Sunday, March 27, 2016

Visit to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Last week I was invited to guest lecture on human trafficking in a Global Humanitarianism class at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The students will be going to Cambodia at the end of the semester and partnering with a local anti-trafficking NGO. Consequently, I was asked to come and teach the students about human trafficking. For the final project the students also have to design their own humanitarian campaign and so I jumped at the chance to bring a huge box of anti-trafficking campaign materials that I have been collecting over the years from different countries around the world to share with the students. I enjoyed meeting with the students and faculty at UTC and hearing about their experiences and research. I also was able to give a research talk on my book project as part of Women's History Month and I found this flyer posted around campus during my visit!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

International Studies Association Conference

The International Studies Association (ISA) Conference was in Atlanta this year and so I thought I would submit a paper since the conference required no travel. ISA is a really International Relations (IR) based conference so I was thinking that I might not be interested in any panels but thankfully there were a number of panels on human trafficking, gender based violence, and the war in Ukraine. In fact, I think there were more panels on Ukraine than on any topic regarding Russia! I presented a forthcoming paper "The Role of Anti-trafficking Organizations in Human Trafficking Policy Implementation" on a panel titled "Business, Activists, Governments, and the Fight against Human Trafficking and Forced Labour: A New Era?" and it was great to meet a number of other scholars researching this issue from an IR perspective. I also enjoyed the moment when my mentee from the University of Kansas called out a panel on Geopolitics and Ukraine for not having any Ukrainian experts or perspectives. I have called it #Ukrainesplaining when experts on Russia think they know something about Ukraine and make stupid comments like Ukrainian and Russian are basically the same language at academic conferences!
A picture of the panel "Russia, Ukraine and the West: The Resurgence of Geopolitics"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Human Trafficking: Lifting the Veil on Modern-Day Slavery Panel at ACIR

A few months ago I was asked to moderate a panel titled "Human Trafficking: Lifting the Veil on Modern-Day Slavery" for the Atlanta Council on International Relations that included Susan Coppedge the Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State and Camila Wright the Human Trafficking Prosecutor, Georgia Office of the Attorney General. The panel took place today and the whole event was such a great opportunity that I kept pinching myself because I did not really believe it was real.

Here I am giving some introductory remarks on human trafficking and the scope of the crime around the world and in Georgia. Then I followed that up with some overarching themes from both speakers and finally a call to action to the participants and the Georgia Cares 24 hour hotline 1-844-8GA-DMST. I was able to meet so many different people and see a number of familiar faces from the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force.

This is me speaking to Blegina Agolli from the Albanian Ministry of Justice.
This is me and Ambassador Coppedge who invited to the unveiling of the 2016 Trafficking In Persons Report this summer while I am in DC which is basically equivalent to the NFL draft for anti-trafficking researchers like me!
The view of downtown Atlanta from the venue at the City Club of Buckhead.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Anti-Trafficking Institutions in Human Trafficking Policymaking

Currently, I am taking a class about online teaching through our Center for Instructional Development at Clayton State. I have learned a lot about teaching such as establishing course objectives and aligning them with substantive items that actually achieve that objective. While this is basic stuff for K-12 teachers we really do not receive a lot of this kind of training in higher education. Since I work at a teaching institution it has been great to learn about ways to improve my teaching through online technology. Our assignment this week was to make an infographic to give students another way to learn the material. Since most of the complex material for American Government already has infographics I decided to make one to display my own research. I am working on a paper looking more at the role of anti-trafficking institutions  in human trafficking policymaking and here is an infographic that displays my findings!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Summer in Washington DC!

I found out recently that I will be spending the summer in Washington DC at the Kennan Institute part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. I received a Title VIII Summer Research Fellowship to work on my book tentatively titled Beyond the Natasha Effect: Determinants of Human Trafficking Policy Variation in the Post-Soviet Region. Looking forward to writing my book while also attending/visiting interesting lectures, museums, and monuments!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

2016 Frank Church Symposium

I was invited to present at the 2016 Frank Church Symposium at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho this week. The symposium was sponsored by the Idaho State University International Affairs Council (IAC), and it was completely student run and organized. It was one of the best symposiums I have ever attended as the delegates were treated so well by the students with fabulous food and stimulating conversation throughout the three day event. It was also great to see so many community members show interest in the event and I met many local Rotarians who were so nice and excited to hear about my experience as an Ambassadorial Scholar in Ukraine. I gave two talks at the symposium. The first was titled "Gendered Consequences of War and Peacemaking" and highlighted women's evolving role in conflict and some of the gender based violence outcomes of conflicts around the world. Here is another photo from the panel.

The second day I gave a presentation titled "Responsiveness to Forced Migration: Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons." This presentation was on a wider panel about refugees and displaced people around the world and all of the presentations melded well together. I really enjoyed visiting Pocatello and seeing some of my graduate school friends who were also presenting at the symposium or teach in Idaho.