7A - International Aid, Justice, and Governance University of Warwick and Monash University South Africa
The United Nations’ 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were initiated to collectively combat pertinent social, economic and environmental issues faced at a global level. One of the major set backs to these goals has been said to be the widespread apathetic attitude at a grassroots level, towards this initiative. Thus it is imperative to understand the lack of interest and attention shown towards the goals, such that we can, as a global community, actively work in achieving them.
China has been chosen to study as it is the world’s most populous state with a population of over 1.357 billion , would contain varying social attitudes. Moreover, China currently faces many issues that the SDGs hope to tackle such as gender imbalance, income inequality, environmental degradation and corruption.
The investigation will be carried out from the 12th of July to the 28th of August 2016 through a series of interviews and surveys in 5 of the largest and most populated cities in Mainland China: Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The interviews and questionnaires will determine if people are aware of the SDGs, if they actively take part in achieving them, and if not, why they are not in support of the cause, or able to take action.
The criteria that will be employed to measure the level of awareness and social activism will be:
- Whether the respondent is aware of how many goals there are.
- Whether the respondent is able to name the goals and demonstrate a sound understanding of what each of them entails.
- How often and how intensely the respondent takes action as they define it.
This study is important in understanding the indifferent attitudes towards current global issues and finding a solution for it.
The Cold War in Africa is a history of violence, political instability and ideological conflict fuelled by superpower intervention, yet it has received very little international attention, and is largely untouched in the study of the American-Soviet rivalry.
It was only as the Cold War tensions thawed from 1985 onwards that the politics of African states began to be popularized by western media outlets. From iconic charity events such as the 1985 ‘Live Aid’ concert to combat famine in Ethiopia, a surge of global aid and interest in the continent rapidly developed. In the study of the Cold War, this sudden western charity culture has resulted in an apparent correlation between the ending of the Cold War and the eruptive rise of political instability in African states. Yet if we move away from this westernised perspective, it becomes clear that this political destabilisation had been prevalent from the 1960’s onwards and very much as a result of superpower interference. Despite being severely unrepresented both in western media and academic writings, superpower politics had a hugely significant and detrimental impact on African development.
This paper aims to promote the importance of the study of the Cold War in Africa through a case study orientated methodology. I argue that the Cold War promoted authoritarianism and economic decline through assessing Somalia, Ethiopia, Zaire and Nigeria. My argument is structured via the case study work of African Cold War specialists and orthodox and revisionists in order to place the African conflict into a wider Cold War perspective.
7B - Process Improvement University of Warwick and Nanyang Technological University
As war persists in Syria and the Middle East, record numbers of people flee conflict zones to seek security in new countries. Governments need an effective method to integrate the high influx of migrants into society, whilst maintaining a level of social solidarity during the process. Social solidarity is a measure of the positive relations between the host population and new immigrant members. Countries with low social solidarity often have high racial division, and conflict would be expected.
This study reviews two common methods of integration; multiculturalism, which celebrates diversity, and assimilation that promotes a homogenous national identity. Their disadvantages and advantages will be discussed. This study compares the differing integration methods of France and Britain as case studies, whose similar histories, political and economic regions allow for effective comparison. Indicators of a country’s level of social solidarity and integration will be discussed.
The multicultural method is hypothesised to cause the host population to become more susceptible to racial politicisation and anti-immigration messages; an indicator of this would be increased support for ring-wing national groups with anti-immigration sentiment. Whereas the assimilation method, perceived to be less considerate to the migrant citizens, would be expected to have a higher level of disenfranchisement from new citizens. The opinions of migrant groups are harder to ascertain, especially in countries that promote integration via assimilation, because they have lower levels of visibility and are not as highly represented. A potential indication of disenfranchisement that will be discussed is the number of nationals radicalised by groups such as ISIS. The presentation proposes that neither integration method effectively considers both new and host nationals equally.
With massive migrant movements and increased population density, investigating the effects that integration methods have on social solidarity, and therefore national security, is more important than ever.
7C - Decision Making University of Warwick, University of Leeds, and Kyushu University
Bayesian inference is a normative way of updating probabilities when new evidence is taken into account. Such evaluation is essential in decision making in critical fields such as court justice and medical testing, but people struggle to use the normative approach.
The majority of research carried out in the past twenty years has focused primarily on finding solutions that would facilitate the understanding of Bayesian inference and improve performance in this type of reasoning. On the other hand, research on the barriers that disrupt this thinking process has been less systematic.
Therefore, through a questionnaire distributed to University of Leeds students and staff, this study will use an experimental design to investigate three issues that may affect evaluation:
- The domain of the problem. Medical diagnosis is typically used, which may cause emotional responses. Therefore other fields will be included.
- The prior probability of the event. Typical events used, like having cancer, are rare and imply low prior probabilities. The study tests whether higher prior probabilities may impact final evaluations.
- Mathematics anxiety. Anxiety about calculation may affect the ability to process information.
Eventually, mathematics anxiety, possibly linked to the respondent’s numeracy level, and logical thinking seem to be essential towards the ability to perform Bayesian Inference normatively. These findings may therefore develop a new area of research which could help to better focus support for decision makers in order to improve their understanding of probabilistic data and the prevention of judgement mistakes caused by an erroneous interpretation of evidence.