2012 Student-Faculty Program: Linfield College

Mentor: Michael Patrick Cottrell, Political Science Department
Students: Morgan Christianson, ’13, Bridget Grant,’13, Kole Kracaw, ’13, Leanne McCallum, ’13, William McHenry, ’13

“Governing the Stateless: New Perspectives on the Plight of Burmese Refugees in Thailand”

This joint project explores the governance challenges posed by Burmese refugees in Thailand. By examining this complex issue from the vantage point of a variety of stakeholders – the Royal Thai Government (RTG), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of the Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bali Process – it first aims to illuminate the divergent, at times contradictory, incentives that undermine cooperative efforts to solve the longstanding refugee crisis. It then draws from literature on experimental forms of governance to evaluate alternative pathways to overcome collective action problems that could have both theoretical and policy implications. While in Thailand, each student will undertake his/her research on an individual stakeholder working with Burmese refugee issues, and ultimately pool their analysis to identify similarities and differences among them and the major obstacles to governance and potential areas for enhanced cooperation.