Global Reach

Tempers flared in the United Nations Security Council. Soldiers had attacked a refugee camp in South Sudan, killing 22 people, including six aid workers. Germany demanded government protection for refugee camps, but Russia blocked the action, insisting on a quid pro quo: no action on South Somalia unless UN sanctions against Russia—imposed after the invasion of Crimea—were lifted.

Frustrations soared. Efforts to pass a compromise resolution failed, and aid programs were left as vulnerable as before the massacre.

But the setting was not UN Headquarters. And the raised voices belonged not to ambassadors but to UD students, taking Intro to Global Policy from Professor Alice Ba.

“I assign each student to one of the 15 Security Council member countries, then present them with a crisis,” Ba explains. “Students really get into it and take their roles seriously, which is great, but often there’s tension. Unfortunately, my conflicts are not fictional.”

Ba is no stranger to thorny conflicts. An East Asia specialist, she’s monitoring rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula—tensions complicated by China and the United States. “The U.S. and China have very different perspectives,” she notes. “But ultimately you have to deal with what North Korea wants—with the regime as it is.”

Ba’s pragmatic, global perspective, one she imparts to students, is shaped by years of Asia research. She’s currently finishing her second book, on contemporary politics in Southeast Asia.

But she never lets her scholarship shortchange her teaching. “We’re committed to students as well as research here. You don’t get that balance everywhere.”

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