Class of 2015
Senior Research Projects
The Chilean Student Movement: Fighting for Education Equality and Quality
Over the last few years, the student movement in the Republic of Chile has grown in strength and vigor to become one of the largest protest movements in the world. Thousands of students took to the streets to demand reform in the education system. The old system favored the elite class and failed to provide high quality education to the mass majority. In December of 2013, President Michelle Bachelet was re-elected with an ambitious “100 Days Plan,” which focused on fixing the education system from the Kindergarten level to the Tertiary level. This paper examines Bachelet’s Educational Reform–Reforma Educacional– to judge whether it will be effective in implementing a quality education throughout the country. If passed, this Reform bill will have large economic and social consequences.
Maria Isabel Léon Gómez
Drug Trafficking: A Major Threat for Development in Honduras
As official data indicates, Honduras has become the “battlefield” and “bridge state” for drug producers in South America and drug consumers in North America. This paper examines how violence generated by drug trafficking challenges economic development and increases poverty in Honduras. To properly address this issue, drug trafficking must be recognized as a global problem for which Honduras needs the cooperation of an international force. In addition, there are many internal problems that contribute to the increase of drug trafficking in Honduras. To deal with these problems, this paper recommends two policies: following community-based policing rather than the current military policing, and granting police officers incentives to increase effectiveness on the job and lower corruption crimes. There is no doubt Honduras faces many challenges with its antidrug fighting, but, with the right resources and policies, the country can reach for a better future.
Silenced Cries: Domestic Violence in Belize
This paper examines the situation of domestic violence within the Central American and Caribbean country of Belize. It identifies three important social factors that contribute to the high numbers of domestic violence cases: the country’s small size; lack of awareness; and women’s status as subordinates. Because of the shame and stigma associated with domestic violence, collecting data to support this research was challenging. Therefore,
personal accounts from victims as well as official reports were used whenever available. In addition to increasing resources and awareness, this paper recommends training small units of women to directly educate other women about the issue of domestic violence. The more women are aware of the specifics of this issue, the more they are likely to identify it as a problem and to become mindful of their options.
Combating Discrimination against the Roma: A Proposal for New Integration Policies in Italy
Along with many other countries in Europe, Italy has not been able to create policies to deal humanely with its gypsy populations. Currently, only a few NGOs, non-profits, and grass-roots movements exist to help the Roma integrate. The cycle of negative stereotyping, discrimination, and failed policy continues to heavily impact the socio-economic situation of the Roma and to reinforce the Italians’ preconceived notions. In order to effectively mend the tense Italo-Roma relationship, the vulnerabilities faced by the Roma need to be recognized. Integration programs should address the following fundamental elements: housing, education/work, and citizenship requirements. These critical elements of the Roma socio-economic situation are invariably interconnected, so once the aspect of housing (arguably the biggest challenge facing the Roma) is solved, the other factors may become more easily manageable. This paper argues that attending to the needs of the Roma will not only better their situation and open the door to fighting stereotypes and discrimination, but it will benefit the Italian economy as well.
Immigrants in France: Barriers, Benefits, and Battles
Discrimination against immigrants in modern France impedes their social mobility and disables their educational, financial, and social development. Due to root causes dating back to the Second World War, immigrants have struggled to overcome physical and figurative boundaries in French society. The French’s inability to properly address this issue has resulted in rampant racism. While several plans have been made to move forward in the elimination of racism, their implementation has not been successful. Based on recent research and data analysis, this paper recommends three policies: promoting multicultural awareness through education; investing in infrastructure improvements to connect immigrant communities to the cities; and using affirmative action to recognize rather than ignore bias. Through these policies, France, and Lyon specifically, will be able to finally improve immigrants’ social standing and quality of living.