Student Publications

20 Items

Analysis & Opinions

Kyrgyzstan in Crisis: A Geopolitical Juncture

Kyrgyzstan is currently at a critical geopolitical juncture in which it is forced to
confront its longstanding ties with Russia against a backdrop of internal and external
pressures towards autocracy. Once celebrated as the ‘island of democracy’ in Central
Asia, the small nation faces significant challenges in light of internal authoritarian
tendencies and external pressure following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in
February 2022. This report, therefore, examines the role of Kyrgyzstan within the
global democracy versus autocracy debate that has intensified in the past two years
and assesses President Japarov’s neutrality with regards to Russia’s invasion and
Bishkek’s shifting allegiances.

This report relies on a qualitative methodology that builds on field research conducted
in Kyrgyzstan in August 2023. As such, this report incorporates interviews with
Kyrgyz civil society organizations and other stakeholders working on issues
including, but not limited to, democratization, corruption, human rights, media, and
the rule of law. The report presents an in-depth analysis of the Russian influence with
regards to the Kyrgyz political system, civil society, and strategic relationship with
Moscow, underpinned by the historical context of Kyrgyz-Russian relations.

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Cybercrime Hotspots

| Aug. 24, 2021

This report assesses common features of organized cybercrime groups and the socioeconomic conditions that influence cybercrime networks in specific countries. It seeks to provide a preliminary picture of how organized cybercrime groups operate and evolve and the conditions that likely allow them to thrive in particular locations using the case studies of Nigeria, India, and Mexico.

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Role of Energy Storage in Reducing Building Emissions: New York City’s Local Law 97

  • Rees Sweeney-Taylor
| July 14, 2021

The New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act in April of 2019, charting a path forward to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This report is designed to support the Department of Buildings as it seeks to appropriately value the avoided emissions from energy storage and encourage its deployment, helping to achieve the goals set forth in the Climate Mobilization Act and securing a renewable, reliable, and inexpensive energy future for New Yorkers.

A detail of the U.S. State Department flag.

U.S. State Department

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the U.S. Ambassador Corps

  • Abigail Horgan
  • Nicholas Sung
| July 07, 2021

The U.S. Department of State does not advance and protect U.S. national interests to its full potential without a diverse, equitable, and inclusive ambassador corps. This report specifically focuses on policy recommendations for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the U.S. Department of State’s ambassador corps.

A transatlantic telephone cable is brought ashore at Clarenville, Newfoundland, for the final splice on March 8, 1957. In the background is the British naval vessel Monarch, the world’s largest cable layer, which has worked through two summers laying nearly 4,000 miles of cable to complete the two-way system between Newfoundland and Scotland.

AP Photo, File

Paper - Cyber Project

Data Sharing Between the United States and the European Union

  • Madalina Murariu
| July 2021

The implications of the Schrems II decision have substantial short and long-term repercussions. This paper will seek to briefly explain the history of the Schrems cases, then outline the options available to decision makers seeking to enable transatlantic cooperation. The paper will also argue that short-term solutions such as the ones leveraged up till now will increasingly be unfeasible, and therefore present four proposals for consideration on how a revived data transfer ecosystem could be shaped through national and international tools and mechanisms.

A map illustration with various borders

Adobe Stock

Paper - Cyber Project

Sovereignty and Data Localization

  • Emily Wu
| July 2021

Unfortunately, data localization policies are causing more harm than good. They are ineffective at improving security, do little to simplify the regulatory landscape, and are causing economic harms to the markets where they are imposed. In order to move away from these policies, the fear of sovereignty dilution must be addressed by alternative means. This will be achieved most effectively by focusing on both technical concerns and value concerns. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech about German government's policies to combat the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease at the parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Policy Brief

What We Can Learn From the Wonder Women of COVID-19

| November 2020

The one good news story of 2020 seems to have been the rise of female leadership. In April, a Washington Post headline declared that female leaders were “hailed as voices of reason amid the coronavirus chaos.” High-profile figures like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen emerged as perfect foils to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Since then, our research confirmed that male-led countries had 1.9 times more COVID-19 deaths per million than their female counterparts during the first five months after outbreak or roughly the first wave of coronavirus. However, despite the appealing headlines, our research also found that there is a catch: female leaders did not perform better because of their sex, but rather because of their leadership skills.

We tested four popular theories commentators put forward to explain the coronavirus gender gap. Were female leaders more likely to: involve experts in decisions, show empathy, communicate instructions clearly, or take early action to avoid loss of life? 

A woman rows a makeshift raft near her partially submerged house in Gagolmari village, Morigaon district, Assam, India, Tuesday, July 14, 2020.


Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Increasing Access to Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems: Promoting Climate Change Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region

| August 2020

More than one billion residents of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region will be at risk of exposure to increased frequency and intensity of natural hazards due to climate change and land-use changes. We recommend that HKH stakeholders work towards regional approaches to a coordinated multi-hazard early warning system.