Having looked through papers I’ve written over the past couple years, a paper that stuck out to me as worth revisiting was one I wrote a last year for International Studies 101. It was a simple paper with a straightforward template, asking students to investigate a humanitarian NGO and identify certain aspects of the work they do. I chose Save the Children, an organization that spearheads humanitarian work for children in need across the globe. Though I haven’t decided exactly the direction I’d like to take this repurposing, I know that I’d like to broaden the scope of this investigation, to see what kind of effect such organizations actually have on the local and world stage.
Questions that might be worth asking about such a topic:
- What is the ultimate goal of a humanitarian organization?
- Do such organizations have possible underlying interests/motives?
- How much power do these groups have against governments?
- How much money/resources do the biggest of these groups have at their disposal?
- Who is at the head of these organizations?
- What types of sacrifices need to be made by these organizations to gain access to remote/dangerous areas of the globe?
- Who protects these organizations?
- Can these groups have a serious impact on the result of major contentious issues? (e.g. elections, wars, etc.)
- What controversies might surround these organizations?
- Why should we care what’s happening on the other side of the world?
I’d anticipate that this topic could be initially interesting to a fairly wide audience, but forming a narrative in a way that can keep readers engaged may be more difficult. Thus, if I’m addressing recent bombings by various governments on humanitarian aid, it would be important to either tie the US into the discussion, or to convince the audience that such instances could be dangerous for us even on the other side of the world. Maybe concisely tying this year’s election in somehow could help with that engagement.
I’m confident the reader would have a firm grasp of what humanitarian groups do, both locally and abroad, and so looking into the impact of such groups could be inherently engaging. I can also confidently assume that my audience would at least be cognizant of the fact that there are multiple wars taking place, and investigating groups which play a role in these conflicts could bring greater clarity to these topics, and consequently help to engage the reader.