Margo Berends

Margo Berends, first year UCARE student

Faculty sponsor: Courtney Hillebrecht

Project Title: The Bureaucratization and Legalization of Human Rights:  Progress or Peril

As a UCARE student, Margo has been working on a series of projects related to the development of international human rights law.  For these projects, she has combed through primary source UN documents to help understand the recent overhaul of the UN human rights system in the 2000s and tracked developments related to the European Court of Human Rights in British and Russian newspapers.  Through her careful research, Margo has helped Dr. Hillebrecht to gain leverage on the question of why countries participate in international human rights institutions, how states design those institutions, and above all, why states comply with international human rights law.  In working to answer these questions, Margo has had the chance to really engage with these overarching themes in international human rights law, to question conventional wisdom about human rights and to formulate her own inquiries into international politics.   

Next year, Margo will transfer the skills that she learned through her UCARE experience this year to try to answer one of the questions that arose from her research:  How effective is overseas development assistance in helping countries to achieve their development goals and what types of aid are most effective?  Using a combination of the process-tracing and case study research methods she learned this year, Margo will look at the case of Benin to explore the important role of overseas development assistance in helping--or hurting--countries' development processes.  

Turning the world upside down with their research, Margo Berends (left) and Courtney Hillebrecht (right)