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2016 Highlights: Nelson Institute for Diplomacy & International Affairs-Undergraduate Conference on Global Affairs (April 8-9, 2016)

The purpose of the conference is to recognize and share high-quality undergraduate research related to international and global topics.

Activities included:

- a crisis simulation supervised by former U.S. Ambassador Ken Yalowitz and former White House Director of Global Engagement Brett Bruen,
- a dinner social featuring international appetizers,
- a keynote "National Security and Women's Insecurity" by Valerie Hudson, University of Texas A&M,
- panels featuring presentations of student research on global affairs (see below),
- a closing luncheonaddress by visiting Global Practitioner Peiqin Zhou, Nanjing University.

Panels: Problems and Cases in Political and Economic Development

  • Haley Barbour, “Societal Implications of Bare Branches: China and India”
  • Greg Gonzalez, “Mexican Economic Policies and the Underlying Forces of Corruption”
  • Cecilia Panella, “When the Statesman Surpasses the State: Gamal Abdel Nasser, Realism, Liberalism, and the Evolution of the Significance of Pan-Arab Sentiment, 1952-1970”

Issues in the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa

Facets of Globalization

The 2016 Best Presentation Award was given to Haley Barbour, Drake University.


2015 Conference Highlights:  April 10-11, 2015, activities included a group simulation in U.S. foreign policy facilitated by Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, a keynote address "Political Islam: What the West Can Learn from Its Own History" by noted scholar John Owen (bio:, student panels and a closing luncheon with Iowa Representative Zachary Nunn, formerly Director of Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council, White House.  Nunn's topic was "Inside the National Security Council."  

2015 Panels
External Intervention and Political Change:
Michelle Avrutin (George Washington University), “The EU and Ukraine: Possibilities for Accession”

Allison Smith (Beloit University), “International Actors in Ukraine’s Revolution to Democracy from 2004 to 2014”

Adam Smith (Drake University), “Children of the Caliphate: The Threat Posed by the Islamic State School System”

Corruption, Political Institutions and Civic Identity:
John Wingert (Drake University), “Corrupting Emerging Democracies: A Review of the Literature”

William Heaston (Drake University), “Agency and Inertia: Organizational Theoretic Perspectives on Procurement Corruption in the United Nations”

Nathan Leys (George Mason University), “Profitability Through Superior Firepower: Defense Industry Election Spending After Citizens United

Cecelia Panella (Drake University), “How Much Will This Arm Go for on the Black Market? An Expansion on Snowden and the Mass Production of the Modern Citizen”

Transnational Flows of People and Ideas:
Michael Hoyt (Drake University), “The Humanitarian Crisis of 2014: Realist and Constructivist Views of International Migration”

Taylor Donaldson (Drake University), “Sex Trafficking in the Balkans”

Madeline Geobel (Drake University), “From the Eyes of the Little Guys; Exploring Family Farming in Cameroon”

The 2015 Best Presentation Awards were given to Allison Smith, Beloit University, and William Heaston, Drake University.

Allison Smith, Nelson Institute best presenter 2015William Heaston, Nelson Institute best presenter 2015


2014 Conference Highlights:  The First Annual Nelson Institute Undergraduate Conference on Global Affairs was held on April 11-12, 2014 at Drake University.  The 2014 Friday Night Keynote speaker wasTodd Sechser, University of Virginia, on "Crisis Bargaining and Nuclear Blackmail:Should We Be Afraid of an Iranian Bomb?"

2014 Student Panel on Globalism, Nationalism and Identity‌

 2014 Best Presenter Awards

Emily Grant-Central College  Hannah Shell-Drake University

2014 Student Panel on International Political Economy

2014 Student Panel on Nation, Gender and Human Rights

2014 Saturday Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Jerry Gallucci, Diplomat-in-Residence, Former Foreign Service Officer and UN Peacekeeper, spoke on "U.S. Policy on Russia and Ukraine."