Skip to content

Now Accepting Submissions for the 2018 Edition!

Hemispheres, The Tufts Undergraduate Journal of International Affairs, one of the oldest undergraduate journals in the field, is now accepting submissions relating to this year’s theme of Dynamic Identities. Submissions should be research articles, approx. 5000-8000 words, written by undergraduates in a broad range of fields relevant to international affairs. To view paper requirements and guidelines, please visit our submissions page. To submit a paper, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact

Submission Deadline: December 31st, 2017.

We welcome and encourage a broad interpretation of the theme. Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to:

Nationalism, Rise of Populism, Citizenship, Global Markets, Information Wars, Paradigm Shifts, Globalization and the Media, Global Electorates, Cultural Imperialism, Language Politics, Falling Actors, Colonial Legacy, Regionalism, Power of the Individual.

Hemis Solicitations Poster (2)


Editorial: Austria’s New Leader Came to Power on Anti-Refugee Sentiment    

The 31 one-year old campaigned on closing Austria’s Borders and implementing other Far Right policies.

Author: Ashrita Rau

On Sunday October 15th, Austria elected 31 year old Sebastian Kurz to be its next chancellor. Kurz, who was appointed Foreign Minister of the country at age 27 (becoming the youngest person to ever hold the position) ran his campaign on a platform that advocated for the closing of Austria’s Borders. Kurz and his followers believe that the 90,000 refugees that arrived in Austria during the past two years have stolen social benefits that should have been given to Austrians, and his anti-refugee sentiment continues to gather increasing support.

The refugee crisis has caused problems in Austrian politics. In May of 2016, Chancellor Werner Faymann resigned suddenly due to tensions created by his refugee policies. At first a supporter of opening borders to refugees, Faymann changed positions after receiving criticisms from the right. However, his establishment of border fences and promise to crack down on refugees failed to do enough to please right-wing politicians and caused Faymann’s own party to view him as a turncoat, consequently prompting his resignation.

Kurz takes an even more hardline stance on refugees. During his term as Foreign Minister, he advocated for closing the Balkan route for refugees, pushed for a ban on burqas, and supported the idea that “immigrants should receive less state support for their children than native-born Austrians.” His campaign is infused with anti-Islamic sentiment, and many of its’ views echo that of the far-right Freedom Party, which was founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s.

The campaign that Kurz ran has been compared to that of Emmanuel Macron, who managed to win the presidency in France with the new political party En Marche! In contrast to Macron, however, Kurz did not create his own political party—he revamped an already existing party (The People’s Party) and branded it around himself just as much as around anti-migrant ideas. The new name of his political party is “The Sebastian Kurz list—the New People’s Party.”

Apparently a charismatic personality, Kurz found success by centering the political party around himself. 42% of the people who voted for the New People’s Party did so because of Kurz, as compared to only 7% of Freedom Party voters who voted for the party because of its’ leader (Stache) and 20% of Social Democrats who voted for their party because of Chancellor Christian Kern.

Kurz is a sign that the apparent rejections of far-right thinking demonstrated by the election of Macron over National Front leader Marine LePen and the failure of Geert Wilders to win the presidential election in the Netherlands may have been abnormalities. By using the refugee-crisis, far-right politicians are continuing to gain traction in Europe. The question now is whether or not Kurz will align with the Freedom Party or reject ideas of the Extreme Right and stick to a more centralist political agenda.







Editorial: You Can’t Buy Peace: The US’s Flawed Foreign Aid Strategy in Afghanistan         

(Editor’s Note: This article kicks off our 2017-2018 online editorial submissions! Feel free to submit by emailing

Author: Doug Berger

Despite more than 100 billion dollars in international aid, mostly from the US, and the sacrifice of thousands of NATO soldiers, Afghanistan remains on the brink. The Taliban controls the largest share of the country since the US-led coalition toppled its regime in 2001—the Afghan Government controls less than two-thirds. Afghanistan’s GDP is increasing slower than its population and it ranked seventh to last in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index. How can this be?

Much of the blame lies with the United States’ flawed aid strategy. Rather than supporting development, we have attempted to buy peace. Aid is disproportionately distributed to the regions with the most conflict, leaving Bamiyan and Daikundi, the most secure provinces since 2001, the poorest and least developed. The instinct to try to “win hearts and minds” in areas with a strong Taliban presence is understandable, but it has had disastrous consequences.

More than 80% of aid has gone towards short-term projects designed to improve the local security situation, such as walls around schools, or repairs to local irrigation infrastructure. While these projects have certainly done some good, long-term economic development and institution building have been neglected. The result: When NATO troops began to pull out in 2011, economic growth plummeted from well over 10% to just 2% and the poverty rate increased from 36% to 39%.

Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that this aid has failed in its primary objective: demonstrating the benefits of supporting the Kabul government. An internal report produced by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) found that its “stabilization” program had the opposite of the desired effect. In Taliban controlled villages receiving aid, opinion of the Taliban, rather than the US or the Afghan Government, improved—villagers generally believed that the projects must have been approved by the local Taliban militia.

USAID had been justifiably reluctant to provide aid through the Afghan government, which suffers from widespread corruption. However, Afghanistan has consequently lacked the resources to combat that corruption and build local institutions. Until 2014, 90% of all aid was spent outside Kabul’s budget. Significant US aid was (and continues to be) funneled through international corporations and multiple layers of subcontractors. This has lead to inefficiency and higher overhead costs—in 2012 just 30 cents of every dollar USAID spent actually went to aid—half the norm for other aid groups like the World Bank. In 2014, the US pledged to provide 50% of aid directly to the Afghan government, but with the security situation deteriorating, the window to build a stronger Afghan state may have passed.

In a situation as complex and difficult as Afghanistan, no solution can work perfectly, and any improvements will be gradual. However, there are a number of ways the US can improve its aid strategy to encourage better outcomes. Rather than attempting to buy peace, aid should concentrate on long-term growth and institution building. This necessitates a shift in focus to more secure provinces—long-term investments won’t pay off under constant threat of violence. For humanitarian reasons, aid to war-torn areas certainly shouldn’t be cut off, but the emphasis must change.

Sustained economic development would help the Afghan government collect revenue and decrease its dependence on foreign aid. Surely the chief goal of aid must be to reduce its necessity in the future. To this end, the US should focus on improving Kabul’s revenue collection capability, which remains relatively low at 10.7% of GDP.

Finally, when providing aid outside the government, USAID should strive to democratize the process—avoiding the use of international corporations. Rather than imposing projects based on what we believe the population’s needs are, programs should leave decisions on what to build where up to the local population. When possible, locals should be given the resources to complete projects themselves. This buy-in would empower the local population and help improve perceptions of the US and Afghan government.

2017 Journal

We’re proud to present our 2017 Journal: The Global Commons! Please head over to the current issue section of our website to view it.

Democracy in Tunisia

Another excellent paper we received, “Islamists for Democracy: Explaining Ennahda’s Democratizing Role in Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution”  is from Shawn Patterson, a student at Tufts University studying International Relations.

This paper analyzes the success of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, especially in light of the failures of various other Arab Spring Revolutions to bring about democratic states, and can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink below.


The Failure of Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia

As a lead up to our journal publication in April Hemispheres will be featuring some of the excellent submissions for this year’s journal that we were not able to include.

This paper is by Jazil Waris, an undergraduate pursuing his A.B. in Government at Harvard University, and details the failure of nuclear deterrence to prevent conflict in South Asia.


Hemispheres 2016 Edition: Emerging Actors

Click Below To View!

Tufts Hemispheres 2016 – Emerging Actors