2016 - 2017 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues:

  • Arctic Boundaries
    Contacts: Ginny Crothers / virginia.crothers@duke.edu // Megan Nasgovitz / megan.nasgovitz@duke.edu
    Although North Carolina is roughly 4,000 miles away from the Arctic, the rapid changes occurring there will mark environmental, social and economic changes with huge global implications. What happens in the Arctic doesn't just stay there. The Arctic Boundaries Working Group aims to bring awareness to current Arctic science, policy and social issues by exploring topics such as Arctic ecological change, indigenous populations, marine shipping, oil & natural gas, and international governance. Through this group we endeavor to reinforce the concept that the boundaries of the Arctic extend well beyond the 66th Parallel and that we will continue to see profound reverberations across the world in the future. Our hope is to create a space for student conversation and collaboration on these important questions. We believe interdisciplinary dialogue among Duke students working on Arctic issues is one way to forge solutions for the future.
  • Challenges in International Development
    Contacts: Amanda Grittner / amanda.grittner@duke.edu // Elisa Maffioli / elisa.maffioli@duke.edu
    Challenges in International Development is a group of students conducting research in different fields of development economics such as health economics, industrial organization, the economics of education, and political economy in many countries around the world. The common denominator in our group is that all of them use robust empirical methods to understand policy-relevant phenomena. We cover different developing countries such as Peru, Liberia, Bangladesh, and India. Our regular meetings follow a schedule that enables all group members to present their current work, new ideas, and challenges faced in their projects. The meetings aim to give constructive feedback and suggest potential research directions, while gathering different perspectives under the umbrella of the economics of development.
  • Corruption & Natural Resources*
    Contact: Babu Regmi / bigyam.regmi@duke.edu
    Our working group will look into the problems of corruption in three developing countries: Nepal, Ghana and Kenya, and examine the underlying links with natural resources. To omit bias and subjective observations, we will evaluate the issues from multiple perspectives, such as social, political and environmental. We will bring students from these countries into the discussion, as well as those from other parts of the world, to provide different perspectives to the issues raised. The working group will be available to present the findings of our intensive research to groups on campus later this academic year.
  • Foreign Aid & Intervention*  (DAGPSA)
    Contacts: Mercy Asiedu / mna14@duke.edu // Davies Odu / davies.odu@duke.edu // James Mukara / james.mukara@duke.edu
    During this academic year our working group intends to engage people in a dialogue about the potential advantages of foreign aid intervention in Africa, while also highlighting its dangers - a subject that many people tend to overlook or ignore. We propose to explore variations on the types of foreign aid currently available and their effect on African countries. Synthesizing our research into a collection of ideas will enable us to propose improvements with which African countries can become less dependent on foreign aid, when deemed unadvisable.
  • Forest Elephant*
    Contact: Emily Mills / emily.c.mills@duke.edu
    Relatively little is known about the African forest elephant, which faces serious threats to its continued existence. Research suggests that elephants play a vital but still not fully understood role in maintaining the ecological integrity of Central African forests. Major issues of forest elephant survival are tied in with human development, where conservation goals and human livelihoods often clash on issues of land use. Global trade in ivory further complicates this dynamic by contributing to the poaching of the elephants and in turn funding terrorist groups, as well as promoting human trafficking and other criminal activity. This interdisciplinary group aims to bring together student researchers to combine ecology, genetics and technology to drive discussion and innovation with regard to the conservation of forest elephants in Gabon, one of the most important strongholds for the species.
    Website: http://www.poulsenlabduke.com/fewg.html
  • Global Environmental Health & Energy
    Contact: Faraz Usmani / faraz.usmani@duke.edu
    The purpose of this working group is to bring together students working on diverse topics, such as global environmental health, energy access and energy poverty. This group aims to create a forum for students to share their own research and writing; to engage in a critical, interdisciplinary way with global health and energy challenges; and to ignite a research and policy dialogue around understudied global issues.
    Website: https://sites.duke.edu/gehe/
  • Global Mental Health*
    Contacts: Emily Cherenack / emily.cherenack@duke.edu // Elsa Friis / elsa.friis@duke.edu
    The Global Mental Health Working Group aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations that explore the ecological, social and cultural factors that impact the etiology and treatment of mental health around the world. Activities will include examining the current state of global mental health, as well as innovations in mental health care globally, such as new technologies. We strive to facilitate interdisciplinary conversation and engage the broader Duke community in a dialogue about global mental health.
  • Global Migration & Tuberculosis*
    Contacts: Brittney Sullivan / brittney.sullivan@duke.edu // Hanzhang Xu / hanzhang.xu@duke.edu
    The purpose of this project is to develop an interdisciplinary working team for networking topics related to global migration and tuberculosis (TB) in order to build future partnerships and collaborations. Additionally, we aim to assess how global migration affects the prevalence of tuberculosis. Our intended outcome is to write a collaborative manuscript on global migration patterns and TB prevalence.
    Website: https://www.facebook.com/migrationandtb/?skip_nax_wizard=true
  • Graduates Engineering & Researching Microbiomes (GERM)
    Billy Gerhard / william.gerhard@duke.edu
    This working group brings together students with a wide variety of academic backgrounds to examine complex microbial communities ("microbiomes"). This collective aims to incorporate students with many different areas of expertise, including engineering, biology, microbiology, bioinformatics, and computer programming, among others. Through monthly meetings with invited speakers and member presentation, this group strives to improve cross-departmental collaboration for microbiome research, while also providing a forum for Duke researchers to trouble-shoot obstacles and peer-review ongoing projects.
  • Humor & Politics
    Contact: Alex Oprea / alex.oprea@duke.edu // Michael Hawley / mch46@duke.edu
    Using literature from different cultures and time periods, as well as film, television and artistic material ranging from the intellectual and satirical to slapstick and even scatological, this group seeks to identify some of the enduring features of the relationship between humor and political life. Co-organized by graduate students from the Political Science Department and the Art History Department, our group counts among its members graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of fields, as well several professors. In addition to monthly meetings, the group also supports other programming around campus related to humor and politics, such as the recent Political Cartoon and Satire Festival.
  • Informed Choices for Equitable Development
    Contact: Nivedhitha Subramanian / nivedhitha.subramanian@duke.edu
    This working group will generate discussion around contemporary development research related directly to context-specific inequality; identify and evaluate the distributional impacts of development policy by making meaningful assessments of improvements to human well-being at the different socio-economic levels impacted by a policy change; and foster an environment for new research among students with a primary or peripheral research interest in inequality among specific populations of interest.
  • Navigating Race in Global Health Settings*
    Contacts: Kony Adewumi /  konyinsope.adewumi@duke.edu // Glenda Dieuveille / glenda.dieuveille@duke.edu
    The goal of this workshop is to expose students to some of the challenges they may face when working in global spaces impacted by race. We do not purport to have all the answers; however, we do want to provide a space where students can explore the intersection of international work and racial identity. These meetings will engage community dialogue in addition to functioning as workshops in which attendees can leave with a broader understanding of racial equity.
  • Neurosurgery in East Africa*
    Contact: Tony Fuller / anthony.fuller@duke.edu
    Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neuroscience (DGNN) was recently established within the Duke Department of Neurosurgery and DGHI. This working group was developed so that students would be able to work together to bring new and innovative ideas to DGNN and help in its mission of improving access to neurosurgical care in East Africa. With this in mind, our working group intends to explore how the current programs can be improved and which areas have yet to be explored in order to develop new ideas.
    Website: http://www.dukeglobalneurosurgery.com 
  • Ocean Policy
    Contacts: Hannah Blondin / hannah.blondin@duke.edu // Tali Brennan / taylor.brennan1@duke.edu
    The Ocean Policy Working Group is an interdisciplinary graduate and professional student working group at Duke University. The OPWG is working to facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations that explore the political, economic, scientific, and cultural dimensions of human interactions with the ocean. Our activities examine current issues involving the global oceans and the impact of these issues on marine policy and ocean governance. We strive to relate to an audience beyond those that directly study the coast. Some of the areas of discussion which the OPWG explores include ocean governance, coastal communities, human health & marine food supply, cultural connections to the coast, marine resources management, and environmental change.
    Websites: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/studentgroups/opwghttps://sites.duke.edu/opwg/publication/
  • The Politics of Water Provision
    Contact: Farah Hegazi / farah.hegazi@duke.edu
    From Mumbai to Tunis to Quito, protests over water provision or lack thereof seem to be garnering increased attention. While there has been much progress over the last 25 years in increasing access to such basic services, there remains room for improvement, including in countries that have achieved 100% access to improved water and sanitation, as on-the-ground disparities remain, manifested in informal water markets and protests. As such, the purpose of this working group is to bring together students and faculty from across Duke University to explore the political factors explaining inequalities in service provision in developing and developed countries.
    Web page: https://sites.duke.edu/powp/
  • Small-Scale Fisheries & Conservation
    Contacts: Dana Baker / dana.m.baker@duke.edu // Alejandro Lozano / alejandro.garcia.lozano@duke.edu // Hillary Smith / hillary.smith@duke.edu
    Small-scale fisheries throughout the world play an important role in human welfare by addressing poverty alleviation and food insecurity, and by sustaining local and national economies. The governance of small-scale fisheries often manifests in ways that reflect tensions between conservation, socio-political and economic factors. The purpose of this working group is to engage with diverse ways of studying small-scale fisheries and conservation, exploring topics such as gender, protected areas and other dominant conservation topics, and interactions with other natural resources. The working group will also serve as a way of bridging the geographic divide between the Duke Marine Lab and Main Campus and encouraging opportunities for inter-disciplinary collaboration, as well as connecting students to other organizations doing work on this subject. 
  • Transboundary Water Resources
    Contacts: Mahima Rao / mahima.rao@duke.edu // Sofia Fenton / sofia.tenorio.fenton@duke.edu
    Water is indispensable for the existence of life as we know it. As humanity has advanced, we have heavily altered water bodies in a race to meet the goals of “economic development”. These alterations to the natural flow of water have led to conflicts of varying degrees between upstream and downstream users. Our group focuses on understanding issues related to river basins that cross major political boundaries. We aim to create a multidisciplinary platform to discuss transboundary water resources and the hydrological, social, and economic interdependencies that they create among different regions.
  • Translation in Theory & Practice
    Joseph Mulligan / joseph.mulligan@duke.edu
    Translation in Theory and Practice is designed to provide scholars of diverse disciplines and tracks with a space in which translation issues directly related to their research can be presented, 'problematized' and reconsidered. In so doing, we intend to emphasize the multifaceted application of translation across a range of areas, languages, dialects, periods, and disciplines. At the same time we will identify and analyze some of the theoretical underpinnings that inform the way that translation actually happens in academic practice.

    * Co-sponsored by the Africa Initiative and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies