Development, Rights and Security

Globalisation has impacted politics, societies, economies, and cultures at the local, national, and international levels. These processes have fundamentally altered the how, where and why of our lives. From health and security to global governance and human rights, our researchers are developing new ways of understanding, and responding to, the continual transformation of our highly interconnected world.

The shifting dynamics of human relations driven by changing technology, mobility, and interdependence are affecting political stability, dissolving borders and creating new patterns of movement and communication. How do we respond to these opportunities and challenges? That’s the question facing policy makers, advocates, business leaders and communities.

The impacts of globalisation on world politics are significant and far-reaching. In this environment governance requires an entirely new set of parameters. Ideas of security – and how they impact, for example, borders, data, individual safety, environment and food - take on new meaning and deliver new challenges. Issues around the environment, such as climate change and carbon pricing, require a global response that considers their impact on people, culture and society. And, as power-balances shift from North America and Europe to Asia, how we understand, interpret and inform these changes is vital for the future of nations like Australia.

Within UNSW’s Arts and Social Sciences the Acting Globally group is a gathering of some of the most innovative research minds in the academic world. This group is helping to pave the way to a clearer understanding of the future opportunities and challenges of globalisation. Our experts are spread across five research clusters:

Scholarly diversity and multidisciplinary approaches to complex international issues enables UNSW to produce pioneering, leading and relevant research that is both theoretically sophisticated and practically applied.

The impact of our work

Perhaps the greatest vote of confidence in the importance of the research emanating from the Acting Globally group is its impact on policy, practice and political climate in Australia and beyond.

Our experts serve as trusted advisers to international governments and United Nations bodies. For example, key elements of research from our Human Rights and Refugees research strength have been used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to develop and implement the ‘Heightened Risk Identification Tool’ for UNHCR work with refugees and displaced peoples.

Similarly, experts from our Globalisation and Governance Research Network serve in advisory roles for national and international governmental organisations such as the UNHCR, the UN CONGO Committee, the UN Commission for the Status of Women, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Federal Police.

Understanding the pressures, politics and histories of our own, and other countries, assists Australia’s own leaders, foreign relations experts and policy makers to develop strategic relationships. To this end, our Area Studies researchers provide expertise in regions being transformed across the globe and their impact on Australia’s future. Researchers in world and regional histories, anthropology, politics, social issues, economies, industries, and security provide a rich understanding of globalisation from multiple perspectives.

Our scholars in the new discipline of Environmental Humanities stand at the forefront of efforts to engage with our increasingly fragile environment. This interdisciplinary cluster is producing path-breaking work on multi-species ethnography, environmental philosophy and environmental science and technology. It is training young Australians to engage with one of the most pressing issues in our global future.

Evidence of excellence

The high calibre and profile of our researchers is demonstrated by an extensive array of national and international awards, publications in the top-ranking journals and with the most respected publishers, funding by relevant domestic and overseas bodies, and the use of our work in government, community and industry.

Many of our scholars are founders and members of internationally recognised national and global research networks and are often invited speakers at events across the globe. They also hold or have held prestigious fellowships and visiting positions at high profile institutions in all regions of the world.