International Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

Microfinance in Nepal: Same same, but different

Date created: 
2011-08-23
Abstract: 

The introduction of Grameen model microfinance in Nepal was a neoliberal strategy that employed the perceived efficiency of women to distribute credit to rural households. Microfinance mitigated state-directed rural development finance outreach failures of subsidized credit capture by elites and use of funds for political patronage. Yet the very poor in Nepal are still not reached by microfinance. Nepal retained targeted lending through the Deprived Sector Lending Program, resulting in excess liquidity and low efficiency in microfinance institutions. The number of microfinance institutions has grown exponentially, yet microfinance still does not reach the remote hills and mountain areas. Dalits, the poorest caste group, are negligibly included in microfinance cooperatives. Women have gained valued access to credit through microfinance, but research about empowerment is inconclusive. Greater transparency and increased assessment of microfinance institutions, including social performance measurement, is required. There is no systematic research showing that microfinance in Nepal reduces poverty.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alvaro Santos Pereira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Japan's environmental impact in Southeast Asia: Lessons for sustainable development

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-24
Abstract: 

Japan imported substantial amounts of tropical timber in the post-World War II period and the environmental impact of this on the rainforests in Southeast Asia has generated considerable controversy. This paper seeks to explore the environmental impact of Japan’s involvement in Southeast Asia with particular regards to forestry and examine whether Japan can play a positive role in promoting sustainable development in Southeast Asia, especially in countries where major deforestation has taken place. Environmental impact of economic development has gained considerable attention especially since 1970s and sustainable development became crucial to consider. As a significant ODA provider and a consumer of imported forest products, Japan has an important role in supporting sustainable forestry in Southeast Asian countries and helping overall sustainable development in the region.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Immigration and insurance in British Columbia: a cross-disciplinary exploration

Date created: 
2011-08-17
Abstract: 

This research project explores the relationship between immigration and the insurance industry in British Columbia. It does so in the context of increasing ethnic diversity and challenges to industry. The project takes a cross-disciplinary approach, incorporating findings in cross-cultural studies, cultural anthropology, and cross cultural marketing. The results show that the influence of ethnicity and culture of origin transcends generations. It also suggests greater similarity in values between Asian and European source countries and highlights the significance of smaller cultural groups within an overall ethnic group. Based on these findings, industry is encouraged to proactively anticipate the needs of immigrant populations based on function, while recognizing the distinctiveness of subgroups based on generation and country of origin.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alvaro Pereira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Leadership Special Arrangements Cohort
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Female soldiers and post-conflict reconstruction: towards an evidence-based approach for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-11
Abstract: 

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programmes are a central pillar of post-conflict interventions. These interventions are designed with the intention of helping soldiers in their transition from war to peace. With females now participating in large numbers in conflicts around the world, it is essential to critically analyze their roles in conflict as well as their experiences in subsequent DDR programmes in order to ensure programme effectiveness.This paper explores the various roles of women in African warfare and their experiences with DDR programmes. We will provide a critical assessment of previous programmes to understand whether DDR has effectively been facilitating post-conflict reintegration and whether or not women and men experience DDR programmes differently. As women continue to play important roles in African conflicts and the challenges facing peace and development practitioners are only likely to grow, now is the time to take the necessary steps to improve current practice.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Mack
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The role of technology and social media in strengthening resistance movements: A comparative analysis of the revolutions inIran and Egypt, 2009-2011

Abstract: 

This paper examines the impact of technology on the democratic uprisings in Iran in mid 2009 and in Egypt in early 2011. This paper argues that the lower level of online censorship in Egypt facilitated the success of Egypt’s opposition movement, whereas the more extreme digital barriers in Iran led to the failure of Iran’s protest group. Three major elements of each uprising will be analyzed and contrasted – the motivations behind each movement, the formation of mass protests and the regime response, and technological trigger points during the protests that had tremendous impacts on the outcome of each uprising. Future research concerning the relationship between technology and democratization should focus on the specific technological tools used by protestors and the level of preexisting freedoms in each country. While technological innovation is not the sole necessity for fighting corrupt and repressive regimes, it certainly aids those seeking to enact change.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Jackson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Immigration of skilled workers to Canada: The under-utilized potential

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-24
Abstract: 

The immigration policy of Canada has been very effective in attracting highly skilled immigrants, resulting in an increase in educational attainment levels of successive entering immigrant cohorts. However, due to lack of recognition of foreign credentials and work experience, the utilization of the immigrants’ skills remains below its potential. This results in a substantial number of highly skilled immigrants working in occupations that are completely unrelated to their previous education and training. Even when skilled immigrants are able to get their credentials and work experience recognized, they face a wage penalty compared to similarly qualified native-born workers. This differential in the relative earnings of immigrants reflects the discounted market value of credentials and experience gained abroad by immigrants. The lower market value of skills earned abroad is explained by differences in education quality of immigrants depending on where they received their highest degree.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alvaro Pereira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Framing the poor: population, elite interests, and the persistence of population control in India

Date created: 
2011-08-08
Abstract: 

The paper examines why, despite a rhetorical shift towards a developmental approach to population issues in India, Malthusian ideology continues to dominate and influence the often heavy-handed efforts of the state to control population growth – largely among vulnerable social groups. An examination of Indian population policies, program implementation, and the population debate represented in the mainstream print media demonstrates that Neo-Malthusian population control measures in India are supported by influential external organizations and elites in India as a way to advance their own sectional interests. Malthusian arguments in India exploit or contribute to the deepening of long-standing social and religious divides. Though often using the language of development, population programs shaped by Malthusian ideology have harmed poor Indians – especially women – by directly abusing them and by diverting resources from initiatives for broad socio-economic improvement that would promote positive demographic change without coercion.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Training the dragon: transnational higher education in Vietnam

Date created: 
2011-08-08
Abstract: 

To improve the quality of life for its citizens, Vietnam adopted market principles and created a socialist-oriented market economy. This transition has been largely successful. Rapid economic development and small-scale private enterprise have improved livelihoods, but a weak higher education system has not produced sufficiently skilled professionals. In response, Vietnam has incorporated transnational education into its higher educational system. Transnational education supplements Vietnam’s existing higher education system. It helps create an educated workforce, and enhances knowledge exchange and capacity building within and between educational institutions. But globalization, the commodification of education, and the impact these are having on Vietnam’s social and political structures create a tension in Vietnamese policy making and planning for higher education. How well Vietnam responds to this tension will be central to its aspirations for economic progress, an educated society, the social welfare of its citizens and a quality system of higher education.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Gendered expenditure decisions: evidence from Kenya

Date created: 
2011-04-19
Abstract: 

This paper examines the status of women in Kenyan households. It finds that low-income women, particularly those in rural areas, have limited household bargaining power and freedom to make independent decisions. This is significantly linked to the substantial barriers to female land ownership. Women are insufficiently compensated for their labour on male-owned farms, and face limited non-farm income-earning opportunities. Women’s disempowerment in the household may have negative implications for family welfare. Agricultural revenues accrued directly to men are frequently used for personal expenditure rather than family needs. Furthermore, an econometric analysis of personal expenditure presented in this paper reveals that children are not treated equally in households where women have little or no bargaining power. It is recommended that Kenya pursue land reform and take steps to improve women’s access to and control of income.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Morten Jerven
Dr. Alvaro Pereira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Deficits or assets? Problems or opportunities? An asset-based approach to facilitating locally-driven development initiatives.

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-14
Abstract: 

Critiques of past participatory development practices and attempts at trying to fix their many pitfalls have focused largely on methods. Yet practitioners have failed to engage in a more in-depth questioning of ideational standpoints or to consider development as an underlying processes. Such an analysis would illustrate that these problems are largely systemic and lie in the ideological and institutional interests of the approaches and the organizations employing them. More in-depth and paradigmatic critiques would also show that current practices of PD are failing as a result of their focus on imminent development. Exploration of alternative and innovative approaches that may make up for the pitfalls of past approaches is necessary for a more in-depth notion of the necessary conditions and elements for more thoroughgoing participation and development that is authentically community-driven. An asset-based approach shifts from a conventional problems-focus to an asset-focus, mobilizes communities to recognize their own agency and capacities, and provides assistance in forming linkages to outside associations that may be utilized for a community’s development efforts. These unique interests, ideology, and practices designate an asset-based approach as a plausible alternative that can compensate for the shortcomings of past approaches to participatory development.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Jeffrey T. Checkel
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.