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Welcome from the Head of Department Louise Fawcett

Once again, I am delighted to greet you from the latest edition of Inspires. As always, the magazine intends to give you a taste of the latest thinking and research in the Department, along with updates from among your fellow alumni. But before you dive into the articles, let me share some highlights from the past year.

We have had many achievements to celebrate. The University of Oxford was again ranked first in the UK in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rankings for Politics and International Studies, marking our fourth consecutive year in the top spot. It’s always wonderful to see our Department placed so highly in these rankings. I’m sure you’ll also join me in congratulating Ben Ansell, who was elected as Fellow of the British Academy, and Rana Mitter, who has been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education.

Rana’s well-deserved recognition comes on the heels of a significant Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to investigate China's role in postwar Asia, and we spoke to him about both achievements for Inspires. Ezequiel González Ocantos has also been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize to continue his research to understand the impact of international human rights law on domestic judicial politics.

The Department has been particularly successful in securing significant funding for exciting research projects. Richard Caplan and colleagues have been awarded a large grant by the ESRC to investigate what happens to countries after UN peacekeeping missions leave. This follows on from his earlier research and recent book on Measuring Peace, which he discusses in his article for Inspires. Raphaël Lefèvre has been awarded a grant by the ESRC to consider the interplay of criminal organisations and terrorist activity in Tripoli, Lebanon. Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is part of DFID-funded research examining money laundering, and Jan Zielonka and Kalypso Nicolaidis join colleagues on a large research consortium considering the increasingly differentiated European political order, coordinated by the University of Oslo.

Through the uncertainty of Brexit, we continue to foster our relationships within and beyond Europe. The OxPo programme facilitates exchanges for both staff and students between the University of Oxford and Sciences Po, and we are keen to continue our engagement in the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership (OX|BER). Annette Idler won an OX|BER partnership seed-fund bid to expand her work on justice, peace and politics in Colombia in collaboration with Sérgio Costa at the Freie Universität Berlin.

We also continue to study Brexit, from a variety of viewpoints. Kalypso Nicolaïdis has published a thought-provoking book on the three meanings of Brexit, through an innovative crowdfunding model. It goes without saying that Brexit is having and will continue to have wide-reaching consequences. For example, although the power that the British Government holds over Parliament has been weakening for some time, this process has arguably accelerated through Brexit. You’ll read more about this in an article by Radoslaw Zubek and Tom Fleming, who is just about to finish his DPhil in Politics. Institutional dynamics are also in flux in the United States, as Des King observes in his piece on the new politics of the Federal Reserve.

We have been fortunate to welcome fantastic new staff to the department, including Jane Green, Professor of Political Science and British Politics, who co-directs the British Election Study (BES) at a very turbulent time in British politics. Some familiar faces have taken up new roles. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen has become the Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, for example. Sudhir Hazareesingh has been spending time in the archives to learn more about Toussaint Louverture, the Haitian revolutionary. We’re all looking forward to the resultant book Black Spartacus, though it will be an impatient wait until 2020.

In June, we welcomed the Rt Hon David Miliband to deliver the 9th annual Oxford Fulbright Distinguished Lecture in International Relations, discussing “The New "Arrogance of Power": Global Politics in an Age of Impunity”, which you can watch below:

Perhaps a little more civility could help us in this new age - Teresa Bejan asked “Is Civility a Sham?” in a TEDxSalon talk, and her argument (that it is certainly not a sham) has now been viewed more than 1.4 million times.

Our students also continue to achieve and exceed the highest of standards. Anette Stimmer and Patrick Quinton-Brown have both co-edited special issues in International Affairs, on the dynamics of dissent and the state of world politics 100 years after the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, respectively. Ishrat Hossain, who is studying her DPhil on a Commonwealth Scholarship, presented her research on transnational dynamics of violence on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to HRH The Duchess of Sussex. The Political Studies Association has recognised two of our recent DPhil graduates: Katerina Tertytchnaya, who won the Arthur McDougall Prize for best dissertation in the field of elections, electoral systems and representation, and Nina Yancy, who won the Elizabeth Wiskemann Prize for best dissertation in the field of inequality and social justice.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank all the generous alumni who have donated in kind and in funds to support our students, our research and other activities. Your support is invaluable. The Department continues to be committed to supporting our students and every year we provide additional scholarships and fund matching where we can. Widening access to all University courses remains a challenge that we want to tackle, and we hope that two new University-wide programmes – Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford – will help increase significantly the number of most promising students from groups who are currently under-represented in Oxford.

It was a pleasure to see many of you at the Alumni Weekend last September, and in Toronto this year as part of the International Studies Association Conference. We hope to see you again over the coming academic year, but if you can’t make it to Oxford or to an alumni event abroad, do keep in touch in other ways – you can find the latest news and research on our website and social media channels.

With my very best wishes, I hope you enjoy the 2019 edition of Inspires.

Louise Fawcett is Head of Department, DPIR, Professor of International Relations, and Wilfrid Knapp Fellow and Tutor in Politics, St Catherine's College

Credits:

Image Credits: 1 - Susan Taylor; 2-3 - Keiko Ikeuchi; 4 - DPIR; 5-8 - Shutterstock; 9 - Valentina Ippolito; 10 - The Association of Commonwealth Universities; 11 - Susan Taylor; 12 - tucaiuly.

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