Monday, January 28, 2019

URSP Student Donna Imadi Studies the Geopolitical Interdependency between Russian Actions in Influencing the Syrian and Ukranian Conflict

Hello! My name is Donna Imadi, I’m a double major in Global Affairs (concentration in Global Governance) and International Conflict Analysis and Resolution. This semester, I have spent my time studying the geopolitical interdependency between Russian actions in influencing the Syrian and Ukrainian Conflict, and the U.S response to these major international security challenges. My research aims to explore foreign policy options in resolving two of the world’s most perplexing conflicts that have come to represent massive challenges to international law and security, in their paving a new frontier into hybrid warfare.
My interest in this topic heightened after working at the U.S State Department these last two summers on foreign policy issues, and after returning from a research trip to Ukraine this Summer 2018 with the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. As a result of my broadening perspectives through researching the policy solutions to address emerging sociological and psychological warfare strategies on my trip, I was inspired to utilize my networks in the practitioner realm to conduct in-depth research on pressing political, security, and social issues reflected in the two major global challenges to peace facing the UN Security Council today: the stalemate conflict in Ukraine and Syria. Further, I yearned to find a method to connect my practical “practitioner” experiences to my academic studies—wanting to challenge the gap between theory and practice in the realm of foreign affairs.
On a weekly basis, I read vast arrays of literature on current affairs about the dynamics unfolding in Ukraine and Syria in both energy, military, and political developments. By the end of my term, I am working toward conducting a set of 1-1 interviews with practitioners from U.S govt officials to thinktank academics, in creating the first analysis from a practitioner view point on how policy should be formulated to respond to the international crises within both Ukraine and Syria, while balancing Russian interests.

This semester, I have valued my interdisciplinary approach to research: assessing military, energy, financial, political, and environmental drivers of the current state of affairs. It has vested in me a true appreciation for all disciplines and recognition of how each specialty has immense value in and of itself—but furthermore, demonstrated to me how much stronger policy formulation can be if one brings various academic disciplines within collaboration of each other. Connecting broad concepts and ideas to formulate creative and innovative solutions to complex social problems is at the core of my research. I am thankful for the opportunity that the OSCAR office has granted students in conducting original research on nuanced topics in interdisciplinary fields, such as my own!