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 Project on International Peace & Security
 Reform Incentives

Teaching, Research & International Policy

 Violent Intranational Political Conflict and Terrorism

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Director Mike Tierney

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In the World shares the latest news from the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) at William & Mary. 


In this edition, we are proud to invite our friends to the annual PIPS Symposium in Washington D.C. where incoming White House Communications Director Jen Psaki '00 will serve as discussant when six of the College's outstanding students present their original policy research. 


The TRIP Project has released the results of their latest Snap Poll and been featured in Foreign Policy online, while the Institute's newest partner, The Bosnia Project, has just been recognized with a national award for "Best Practices in International Education" for student philanthropy.


The Center for African Development is preparing to release findings from a field experiment of mobile phones and women's empowerment in Tanzania, while the Reform Incentives Project will soon publish a report that sheds light on the factors that influence reform efforts in the developing world, so there is even more to come in the next few months.


As always, we thank you for your interest in and support of our work to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of international relations. 



Mike Tierney, Director

We hope you will join this year's class of outstanding student fellows of the Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS) as they present and field questions on their original policy research on Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 pm at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C.
The symposium celebrates the end of a year of research, collaboration and mentorship between PIPS fellows, PIPS interns, W&M faculty and international experts, which results in creative, well-researched, policy white papers on emerging international security challenges. These papers not only represent the quality of W&M student work, but also, the relevance of that work to the policy community.

Serving as this year's discussant is Jen Psaki, '00. Psaki is currently spokesperson for the US Department of State and in February was appointed by President Obama to be the next White House communications director.

The 2014-15 PIPS Fellows from left to right: Rebecca Brown, Susan Nelson,
Daniel Duane, Duenya Hassan, Justin DeShazoro & Isabel DoCampo
2014-2015 PIPS White Papers

"The Impact of Bangladeshi Climate Refugees on India: Improving Foreign Aid to Bangladesh to Stabilize South Asia"

Rebecca Brown


"Reform from a Distance: Strengthening Fragile State Bureaucracies with E-Learning"

Justin DeShazor


"The Politics of Fast-Paced Epidemic: Bolstering Disease-Burdened States with Community Resilience"

Isabel DoCampo


"Unmanned Underwater Vehicles: The Next Insurgent Threat"

Daniel Duane


"Women of Mass Destruction: Combatting Radicalization on the Web"

Duenya Hassan


"The Schoolhouse Model: Rethinking UNHCR's Approach to Refugee Camps"

Susan Nelson

1,000 US IR scholars weigh in on Iran, Greece and Israel in latest TRIP Snap Poll

TRIP Snap Poll article in Foreign Policy online.  

 researchers, Dan Maliniak, Sue Peterson, Ryan Powers and Mike Tierney, have released the results of their March 2015 Snap Poll which measured the opinion of U.S. international relations (IR) scholars on nine of today's most pressing U.S. foreign policy issues .


More than 1,000 IR scholars participated in the poll, which was open for 40 hours between March 9 and 10, 2015, and included questions on Greece's future in the Eurozone; the continuing crisis in Ukraine; the proposed nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran; the use of military force against ISIS; Ebola eradication efforts; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the U.S.-Israeli relationship; climate change; and President Obama's foreign policy. View the complete Snap Poll here.


The results of the 2014 TRIP Faculty Survey of more than 4,200 

faculty members at colleges and universities in thirty-two countries 

who do research in the IR sub-field of political science and/or who teach international relations courses are available here.


IR scholars and policymakers debate the theory and practice divide at TRIP conference

A panel of policy experts and scholars discussed the challenges and opportunities of bridging the gap between the academy and policy worlds.

The Teaching, Research and International Policy Project (TRIP) kicked off its "Strengthening the Links" conference at William & Mary on Wednesday, January 14 with a keynote panel well qualified to discuss the issues that have historically led to some tension and missed opportunities between the academic and public policy worlds. The panel was moderated by the Hon. Mitchell Reiss, President and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and included the Hon. Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank; Dr. Sarah Kreps, Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University and former U.S. Air Force Officer; and Dr. Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, who served on the National Security Council staff in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Read more.

Center for African Development welcomes
Dr. Scott Ickes as co-director
The Center for African Development is pleased to announce that Dr. Scott Ickes, Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, will be joining the Center as co-director. Ickes' research program focuses on the causes and consequences of child malnutrition and has been set in Uganda, South Africa, and Malawi. Ickes also heads W&M's Mandela Washington Fellowship, an annual Institute in Civic Leadership for young African leaders.

Field experiment on mobile phones and women's empowerment in Tanzania reveals improved business operations for female entrepreneurs

Center for African Development (CAD) Co-Director Philip Roessler and his research team have completed the first phase of a field experiment to test the impact of mobile phone ownership on women's empowerment in Tanzania. Funded by ITPIR, the experiment's first phase was conducted in the summer of 2014 and included 54 female small business owners living around Dar es Salaam. Despite the relatively small scale of the experiment, the team found that mobile phone ownership had a strong positive effect on participants' business operations, access to market information, use of mobile banking and individual welfare. A full analysis of the results will be released in April.


In addition to W&M research assistants Tim Wright '15 (click here to read blog posts from the field) and Raychel Schwartz '15, who managed the implementation in the field experiment, Roessler worked with collaborators from Brigham Young University; REPOA, a Tanzanian research institute; and Kidogo Kidogo, a social enterprise that distributes cost-free mobile phones, sim cards and phone credit to women in Tanzania.


Roessler, with a new team of W&M research assistants and the support of a Reves Faculty Fellowship, will return to Tanzania in the summer of 2015 to implement the experiment's expanded second phase. 

AidData to share in $2.5 million Minerva Initiative grant
AidData was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative as part of an international consortium of institutions that will study the relationship between foreign assistance and intrastate conflict. The research grant, amounting to $2.5 million over three years, will allow a team of scholars to examine whether development aid makes countries more or less resilient to violent conflict within their own borders. Read more.

Reform Incentives prepares release 
of Reform Efforts Survey report, 
"The Marketplace of Policy Ideas"

ITPIR researchers Brad Parks and Zach Rice designed and implemented the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey to better understand the external and domestic factors that influence reform efforts and outcomes in the developing world. Now the Reform Efforts Survey is being integrated into the day-to-day work of AidData.

The 2014 survey has produced a treasure trove of insights into how reforms are inspired, designed and implemented. This 48-question survey captures the experiences of nearly 6,750 development policymakers and practitioners in 126 low- and lower-middle income countries.

AidData staff have been carefully analyzing the first wave of the Reform Efforts Survey data. They plan to share the results via a series of policy reports and blog posts that will be released throughout 2015. The first policy report, "The Marketplace of Policy Ideas", is slated for release in April 2015. To read more about AidData's new survey practice and the Reform Efforts Survey, read the blog announcement here. The April report will be available via and

Read their first blog post, "Money, Ideas & Reform: What does it take to influence lasting change?" here.

Bosnia Project wins "Best Practices in International Education Award" in student philanthropy for collaborative English teaching project in Sarajevo 


Christina Haleas '15 and Ema Custovic lead
their classroom at Isak Samokovlija school in Sarajevo.

Since 1999, the William & Mary Bosnia Project has recruited highly motivated and culturally knowledgeable students
 to teach English and nonviolent communication skills to children and teenagers in war-affected communities in Sarajevo and beyond. Today's W&M student volunteers are continuing to build bridges as they collaborate with Bosnian educators to teach English, video production and cross-cultural communication skills to more than 80 schoolchildren over four weeks each summer.


This month, the Bosnia Project has been recognized with "The Best Practices in International Education Award" for student philanthropy by the NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) International Education Knowledge Community, the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Read more.


Scholars rank W&M 18th in U.S. for International Relations 


For the first time since 2006, when Foreign Policy began to rank international relations schools in its Ivory Tower Index, William & Mary has made the list of Top 25 U.S. Undergraduate Institutions to Study International Relations, coming in at 18th. This ranking makes William and Mary the top choice in Virginia for the study of international relations and the number two institution without an international relations Ph.D. program. Read more. 

Faculty News
AidData Chief Economist Ariel BenYishay has co-authored a paper that is forthcoming in top economics journal, Journal of Human Resources. The paper is an impact evaluation of national measles vaccination campaigns in Sub-Saharan Africa, and employs a "big data" approach that includes data from Demographic & Health Surveys from 25 countries to study impacts across a wide sample. 

Co-Director of the Center for African Development, Scott Ickes, co-authored an article from a randomized trial in Malawi that examined how modifying the nutrient content of a ready-to-use therapeutic food can maintain healthy fatty acids status in severely malnourished children. The study was published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in January 2015.


Student News
TRIP research assistant Natalie Morgan '17 has been awarded a Robert M. and Rebecca W. Gates Scholarship. Morgan, a double major in International Relations and European Studies, will use the scholarship to study in Potsdam, Germany this summer.
ITPIR asks students:
How has working at ITPIR had an impact on you?

ITPIR--and AidData in particular--has completely altered my college career. Aside from the 2+ years of work experience I will graduate with, the professional skills instilled in all students by David Trichler, and the hard skills of geocoding and GIS, I have been given the opportunity to work abroad in Nepal Summer 2015. On top of this, my experiences with ITPIR have granted me the knowledge and contacts to design my own major in Ecology & GIS. Thanks ITPIR!

Hannah Dempsey '16


ITPIR has given me the opportunity to create software that has an impact. The software I make is immediately used by TRIP or other research projects, and I'm constantly held accountable and asked to revise and extend software that I have built.

Will Theuer '17


I would say what has impacted me most at ITPIR is that I have been able to put my international relations knowledge into practice in a very practical way. This has made learning in class more fun and relatable, because I know when I go to the Institute I can put what I learned to work. It sounds simple, but I think many other people with an IR major, or any other major, struggle to find real world applications for their knowledge during their undergrad. It feels good to know that I can at ITPIR.

Conor O'Donnell '15

Mentors wanted! ITPIR to launch mentorship program for student researchers

Since ITPIR was founded, more than 250 student research assistants have contributed to its research projects. Now the Institute is launching a mentorship program to connect these talented students with alumni and friends who can offer them professional guidance and advice. If you are interested in working with ITPIR students as they prepare for their own forays into the professional world, we hope you will take a few minutes to complete this form. Because most of our student researchers are government or international relations majors, this form is most reflective of international career interests, but we welcome any interest in mentorship or participation in our programs. We hope to hear from you! The ITPIR Knowledge, Experience and Career Form.
AidData is Hiring

If your ideal workday involves working alongside bright, driven people excited about using open data to make the world a better place, consider applying for one of these open positions at AidData: Data Analyst for Policy Initiatives, Program Manager, Senior Program Manager, Policy Specialist, AidData Programmer, Technical Associate

Read more.

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The Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations at William & Mary provides a home for interdisciplinary, collaborative, internationally-focused research projects that employ social science methods to make meaningful contributions to contemporary international debate, policy and practice.