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Meet the winners of the academic conference competition

IGCC awards more than $110,000 to support research on Mexico’s war on drugs and the impacts of civil war and forced migration this year

Sept. 17, 2019 | IGCC News

The UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) awarded two researchers in its first-ever academic conference competition to support conferences that will take place during the 2019-20 academic year.

Rafael Fernandez de Castro, Rafael Fernandez de Castro, professor and director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy was awarded for his project “Between War Making and Peace Building: Mexico’s War on Drugs Revisited (2007-2019).”

With the devastating human costs of Mexico’s war on drugs with more than 40,000 disappeared and 250,000 homicides, there is a tremendous need to reflect upon the challenges that anti-drug policies have had in addressing violence.

This conference brings together scholars, policymakers and civil society to discuss the feasibility of moving beyond a war on drugs, lessons from California in legalizing drugs and the limits and opportunities of a peace-building framework. It includes scholars who have worked with participatory methodologies as well as big data and machine learning methods in order to create cross-fertilization among perspectives.

Cecilia Mo, assistant professor of political science at UC Berkeley was awarded for her project “Human Security, Violence, and Trauma in the 21st Century: Psychological Response and Political Impacts of Civil War & Forced Migration.”

Studies on conflict in political science focus on the macro and micro causes of war, the effect of civil war on institutions and war’s interaction with forced migration. On occasion, this work also examines the effect of exposure to violence on political engagement and pro-social attitudes after war. Yet, studies on conflict largely omit psychological factors, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychosocial adjustment, despite a vast literature in other disciplines that demonstrates that the psychological effects of violence can have significant consequences on behavior.

Cecilia Mo

Mo and her colleagues have designed their conference to bring together thought leaders in the fields of conflict studies and trauma studies to address gaps in understanding on the effects of violence in conflict-affected communities, producing findings relevant to 21st-century global security.

The $60,454 and $49,973 awards, for Fernandez de Castro and Mo respectively, will support the planning and implementation of the conferences, with the goal of impacting research and policy. The IGCC Steering Committee, which is comprised of faculty representatives from all ten UC campuses, and the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, selected the proposals for the award.

Established in 1982, the IGCC’s mission is to address global challenges to peace and prosperity through academically rigorous, policy-relevant research, training, and outreach on international security, economic development and the environment.

Over the years, IGCC has committed significant resources to stimulate independent research through its fellowship and grants competitions. Grants to UC faculty and support for topical working groups have provided a start for promising research in new areas and led to larger multi-institution collaborations. IGCC has provided more than 600 dissertation fellowships to support UC graduate students and helped to shape their careers through mentoring and networking opportunities and student-focused conferences.

This was the first year of the Academic Conference Competition, which was open to full-time ladder rank UC faculty. For more information and to receive notifications regarding the 2020-2021 competition, sign up for the IGCC Newsletter.