Blog Posts by Pardee RAND Students

  • U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore, June, 2019

    Engagement with North Korea: Small Steps May Matter More Than Big Ones

    The first summit between United States president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in June, 2018, produced some small, quick, and positive gains. From those hopeful beginnings, however, the two countries soon reached a stalemate. What can be expected from the second summit in February, 2019?

  • Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold a bilateral meeting in Singapore, November 14, 2018

    Vietnam's Defense Policy of 'No' Quietly Saves Room for 'Yes'

    Rising U.S.-China tensions over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea have pressured other states, particularly within Southeast Asia, to choose sides. Student Dung Huynh (cohort '16) says that Vietnam in the last few years has played a delicate balancing act.

  • A guide explains the interior of a home designed by students of Middlebury College competing in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, September 26, 2011

    Can Innovative Financing by the Public and Private Sectors Build on Momentum in Energy Efficiency Improvements for Affordable Multifamily Housing?

    Nearly one in three American households in 2015 reported difficulty paying their energy bills or sustaining adequate home heating and cooling. Student Lisa Jonsson (cohort '14) and Prof. Aimee Curtright find that emerging models of energy services and financing show promise and could identify creative ways to increase access to funding that could preserve and improve home affordability for millions of Americans.

  • Wargaming at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,  March 9, 2018

    Building a Pipeline of Wargaming Talent: A Two-Track Solution

    On issues ranging from potential conflicts with Russia to the future of transportation and logistics, writes student Ellie Bartels (cohort '15) writes, senior Department of Defense leaders have increasingly turned to wargames to imagine the future of war and make long-term investments to confront the challenges ahead.

  • Men sleep on a temporary shade built over a drain next to a slum on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2015

    Mitigating India's Climate-Change Misery

    Oct 11, 2018

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    Despite years of dire forecasts, the international community has been unable to halt the steady climb in global temperatures and, as student Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort '14) writes, it is the world's poorest who are paying the heaviest toll. As heat-related risks intensify, those living on the margins—in India and elsewhere—will need help to cope effectively.

  • Bird scooters outside a restaurant in Santa Monica, California, July 23, 2018

    A Better Way to Think About Scooters

    Unleashed in Santa Monica last September, Bird and its competitors are now in more than 30 American cities—and are being met with new regulations and increased law enforcement. Student Tim McDonald (cohort '16) and Prof. Rob Lempert write that, if officials rely only on 20th-century tools to integrate these 21st-century scooters into their cities, they will miss a big opportunity.

  • A desk with 3D printing technology on top

    Downloadable Guns and Other 3-D Printing Security Threats

    Americans may soon be able to legally access blueprints for 3D-printed guns. But the growing opposition to them shows that potential security threats do not have to be inevitable, write student Luke Irwin (cohort '16) and professors Troy Smith and Trevor Johnston. The security challenges inherent in 3D printing could be addressed, while the development of industry norms can still be shaped.

  • A man selling air coolers rests at a market on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India May 4, 2017

    Staying Cool—as the Globe Warms

    Apr 23, 2018

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    Studies suggest that the heat of the future will exceed human coping capacity. Student Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort '14) says that taking advantage of smart technology, inexpensive traditional methods that require little energy use, and innovative energy-efficient technologies could provide a sustainable path forward in heat-challenged regions.

  • Syrian-born mayor of the local Andravida-Kyllini municipality Nampil-iosif Morant meets Syrian refugees near the town of Myrsini southwest of Athens, Greece, August 13, 2016

    Europe's Great Challenge: Integrating Syrian Refugees

    Since March, 2011, close to 1 million Syrian refugees have requested asylum in European countries, with Germany being the primary destination. Students Mahlet Woldetsadik (cohort '13) and Gabriela Armenta ('15) say social and economic policies to deal with the refugee crisis will require collaborative planning, monitoring, and assessment efforts to be successful.

  • A young woman looks nervous in a job interview

    Bridging the Growing College Divide Among Young Americans

    Over the last decade, more Americans age 25 to 34 earned four-year college and graduate degrees, but the number of those without college degrees also increased. Student Diana Gehlhaus Carew (cohort '15) says new ways of communicating educational options and outcomes to young people are needed.

  • Girls exit ABAAD's Jina al-Dar bus in Lebanon

    Tackling Gender-Based Violence Among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

    Student Mahlet Woldetsadik (cohort '13) writes that increased poverty and major shifts in traditional gender roles for Syrian refugees have worsened interpersonal tensions, increased the risk of domestic violence, and caused challenges for aid workers.

  • A man walks through a field amidst smog in New Delhi, India, February 7, 2018.

    Can Dirty-Air Discontent in New Delhi Push India Toward Greener Days?

    Mar 22, 2018

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    The dirty downside to India's dramatic economic growth is New Delhi's horrific off-the-charts air pollution, writes student Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort '14). Public health officials comparing the harms of breathing in India's capital to smoking dozens of cigarettes a day. How bad must things get before Indians demand change and make it stick?

  • Wang Qishan walks past Zhang Dejiang, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2018

    One Belt, One Road, One Ruler: China Term Limits Ban Imperils Progress

    Mar 6, 2018

    Bill Gelfeld

    The abolition of presidential term limits in China represents a sea change in Communist Party politics and signals the consolidation of personalist rule by President Xi Jinping. Student Bill Gelfeld (cohort '14) explains that deviations from term limits are deleterious for good governance, political rights, and accountability.

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif (L) at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on September 8, 2017 in Beijing, China

    What Next for China-Pakistan Relations?

    Feb 26, 2018

    Derek Grossman , Keren Zhu

    The recent downgrade in U.S.-Pakistan relations will present both opportunities and challenges for China, writes student Keren Zhu (cohort '17). Beijing can use the recent strain to promote a new model of international development, but must be wary of becoming the sole external power responsible for maintaining stability in the region.

  • The Colorado Aqueduct near the Iron Mountain Pumping Plant in Earp, California, April 16, 2015

    How Federal Policy Could Help Water and Wastewater Utilities

    The federal government could address the root causes of infrastructure problems more effectively than just spending money with the hope that it might do some good, write student David Catt (cohort '16) and Prof. Debra Knopman. A better approach might be to devote scarce resources to fixing what actually isn't working well in the nation's approach to managing, funding and financing infrastructure.

  • People displaced by drought in Somalia arrive at the Dolo Ado camp in neighboring Ethiopia and queue to be registered by the aid agencies running the camp

    Moving Countries, Seeking Refuge from Climate Change

    Dec 19, 2017

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort '14) says it is daunting to envision such large flows of people, but that is why the global community should start doing so now.

  • Smoke trails are seen as rockets are launched towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip July 12, 2014

    Is Iron Dome a Poisoned Chalice? Strategic Risks from Tactical Success

    While Iron Dome's past success in defending Israel makes it a tempting solution to future challenges, it does have shortcomings. Student Elizabeth Bartels (cohort '15) says this becomes even more serious when considering using the system in Korea, where the threat posed is substantially greater, and the targeted terrain substantially harder to defend.

  • Laborers work at a road construction site in Kolkata, India, February 27, 2017

    How Hot Is Too Hot? Rising Temperatures and the Workplace

    Nov 16, 2017

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    Climate change is here. Future extreme heat waves are a given and will likely grow in intensity, geographic reach, and duration. Student Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort 14) says plans need to be made now to ensure survival of the poorest, to protect outdoor workers and to adapt economic planning to what is increasingly becoming a hotter planet.

  • Wargaming at the Naval Postgraduate School

    Adding Shots on Target: Wargaming Beyond the Game

    Figuring out what the future may look like—and what concepts and technology we should invest in now to prepare—is hard. Student Ellie Bartels (cohort '15) considers how the wargaming community can build a cycle of research to help understand what these paths might be.

  • A newborn baby rests beside his mother at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Hospital in Camaguey, Cuba, June 19, 2015, the week the World Health Organization declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child

    Doing More with Less: Lessons from Cuba's Health Care System

    High U.S. health care costs do not yield corresponding health outcomes for its citizens. But students Claire O'Hanlon (cohort '13) and Melody Harvey ('12) note that Cuba, for less than a tenth of U.S. costs, has attained comparable outcomes on many indicators, such as life expectancy and infant mortality. Cuba prioritizes primary care and prevention and addresses social determinants of health.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko walk to watch the closing stage of the joint war games Zapad-2013 (West-2013) at the Gozhsky firing range in Grodno, September 26, 2013

    Joint Military Exercises Distract from Complex Russia-Belarus Relationship

    Analysts and military leaders have concerns that Russia will use the Zapad 2017 exercise in Belarus as a smokescreen to put personnel and equipment in place, and keep it there. But student Bilyana Lilly (cohort '16) argues that the deep ties and history of cooperation between the two states make the chances of that happening unlikely.

  • Residential apartments next to the dried-up Ratanpura lake on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India May 9, 2016

    Another Casualty of Climate Change: Peace

    Aug 15, 2017

    Gulrez Shah Azhar

    Student Gulrez Shah Azhar (cohort ' 14) says the connection between human conflict and climate change is no mere coincidence. Drought, temperature and tensions rise in tandem, with the implicit threat of violent conflict not far behind.

  • A house with energy-efficient solar panels on the roof

    Getting (Solar) Electricity Pricing Right

    For many U.S. homeowners, an investment in rooftop solar is becoming a cost-competitive alternative to purchasing grid electricity. But student Benjamin Smith (cohort '15) and professors Nick Burger and Aimee Curtright note that, as demand soars, states are struggling to adapt a 20th-century electrical grid to 21st-century supply and demand, leading to confusion and cost uncertainty.

  • “The History of a Fénix” depicts the scars left on the arms of Natalia Ponce de León after an acid attack

    A Colombian Survivor's Crusade to Strengthen Punishment for Acid Attacks

    Acid attacks—one of the most extreme forms of violence against women and girls—have devastating, lifelong consequences for survivors. Student Mahlet Woldetsadik (cohort '13) writes that governments can, like Colombia, impose tougher punishments on attackers and support programs to build survivors' self-confidence.

  • A mother and her child walk along the Ganges river during a dust storm on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, June 9, 2015

    Where Are India's Heat Hotspots?

    Poverty, poor sanitation, a precarious water and electricity supply, and limited access to health care make India vulnerable to heat waves. Rural and urban districts could improve their preparedness by developing and targeting local adaptation strategies, writes student Gulrez Azhar (cohort '14).