Prof. Julia Gray’s summer 2018 internship team worked to synthesize, organize and log the various activities that International Organizations (IOs) are responsible for.
From a pre-arranged list of trade agreements, trade organizations, economic/monetary unions, and customs unions (e.g., NAFTA, the EU, Mercosur), each student was assigned one particular organization at a time for which to create a “timeline” of events in Microsoft Word. Once we created these timelines, we took smaller pieces of information regarding various aspects of the operations of International Organizations and inserted them into spreadsheets organized by subject matter. Details about the meetings that the IO held (like location, subject of discussion, officials present) were logged in one sheet of each IO’s respective Microsoft Excel file, while details about the activities accomplished by the IO during a given year (like political cooperation, increases in trade, and relations with other organizations) were logged in another. A student’s work on a given IO is completed once the spreadsheets have been filled with reference to all meetings and activities held through the present.
Ultimately, these data are collected for the sake of creating regressions and other telling statistics that indicate the efficiency and lasting-power of International Organizations. Practically, our research hopes to shed light on the practices and institutions that characterize well-functioning IOs.
As an International Relations major and an advocate for diplomacy, studying effective operations in International Organizations is of utmost importance. Using realism in our analysis of IO output has offered me a sobering perspective about the trustworthiness of the claims that politicians, economists and IO representatives make, which has only encouraged me in my efforts to learn about economic policies. What’s more, the experience of researching alongside other students has taught me the value of collaboration on large-scale projects.
Holding the member states under the umbrellas that are IOs to high standards regarding the honesty of their claims as well as the realization of their goals achieves a global patchwork of functioning IOs, which contributes to an international order of integrity, which is ultimately beneficial to all.