News in the departments

Keep up to date with the latest news and events from around the school and the wide-ranging projects our staff and students get involved with.

CREES Annual Report Highlights Vibrancy of the Centre

CREES Annual Report Highlights Vibrancy of the Centre
Description
The 2013-14 annual report for the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES) has just been published.
Date:
Friday 28th November 2014

Podcast: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: The Uses and Misuses of History

Podcast: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: The Uses and Misuses of History
Description
This round-table discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict which is one of the most complex and protracted ethno-territorial conflicts in the post-Soviet space. It focused on the role of historical narrative in the political discourse of all parties involved in the conflict. The round-table gathered together scholars and policy-makers with a lengthy empirical and political experience of this turbulent region.
Date:
Thursday 27th November 2014

Iran nuclear deal will come down to economic pressure

Iran nuclear deal will come down to economic pressure
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. Iran has failed to reach an agreement with six world powers about the future of its nuclear programme after talks. Talks in Vienna about the future of Iran's nuclear programme have failed for the time being. The countries involved have agreed to resume discussions in December with a view to reaching a political agreement by March 1 next year and a final deal by the end of June.
Date:
Thursday 27th November 2014

Course on corruption from the grassroots

Course on corruption from the grassroots
Description
DLP Research Fellow Dr Caryn Peiffer is lecturing at the ninth Afrobarometer / Centre for Social Science Research Summer School at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, which runs from 17 November - 12 December 2014.
Date:
Wednesday 26th November 2014

Podcast: Reflections On UK Africa Relations by Mark Simmonds MP

Podcast: Reflections On UK Africa Relations by Mark Simmonds MP
Description
This event entitled 'Reflections on UK Africa relations', covered Mark Simmonds time in office as well as his thoughts on the future of UK Africa relations in arenas including development, security and trade. The event was organised by the BISA Africa and International Studies Working Group, of which Dr Danielle Beswick is co-convenor, as part of a series of events around the UK during 2014 on 'Britain and Africa after 50.'
Date:
Wednesday 26th November 2014

Podcast: NATO after the Wales Summit

Podcast: NATO after the Wales Summit
Description
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, NATO's recent summit in Newport, Wales marked a seeming return to a traditional agenda of reassurance and deterrence. NATO has taken measures to shore up the defence of its eastern allies, but to what extent does the Alliance remain a useful tool of multilateral security cooperation in an era of defence austerity, cyber-attack and the collapse of order in Syria and Iraq? How important is NATO for American and British foreign policy? And what hope is their for a continuing dialogue with Russia? These issues were addressed by experts at this event.
Date:
Wednesday 26th November 2014

Parliamentary strengthening: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

Parliamentary strengthening: fix the car, or worry about the driver?
Description
In a guest post on Duncan Green's From Poverty to Power blog, DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal revisits the evidence on parliamentary strengthening that she and former colleague Tam O'Neill of ODI presented in mid-November 2014 to the UK's International Development Select Committee (IDC).
Date:
Monday 24th November 2014

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?
Description
Written by Dr Andrew Nickson. The terrible Ebola tragedy has spawned massive coverage in the world's media of Sierra Leone and Liberia – with harrowing images of victims, relatives, health workers, doctors, and aid agency staff. Yet one key 'stakeholder' in the fight against Ebola has been notably missing from this coverage – the government of both countries. Most of us would be hard pressed to name the presidents of either country* as they have been almost invisible, and the same goes for their respective health ministers.
Date:
Friday 21st November 2014

Tower Hamlets residents must be wondering why they bothered to vote

Tower Hamlets residents must be wondering why they bothered to vote
Description
Written by Chris Game. With a forced smile and through gritted teeth, Tower Hamlets' elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has announced himself willing to accept – and even "welcome" – the intervention package set out for his borough by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government.
Date:
Friday 21st November 2014

Blog: The PwC report on Tower Hamlets highlights fundamental tensions in local democracy, not always thought through clearly in new mayoral systems

Blog: The PwC report on Tower Hamlets highlights fundamental tensions in local democracy, not always thought through clearly in new mayoral systems
Description
Written by Michael Keith. Competent bureaucrats commonly believe they protect the public interest by delivering transparent decision making in public institutions. This is commendable. Politicians normally believe that they are elected to carry out the wishes of their voters. This is forgivable. But these imperatives rub against each other when politicians try reshaping things in an image they prefer and the bureaucrat wants to preserve an order they recognize. This is difficult.
Date:
Friday 21st November 2014

Blog: Pickles' Tower Hamlets takeover: a sad affair all round

Blog: Pickles' Tower Hamlets takeover: a sad affair all round
Description
Written by Chris Game. He kept Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, waiting until almost literally the 23rd hour of the 14th day of his two-week deadline. In the end, though, Tower Hamlets' elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, having last Friday lost his second, and ill-advised, application for a judicial review, was left with little choice.
Date:
Thursday 20th November 2014

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were injured has sparked new fears that fighting between Israel and Palestinian could flare up once more. The attack, by two Palestinians carrying meat cleavers and a gun, has the potential to kick off fresh religious confrontation and a third intifada.
Date:
Thursday 20th November 2014

IDD Guest seminar podcast: The Green State in Africa: Environmental politics, climate change and social movements

IDD Guest seminar podcast: The Green State in Africa: Environmental politics, climate change and social movements
Description
Speaker: Carl Death, University of Manchester.
Date:
Thursday 20th November 2014

Podcast: Russia and the West since 1991: a tale of growing distrust

Podcast: Russia and the West since 1991: a tale of growing distrust
Description
The high level of trust that had been constructed between western and Soviet leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not sustained when western leaders had to face an independent Russia, even though the new Russia began with every intention of transforming itself into a full participating member of the international institutions set up after 1945 to keep the peace. However, Russians – not just their government – had come to view international institutions with profound distrust as having deceived them in both the economic and diplomatic spheres.
Date:
Thursday 20th November 2014

Abe can win Japan's snap election but he needs to win big

Abe can win Japan's snap election but he needs to win big
Description
Written by Dr Julie Gilson. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to call a snap election for December 14 comes after what has been a rather bad week for him. Japan has slipped back into recession for the first time since 2012 and Abe has seen his popularity ratings drop below 50% for the first time.
Date:
Wednesday 19th November 2014

Czechs and Slovaks still search for truth and love, 25 years after the Velvet Revolution

Czechs and Slovaks still search for truth and love, 25 years after the Velvet Revolution
Description
Written by Dr Tim Haughton. At the top of Wencelas Square on the front of the Czech National Museum in Prague hangs a giant poster depicting the playwright dissident and former president Vaclav Havel. The poster has been hung, in part, to mark 25 years since the Velvet Revolution, or as it is known to Slovaks, the Gentle Revolution.
Date:
Monday 17th November 2014

Call for papers: DLP conference on the politics of inequality

Call for papers: DLP conference on the politics of inequality
Description
The 2015 Developmental Leadership Program Annual Conference will bring together the latest thinking on the politics of inequality.
Date:
Monday 17th November 2014

Deciphering Obama's letter to the Supreme Leader

Deciphering Obama's letter to the Supreme Leader
Description
Earlier this week, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama had sent a secret letter to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging him to accept the terms of a comprehensive agreement with the United States and other major world powers on the issue of Iran's nuclear programme.
Date:
Monday 17th November 2014

25 years after the Velvet Revolution, Czechs and Slovaks still search for truth and love

25 years after the Velvet Revolution, Czechs and Slovaks still search for truth and love
Description
Written by Dr Tim Haughton. It's now 25 years since the Velvet Revolution, or as it is known to Slovaks, the Gentle Revolution. At the time, Czechoslovak citizens congregated on the square to jangle their keys and express their support for change. They were ready to end communist rule and move towards democracy.
Date:
Monday 17th November 2014

Creating tomorrow's leading social scientists

Creating tomorrow's leading social scientists
Description
The Birmingham Doctoral Training Centre is one of only 21 across the UK to be accredited by the ESRC. It has 22 ESRC scholarships to fund doctoral research starting in 2015.
Date:
Monday 17th November 2014
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Recent blog posts

Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?

Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?
Description
Written by Anna Coleman and Julia Segar. A recent publication by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) looked at how local councils are preparing for the future and suggests depressingly that "there is simply no way that local government can reach 2018 let alone 2020 while still delivering the full range and quality of services currently on offer"(p6). Simply put, we have an ageing population, with associated increasing demand for care services and draconian cuts in council budgets.
Date:
12/12/2014

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure
Description
Written by Chris Game. I used, years ago, to have a whole Pol Sci 1 lecture about power and influence, their similarities and differences. By one of life's synchronicities, I've been reminded of it twice in the past week. Don't go – I'm not about to disinter it, although I will share the six-word summary that I could, if really pushed, get it down to: Power's a tool, Influence a skill.
Date:
05/12/2014

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?
Description
Written by Chris Game. Rom com/date movies aren't really my thing, so my excuse for watching the recent Words and Pictures was that I was a captive plane passenger – and that the ever-watchable Juliette Binoche was playing a rheumatoid arthritic abstract painter and prep school art teacher. The title refers to the silly challenge she charily accepts from alcoholic poet turned plagiarising English teacher, Clive Owen, to 'prove' whether Words or Pictures are more meaningful.
Date:
01/12/2014

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?
Description
Written by Dr Andrew Nickson. The terrible Ebola tragedy has spawned massive coverage in the world's media of Sierra Leone and Liberia – with harrowing images of victims, relatives, health workers, doctors, and aid agency staff. Yet one key 'stakeholder' in the fight against Ebola has been notably missing from this coverage – the government of both countries. Most of us would be hard pressed to name the presidents of either country* as they have been almost invisible, and the same goes for their respective health ministers.
Date:
21/11/2014