quality markets with the aim to increase the added value of coffee and coffee cherry products for farmers. The goal is to provide structured guidance for coffee farmers threreby contributiong to improving their livelihoods.

Coordinated by Prof. Aditya Bharadwaj
Coordinated by Prof. Aditya Bharadwaj

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

 
Coordinated by Prof. Aditya Bharadwaj

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

 

Marginalised Lives

Infertility, Childlessness, and Healthcare Seeking in Resource-Poor Settings in Nepal and India

Infertility in the developing South has remained largely invisible as a major reproductive health challenge and a serious public health concern. The project seeks to explain the neglected incidence of infertility in resource-poor settings of Nepal and India. It will provide a comprehensive map of infertility prevalence, causes, marginalisation, treatment options and healthcare-seeking behaviour. The overall aim of the project is to contribute to a robust and in-depth understanding of infertility as a major public health concern and how it creates conditions for social marginalisation and impacts well-being.

Coordinated by Prof. Marco Giugni
Coordinated by Prof. Marco Giugni

University of Geneva

 
Coordinated by Prof. Marco Giugni

University of Geneva

 

Social and Solidarity Economy, Urban Communities and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Social spending has been considerably cut as a result of the economic and refugees’ crises. The reduction of public spending has considerably weakened the social protection of the unemployed native-born, the migrants and the newly arrived refugees. How can the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) step in so that no one is left behind? This research examines the potential of SSE for the integration of these vulnerable groups in the local communities and into labour markets. Case studies are being carried out in Geneva, Bergamo and Heraklion. The research aims to generate evidence and policy suggestions to maximize the potential of SSE actors.

Coordinated by Prof. Jean-Michel Bonvin
Coordinated by Prof. Jean-Michel Bonvin

University of Geneva

 
Coordinated by Prof. Jean-Michel Bonvin

University of Geneva

 

Gig Economy and Its Implications for Social Dialogue and Workers’ Protection

While crowd work and work-on-demand via applications can be considered as a way into workforce, it offers little or no income-security protections. The project seeks to generate a better understanding of the gig economy and how it is transforming the social dialogue and workers’ protection. The core of the research consists of case studies in the transport, hospitality and banking-sectors. Four countries will be considered in the comparative study: Switzerland, Germany, Greece and UK. Together the case studies will provide an integrated picture of the gig economy and its implications for the role of employers, workers, the government and society at large.

Launch Workshop of 2017 Projects

Villa Moynier, Geneva , 5 October 2018

The traditional kick-off meeting with the winning research teams has been structured to offer a particularly animated exchange. We challenged coordinators to make their project presentations pecha-kucha style. In this format a total of 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, so the entire presentation has to fit within  6 minutes and 40 seconds. In addition the slides should not contain too much text. Participants found this rather stringent format to be unusual for the academic domain, but all found that it freed time for discussion and exchange. Overall, the particpants found it enriching, especially since they had also been asked to prepare a short video presentation of their research before the meeting so that the different teams were already acquainted with the theme of the other projects. The pictures from the event below and one of the samle summary videos give you an idea of this new format for the lauch workshop:
PARTICIPANTS

Vally KOUBI Professor, Center for International and Comparative Studies (CIS), ETHZ

Marlyne SAHAKIAN Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Geneva

Maria MEXI Researcher, Institute of Citizenship Studies, University of Geneva

Ibrahim SAID Research Analyst, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

Jean-Michel BONVIN Professor, Institute of Sociological Research, University of Geneva

Carolin FISCHER Researcher, Laboratory of Transnational Studies and Social Processes, University of Neuchâtel

Esra KAYTAZ Research Associate, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Univesity of Coventry

Liliana ANDONOVA Professor, Political Science/IR, The Graduate Institute

Moira FAUL Head of Research, Geneva Public Private Partnership Center, University of Geneva

Aditya BHARADWAJ Professor, Anthoplogy and Socioloy, The Graduate Institute

Christine LUTRINGER Senior Research Fellow, The Graduate Institute C

hahan YERETZIAN Professor, School of Life Sciences and Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Sebastian OPITZ Research Associate, Department of Analytical Technologies, Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Sabine STAUFFACHER Research Associate, Coffee Excellence Center, Zurich University of Applied Sciences

René BRUGGER Project Partner, Café Munaipata Bolivia.

Events

Three events were organized thoughout the year on the large topic of ‘Migration in the Lens of the Sustainable Development Goals’. The talks were hosted at the Unversities of  Neuchâtel, St. Gallen and Lucerne.

Young Migrants in Switzerland – Current Situation and Reflections for the Future

University of Neuchâtel, 8 May 2017.  Organised jointly with the NCCR on the move (National Center for Competence in Research – The Migration Mobility Nexus)

In Switzerland a high number of young refugees, many of which are unaccompanied minors, have sought asylum. The integration of these young migrants puts increased pressure on education and other integration structures and is therefore high on the political agenda. The panel offered perspectives ranging from the global to the local level and from both the state and civil society angles. It became clear that in times of increased pressure on public spending, state actors increasinlgy rely on local initiatives to successfully integrate  youngsters and to offer them a life perspective as adults.

PANELISTS

 

Denise EFIONAYI-MÄDER Vice-director of the ‘Forum suisse pour l’étude des migrations et de la population (SFM), University of Neuchâtel, Katrina LOURIE Programme Officer, Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC), Geneva, Céline MAYE delegate for integration and head of ‘Service de la cohésion multiculturelle (COSM) ‘ Canton of Neuchâtel Rachel BOLLE, enseignante, médiatrice, responsable pour le soutien scolaire (AMIC), Genève

 

MODERATION

 

Prof. Gianni D’AMATO Director, National Center of Competence in Research – The Migration-Mobility Nexus, University of Neuchâtel

Respect, Protect, Fulfil – Human Rights and Migration

University of St. Gallen, 18 October 2017

Migrants tend to live and work in the shadows and are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and marginalisation. They are often denied access to fundamental rights and are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and marginalisation. While states have a sovereign right to determine conditions of entry and stay in their territories, they have also the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all individuals. The screening of the documentary ‘Time to Look at Girls’ offered the starting point for the discussion on the particular aspect of migrant adolescent’s girls in Nepal and Ethiopia and life choices. As underlined by Kristina Touzenis (International Organisation for Migration), whether refugees or economic migrants, all of them seek a better life and receiving countries should respect migrants’ human rights regardless of their ‘classification’. IOM does important advocacy work for migrant rights in the UN family and among member States.

PANELISTS

Kristina TOUZENIS Director of International Migration Law Division International Organization for Migration, Geneva Laura CHELLO Advocacy and Outreach Officer Terre des Hommes International Federation, Geneva

MODERATION

Dr Claudia BRÜHWILER Lecturer, University of St. Gallen

Keeping Out – Getting In? Migrants Facing Visible and Invisible Walls

University of Luzern, 8 November 2017

There are many barriers to migration:  entry restrictions, physical and virtual borders, cultural differences and financial constraints. Marie McAuliffe (Head, Migration Research Division, International Organization for Migration, Geneva) gave an overview of the global context of migration. The international migrant population has increased in size but remained relatively stable as a proportion of the world’s population. Greater connectivity and (mis)information are adding up as drivers for migration that are structural and individual. A striking fact is that two-thirds of international migrants are in high-income countries (157 million).  75 % of all potential migrants plan to go to 20 countries. She concluded that the migration governance needs multi-faceted responses that are balanced and proportionate. Chloé F. Smith (Lawyer, Collectif de défense, Geneva) addressed the topic from the legal perspective and practice in Switzerland. Refugee or Migrant? From the legal point of view words matter as the status of refugees is protected by international law (1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol). In practice, many people overstay their permit or have never sought asylum and are by definition without a legal status. Nevertheless, they have rights and obligations. Taking the case of a young migrant, Mrs Smith briefly presented presented the Swiss asylum system and the litigation tools with respect to migrant rights. In this regard, the she pointed to the work done by the law clinic of the University of Geneva, which has edited a special issue on the rights of women without legal status, estimated between 8000 and 12’000 in Geneva and mainly domestic workers (Les droits des femmes sans statut legal à Genève).

PANELISTS

Marie MCAULIFFE Head, Migration Research Division, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Geneva Cholé SMITH Lawyer, Collectif de défense, Geneva

MODERATION

Dr Peter Bille LARSEN Department of Anthropology, University of Lucerne

Podcast

One core mission of the SNIS is to bring academics and practitioners together in order to increase the policy relevance of research. In this podcast Marie McAuliffe explains how the International Geneva committee asscertains that SNIS funded projects respond to policy relevant topics and also shares her experience as a member of the scientific committee.

Marie McAuliffe

Marie McAuliffe

Head of the Migration Policy Research Division, IOM

Marie McAuliffe is a member of the SNIS International Geneva Committee and was elected as a one-year member of the SNIS Scientific Committee in 2017.

Interview with Marie McAuliffe

by Bernhard Fuhrer

“The real strength is bringing the different parties together when you make funding decisions.”

“The real strength is bringing the different parties together when you make funding decisions.”

“It is important to make sure that the research builds on the existing knowledge base and is applicable to policy and practice environments.”

“It is important to make sure that the research builds on the existing knowledge base and is applicable to policy and practice environments.”

Research Output

 

Highlights

Word Heritage and Human Rights

In this filmed interview Peter Larsen talk about the local ethnic minority of the Arem affected by the World Heritage Site of Phong Nha Ke Bang in Vietnam. As part of his SNIS funded project he has produced a short documentary about their situation. He recently travelled back to Phong Nha Ke Bang and screened his documentary. In this episode Peter also shares what impact his film had in the community and on on local and national media.

Dr Peter larsen

Dr Peter larsen

University of Luzern

Peter Larsen was the coordinator of a SNIS-funded research project that started in 2014. He is senior lecturer at the University of Luzern with a strong interest int he intersection between environmental conservation and social equity concerns, including work in the field of World Heritage policy and practice, international rights standards and the anthropology of international organizations.

Discover the underlying research project

Understanding Rights Practices in the World Heritage System: Lessons from the Asia Pacific

Migrant Workers and the Dynamics of Ilegalization, Racialization and Labour

In this interview, Timothy Raeymaekers talks about a new way of communicating research results. Together with curators and a theatre company his research team has set up an interactive theatre play enabling participants to learn through practice. The research had previously shed light on the working and living conditions of migrant agricultural workers in Europe. We asked Dr Raeymakers about his epxeriences with these innovative form of dissemination.

Dr Timothy Raeymaekers

Dr Timothy Raeymaekers

University of Zurich

Timothy Raeymaekers is a lecturer in Political Geography at the University of Zurich. He has a strong interest in the nexus of protracted crisis, violence, and social change. His research also covers border studies (margins, frontiers), forced displacement and migration.

Discover the underlying research project

New Plantations: Migrant Mobility, ‘Illegality’ and Racialisation in European Agricultural Labour

Q : Why did you choose this new form of dissemination?

TR: I think in addition to the specialised publications and the conference panels, which as academics, we have to engage in anyways, the conference format we have chosen provides an interactive platform to disseminate the information to a wider public. As academics we raise questions – hopefully important questions – and through this kind of event we also have the ambition to contribute to changes of mind-sets, and ultimately to changes of behaviour.  I think it was Confucius who said ‘if you make a person read something, this will be forgotten the next day. If you make the person read out loud, repeat this, then things will hopefully be remembered. But if you make a person practice the things that should be learned, then that will remain with this person forever.’ Of course, we’re not as ambitious as Confucius, but the learning experience, when it is shared through practice, hopefully contributes to this change of mind-sets a bit more, at least that was the ambition when we started thinking about this format, than the classical experts’ ex cathedra exposés that we’re used to as academics.

Q: Would you recommend this kind of workshops for other projects?

TR: I think, whenever you’re trying to contribute to a change of mind-sets about a particular issue, then this format could be very helpful. You know we’ve been talking about migrant labour, and this is usually underestimated. It’s a way to put the spotlight on such an underrepresented, under-discussed topic, and I think that’s one criterion I would emphasise. […] A lot of time actually goes into this format. But that said, I think it pays off.

Q: How did they [the artist groups and grass root political organisations] contribute to the research?

TR: I’ll give you an example. Cantieri Meticci has, with a group of actors and the artistic director, actually come to Puglia to stay in a migrant labourer host centre, to interview people and to get a sense of the situation, a first point of view. […] I think the advantage of including them in the research has been that research itself becomes a consistently shared experience. […] Our role as researchers is both to conglomerate these testimonies and give them a ‘conceptual sense’, a comparative sense, and at the same time also to provide these grass root organisations with the necessary methodological tools to actually continue doing their own research. I think, the artistic involvement in the project has given us the opportunity to introduce new methods into the research, and therefore also make it more interdisciplinary as a whole. […] What I’ve noticed through the years is that in theatre and in literature, another form of extraction is being made, out of the information that is gathered from every-day life experiences. They’re looking for archetypes, for comparisons that go beyond the conceptual frame of sociology or anthropology, but that go into the direction of what makes us different or similar as human beings.

Q: Did you get any feedback from your participants?

TR: Yes, they were all overly enthusiastic, of course. […] Surprisingly still, very few people know about this situation, about the extent to which migrant labour is contributing to the production of our daily food, and the extent to which labourers are being exploited. It’s been, in that respect, a learning experience for many people who’ve participated in the ‘soirées’ that we’ve organized. Those who are more or less aware and who’ve come to gather more detailed information and get in touch with us as researchers, actually encourage us to continue this format. We’ve been invited to organise such a conference, for example, at a food coop here in Bologna, exactly with the members of that corporation, who are not only trying to change mind-sets of people in terms of the extent to which the agri-business is contributing to exploitation, but also formulating an alternative, actually by trying to put consumers in direct contact with the producers. […] This experience has encouraged us and facilitated many off-shoot projects from the SNIS project. That’s, I think, very positive. Further installations of the workshop are being planned in different locations.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Public Health Care Facilities – Taking into Account Gender Specific Needs

In this short report you can discover how the SNIS funded project extended an existing on-line application  to assess and improve the access to water and hygiene.

Discover the underlying research project

WASH in the context of maternal health and menstrual hygiene,

Links

Discover the EAWAG page about the Facility Evaluation Tool for WASH in Institutions (FACET)

Discover the EAWAG video clip about the FACET project

Discover more about WASH in Health Care Facilities on the WHO/UNICEF Platform

Discover the article “WASH and gender in health care facilities: The unchartered territory” in Health Care for Women International

BACKGROUND – Poor WASH services in public hospitals generate diseases and impede progress in public health care

In a joint report the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF revealed  that about 38% of health care facilities in 54 assessed low- and middle-income countries do not have any water sources and 35% lack water and soap for hand-washing. 15% of all patients develop an infection during their stay in a hospital. Vulnerable groups such as women in childbed, pregnant women, children and the disabled are at increased risks. WHO/UNICEF therefore launched an action plan with ‘the vision to provide access to WASH services in all facilities, in all settings by 2030, with a special attention to the needs of women, girls and children’.

PROJECT – Different Needs for Different People and Different User Groups

Principal researchers Petra Kohler explains:, ‘Sanitation and WASH are linked and embedded in environments that are of sensitive concern and somehow taboo, especially with women and girls when it comes to menstruation, which is also part of hygiene management. There are different needs between women and men, not only when it comes to infrastructure, but also from the point of view of cultural and normative needs. In short, different needs for different people and different groups have to be taken into account and this translates into a gender sensitive reseach metod’. 

METHOD – Gender Sensitive Research Method Applied

The research team applied the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in four different health care facilities in local district hospitals in India and Uganda. GALS is a focus group discussion method where female and male groups are separated to identify the issues experienced and to find possible solutions. During the workshops, both groups were offered a comfortable zones to talk about their own needs and the method proofed to be particularly promising when it came to lay out sensitive matters, not only from the individual, but also collective approach. GALS is not only about separating these groups but also bringing them together in the plenum discussion, where a kind of consensus or common output can be discussed. The success of these focus group discussions depends very much of the facilitator – a women for the women’s group, a man for the men’s group, who acts also an ‘ice breaker’. Women are much more comfortable to talk to each other and very shy people who would not speak out in a mixed group. Symbols or drawing can be used for illiterate persons, making GALS a really inclusive method especially in rural development.

OUTPUT – Mobile Tool for Monitoring WASH services

The research team applied a facility evaluation tool (FACET), initially developed by Terre des Hommes in collaboration with EAWAG/Sandec and adapted it for gender sensitive monitoring for WASH services in health care facilities. The tool is now fully developed and offers a simple and adaptable application to collect online/offline mobile data of water provision services, sanitation facilities, and hygienic conditions, not only for hospitals but also schools. It is particularly adapted to reply to the need for concise, timely and cost effect monitoring of thousands of health care facilities and schools in low- and middle-income countries.

The research findings have been presented in March 2017 at an international learning event in Kathmandu, organised by WHO/UNICEF.

Selected Projects’ Publications

Working Papers

Taxation and International Development North-South Conflicts over Capital Flight and International Taxation Issues after World War II, 1945–1970

Samuel Beroud (University of Geneva)  |  Christophe Farquet  (University of Geneva)  |  Marc Flandreau (University of Pennsylvania)  |  Thibaud Giddey (University of Lausanne)  |  Yejin Heo (Graduate Institute, Geneva)  |  Matthieu Leimgruber (University of Zurich)

The purpose of this research project was to study capital flight and international tax evasion between developed and developing countries during the 1945-1970 period. This period was selected as it has been neglected by existing research on the topic, which tends to focus almost exclusively on the post-1970 (and even post-1990) period. The project aimed to combine an analysis of international tax negotiations, based on archival sources, and the quantification of illicit capital flows in an effort to increase theoretical reflections on the basis of these empirical data. In conclusion, the project output working papers emphasise the shortcomings of both multilateral and bilateral approaches in the attempts to fight capital flight from developing to developed countries. These shortcomings are compounded by the resilience of the defence of tax havens in industrialised, capital exporting countries.

Mapping controversial memories in the historic urban landscape: A multidisciplinary study of Beijing, Mexico-city and Rome

Florence Graezer Bideau (EPFL-IAGS)  |  Yves Pedrazzini (EPFL-LASUR)  |  Lucia Bordone (EPFL-IAGS)  |  Lesslie Herrera (EPFL-LASUR)  |  Filippo De Pieri (PoliTO-DAD)

UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011) is one of the most innovative, but normative and general instruments concerning heritage, although its potential and effects, as well as its interpretation in different cultural contexts, have been little studied. By analysing the social-spatial impacts of its implementation at the local level in Beijing (Gulou), Mexico City (Historic Centre) and Rome (Ostiense)—particularly the recognition of the plurality of memories—this project aims to assess the potential and limitations of the emerging approach of this Recommendation. Using different kinds of methodologies—principally qualitative—the cities reveal different layers of commitment and actions, evidencing a lack of information sharing through levels of power. Understanding the complexity of “memory thickness,” the case studies highlight the conventional selection of historic layers to promote specific visions about space. In general, communities want to preserve their traditional, ordinary life and tend to use nostalgic references about their urban environments. The project questions the plasticity of the UNESCO’s approach at the local scale and asks to what extent this remains an advantage.

Civilian Victimization and Conflict Escalation

Mohammad Aghdam (University of Geneva)  |  Pascal Bongard (Geneva Call)  |  Lars-Erik Cederman (ETH Zurich)  |  Simon Hug (University of Geneva)  |  Marcelo Olarreaga (University of Geneva)  |  Livia Schubiger (London School of Economics and Political Science)

This project sought to advance our understanding of the consequences of violence against civilians by armed actors for subsequent patterns of conflict escalation. Focusing on ethnic violence in particular, our goals was to shed light on the conditions and mechanisms through which campaigns of armed violence against civilians contribute to the escalation from nonviolent to violent forms of contestation, the risk of civil war onset, and – once armed conflict is underway – the escalation and duration of civil wars. To that end, we collected novel data on the ethnic identity of civilian victims in violent campaigns by armed actors, as well as patterns of deliberate ethnic profiling in campaigns of violence against civilians around the globe. Moreover, in-depth case studies were conducted to investigate the theorized causal mechanisms as well as mechanisms that our theories might have overlooked. Among our emerging findings are the insight that ethnic inequality is one of the main drivers of ethnic state violence against civilians, and that ethnic violence against civilians by armed groups tends to escalate conflicts.

Published Articles

Trust Funds as a Lever of Influence at International Development Organizations

Bernhard Reinsberg (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom) Global Policy,  Volume 8, Supplement 5, August 2017, Special Issue Article 

Trust funds – broadly defined as financial vehicles to channel development funding earmarked for specific purposes through international development organizations – have grown substantially over the past two decades. Reflecting the variety of trust fund purposes and related governance arrangements, an emergent literature emphasises a diversity of reasons underlying this growth. This paper proposes a simple – yet encompassing – explanation applicable to all kinds of funds: donors use trust funds to wield ‘influence’ – leveraging financial resources to alter the policies of multilateral organisations. Based on interviews at the World Bank, the study shows that influence is a dominant motive behind trust funds, though the capacity and willingness to wield influence varies across donors. Influence is a salient motive especially for medium-sized donors and emerging donors, but surprisingly less so for large donors. In addition, attempts of influence are most effective when donors promote new thematic issues that did not previously feature Bank assistance and outside established programs. Concerns among stakeholders about undue donor influence are highest with respect to the global knowledge work of the World Bank, but are virtually absent when involving donors in the operational activities at the country level.

How Attitudes towards Immigrants Are Shaped by Residential Context: The Role of Neighbourhood Dynamics, Immigrant Visibility and Areal Attachment

Sjoerdje van Heerden (University of Neuchâtel)  |  Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel) Urban Studies, 25 October 2017

In this paper, the authors check whether they can find any evidence for the ‘defended neighbourhood’ thesis, using panel data from the Netherlands and fixed-effect models. It turns out, they find no evidence of such effects in the Netherlands in recent years. The analysis looks at how proportional changes in residential context are associated with changes in attitudes towards immigrants. Following the reasoning that the majority population need to perceive immigrants, they paid particular attention to immigrant visibility. What is more, the unit of analysis is the neighbourhood, as close as possible as people experience it. They have put a lot of thought in choosing the right level and went with the four-digit postcodes in the Netherlands. From what they gather, this largely corresponds to the perception of neighbourhood’s people have, and not an artificial unit that happens to be ‘available’ in the data. Following the ‘defended neighbourhood’ hypothesis, we focus on proportional change, not absolute numbers as researchers typically do when using cross-sectional data. Surprisingly, a larger change in the proportion of immigrant residents is associated with more positive views on immigrants among natives — not what a defended neighbourhood would look like. Indeed, it is particularly a change in the proportion of visible non-Western immigrants that is associated with changes in attitudes.

Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor

Damian Raess (World Trade Institute, University of Bern, University of Reading)  |  Andreas Dür (University of Salzburg)  |  Dora Sari (University of Geneva, Harvard Law School) The Review of International Organizations, March 2018

Many of the preferential trade agreements (PTAs) signed over the past twenty years include labor provisions (LPs). These LPs link the benefits of better market access to the enforcement of internationally recognized worker rights. But much variation remains across agreements with respect to the scope and stringency of these LPs. While some preferential trade agreements include far-reaching and highly enforceable labor provisions, others only make fleeting references to labor standards or even fully omit the topic. What explains variation in the extent to which labor standards are covered by PTAs? This paper looks at domestic factors that determine the inclusion and design of labor provisions in preferential trade agreements. The authors argue that trade union power and government ideology affect the presence and depth of such provisions. They also argue that there is heterogeneity in the preferences of workers over LPs in PTAs. The analysis is based on a new database, with the screening of 483 agreements. The researchers find that stronger trade unions are associated with more far-reaching labor provisions, especially when it comes to skilled workers. Whether the trade unions have a strong effect on these labor provisions is largely conditional on both the presence of left governments and regime type.

Awards

 

SNIS Award

Dr Julien Debonneville (University of Geneva) and Dr Roxana Radu (The Graduate Institute) have ex aequo received  the SNIS Award 2017 for the best thesis in inernational studies.

Les écoles de la servitude aux Philippines

Des carrières migratoires de travailleuses domestiques aux processus d’altérisation. Pour une approche socio-anthropologique des études postcoloniales

Dr Julien Debonneville

Dr Julien Debonneville

Research and Teaching Fellow, University of Geneva

Sociologist by training, Dr. Julien Debonneville is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the Institute for Gender studies at the University of Geneva. He holds a PhD in gender studies from the University of Geneva, and a Master degrees in social sciences from the University of Lausanne. He also held visiting positions at UC Berkeley (Department of Ethnic studies) and at the University of the Philippines – Diliman (Department of Women and Development Studies). His main research topics are: gender inequalities, migrations and mobility, care economy and reproductive labor, the coloniality of power, the social construction of otherness, and the intersectionality of power relations. 

Les écoles de la servitude aux Philippines

Des carrières migratoires de travailleuses domestiques aux processus d’altérisation. Pour une approche socio-anthropologique des études postcoloniales

PhD thesis defended at the Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva (March 2016), under the supervision of Professor Delphine Gardey and Professor Elisabeth Prügl

Through an ethnographic study of the migratory mechanisms in the Philippines, Dr Debonneville’s thesis examines the production of alterisation – process of perceiving and depicting someone as being fundamentally different or as a stranger – processes in the context of the globalised economy of care. It questions the social representation associated to the Philippine domestic worker, often called ‘Filipina’. More broadly, the thesis offers a reflection on the contribution of post-colonial studies in social sciences.

“The interdisciplinary quality of that thesis is what is the most remarkable.” Member of the Jury

“The interdisciplinary quality of that thesis is what is the most remarkable.” Member of the Jury

“For many reasons, this is a passionate and novel research since it sheds light to pre-migratory situations.” Member of the Jury

“For many reasons, this is a passionate and novel research since it sheds light to pre-migratory situations.” Member of the Jury

Global Rules for Emerging Issue Domains

Negotiating the Governance of the Internet

Dr Roxana Radu

Dr Roxana Radu

Research Associate, Graduate Institute

Roxana Radu is Programme Manager at the Geneva Internet Platform and Research Associate at the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of International Governance. She currently serves as Chair of Internet Society – Switzerland. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the Graduate Institute and an MA in Political Science from the Central European University. Her research and publications explore global governance and internet policy-making.

Global Rules for Emerging Issue Domains

Negotiating the Governance of the Internet

PhD thesis defended at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, (December 2016), under the supervision of Professor Thomas J. Biersteker

Dr Radu’s thesis deals with the evolution of Internet and its preservation of integrity as a single network, despite its fragmented nature and with authoritative decision-making from different sources. This thesis sets out a novel, comprehensive framework for theorising nascent policy fields and for analyzing their evolution empirically.

“The thesis is a great contribution to the field of international relations and internet governance.” Member of the Jury

“The thesis is a great contribution to the field of international relations and internet governance.” Member of the Jury

International Geneva Award

Three young researchers have been awarded for their papers that feature a strong interdisciplinary appeal and offer a direct policy relevance to international organisations. The  members of the International Geneva Committee acted as jury. Each awardee won CHF 5’000 for their article.

Expert Knowledge as a Strategic Resource

International Bureaucrats and the Shaping of Bioethical Standards

Dr Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

Dr Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Before joining the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2009, Annabelle Littoz-Monnet was Assistant Professor at the Central European University, Budapest (2005-2009). Her current research interests include global governance, the politics of knowledge, international organisations, bureaucratic expansion and the concept of ethical expertise. She is now working on a SNSF research project examining uses of ethical experts by bureaucrats and policy-makers. She is also co-director of the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute. Annabelle holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oxford

Expert Knowledge as a Strategic Resource

International Bureaucrats and the Shaping of Bioethical Standards

International Studies Quarterly – 18 September 2017

This article asks how international secretariats can sometimes expand their authority in areas that relate neither to their mandate, nor to their sphere of expert authority through the mobilisation of external expertise. The paper examines this dynamic in the domain of bioethical standards where UNESCO managed to gain authority through the strategic use of external experts. The article challenges the view that expert knowledge acts mainly as a means of solving problems and rationalizing global governance.

“This paper describes very well, with an exhaustive explanation of the UNESCO study case on bioethics, how certain IOs – or better, the top international bureaucrats heading them – plan and implement mission-creeping in fields not fully related with the mandate of the IO.” Member of the Jury

“This paper describes very well, with an exhaustive explanation of the UNESCO study case on bioethics, how certain IOs – or better, the top international bureaucrats heading them – plan and implement mission-creeping in fields not fully related with the mandate of the IO.” Member of the Jury

The Myth of Universality

The UNESCO “Philosophers’ Committee” and the Making of Human Rights

Prof Mark Goodale

Prof Mark Goodale

University of Lausanne

Mark Goodale holds a chair at the University of Lausanne, where he is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology. Until 2014, he was Professor of Conflict Studies and Anthropology at George Mason Universuty (2003-2014) and the first Marjorie Shostak Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology at Emory University (2001-2003). He is the author of Anthropology and Law (NYU, 2017), Surrendering to Utopia (Stanford, 2009), and Dilemmas of Modernity (Stanford, 2008) and the editor/coeditor of 10 other volumes.

The Myth of Universality

The UNESCO “Philosophers’ Committee” and the Making of Human Rights

Law & Social Inquiry – 15 September 2017

This article examines one of the most important developments in the history of human rights: the debates over human rights universality that took place between UNESCO and the Commission on Human Rights during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1947 and 1948. The article presents a revised history of this key episode in international relations and provides an alternative understanding of how the early post-war international world was constructed and how the international system was taking shape.

“At a time when the universality of human rights is de facto being challenged and democracy is on the defensive in many parts of the world, the paper is a worthy contribution to the origins and context of the UDHR. As such, it has relevance for both the research and policy communities.” Member of the Jury

“At a time when the universality of human rights is de facto being challenged and democracy is on the defensive in many parts of the world, the paper is a worthy contribution to the origins and context of the UDHR. As such, it has relevance for both the research and policy communities.” Member of the Jury

“As the paper is based on newly discovered documents, it gives an insightful read into the history the process, new ways of its interpretation and how international cooperation works, or does not.” Member of the Jury

“As the paper is based on newly discovered documents, it gives an insightful read into the history the process, new ways of its interpretation and how international cooperation works, or does not.” Member of the Jury

The Uncounted

Politics of Data and Visibility in Global Health

Dr Sarah L.M. (Meg) Davis

Dr Sarah L.M. (Meg) Davis

Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action

Sara L.M. (Meg) Davis is an anthropologist with expertise on global health finance, human rights, and gender. She is a scholar in residence at New York University Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and coordinator of thematic short courses on sexual violence in conflicts and emergencies at the Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH). Sara L.M. Davis was the first senior advisor on human rights at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. She founded Asia Catalyst, which partners with Asian community-based groups on human rights advocacy and has offices in New York and Bangkok.

The Uncounted

Politics of Data and Visibility in Global Health

The International Journal of Human Rights – Volume 21, 2017 
Issue 8: Special Issue – The Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights: A Critical Early Review

In the fight against HIV, data is a critical stake in the struggle. This article explores the political and economic factors that are driving shifting data in the context of HIV. Key populations vulnerable to HIV (men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people) are often hidden due to stigma and criminalisation. Key population size estimates are a central tool for planning and resourcing national and global HIV programming, but these become hard to obtain when key populations are hidden, and political leaders deny their existence. Pressure from health financing agencies is changing these power dynamics in some countries.

“It is a very nice and clear paper, with good topicality because of the context on improving data and ‘leaving no one behind’. It clearly sets out the opportunities and challenges of counting currently uncounted populations to better target HIV support. It is balanced and has a good range of sources.” Member of the Jury

“It is a very nice and clear paper, with good topicality because of the context on improving data and ‘leaving no one behind’. It clearly sets out the opportunities and challenges of counting currently uncounted populations to better target HIV support. It is balanced and has a good range of sources.” Member of the Jury

“The policy relevance to IOs is very high and the direct benefit to be gained from new data on the key populations targeted by the research is evident.” Member of the Jury

“The policy relevance to IOs is very high and the direct benefit to be gained from new data on the key populations targeted by the research is evident.” Member of the Jury

Facts & Figures

 

Call for Projects

In 2017, 77 pre-proposals have been submitted in the SNIS annual call for projects. The research propositions reflect a good balance between the different linguistic regions in Switzerland.

Pre-Proposals Received – Geographical Breakdown

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Good Participation of Universities of Applied Sciences

Universities of Applied Sciences from all regions of Switzerland widely participated in the call 2017. Taken together they accounted for 17% of all submissions. The project submitted by the University of Applied Sciences of Zurich (ZHAW) was among the winners of the call 2017.

Call for Projects 2017 – Overview of Pre-Proposals Received

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Overview of Organisations Associated with Research Projects 2017

Financial Matters

The financial situation in 2017 was marked by a decrease in subsidies provided by the Swiss Confederation and the Canton of Geneva (- CHF 74’202 compared to 2016). The net income was negative (- 41’769.-), but the secretariat has taken measures to further cut operating costs (see below) to maintain the level of funding towards scientific activities.

Results of the Financial Year 2017

 
Income
Swiss Confederation Subsidy 1’303’570
Canton of Geneva Subsidy 1’169’538
Dissolution of Remainders (Project Funds) 122’958
Various Others 15’753
Total 2’611’819
Expenses
Scientific Activities 2’238’537
Operating Cost (Administration and Salaries) 415’051
Total 2’653’588
Net Income -41’769
Income
Swiss Confederation Subsidy1'303'570
Canton of Geneva Subsidy1'169'538
Dissolution of Remainders (Project Funds) 122'958
Various Others15'753
Total2'611'819
Expenses
Scientific Activities2'238'537
Operating Cost (Administration and Salaries)415'051
Total2'653'588
Net Income-41'769
The reduced income did not affect the amount allocated for research projects. An envelope of CHF 2’142’00 has been directly allocated to research projects. Further funding included the SNIS Award for the best thesis in international studies (CHF 10’000) and the three International Geneva Awards (CHF 5000.- each).

Evolution Subsidies, Scientific Activities, and Operating Costs

Despite a steady decrease in subsidies, the Secretariat managed to maintain the level of funding towards scientific activities by gradually reducing its operating costs (minus CHF – 75’023.- between 2013 and 2017).
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Breakdown of Expenditures

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Origin of the Subsidies