Spring 2013, Volume 27 Number 2

Image of spring 2013 Centerpiece coverThe spring 2013 issue of Centerpiece focuses on the Center's recent activities, including the Undergraduate Thesis Conference and the Fellows reunion. The feature, “Local Governance and the Recentralization of Political Power in African States” by Janet I. Lewis, argues that decentralization reforms can contribute to an unintended recentralization of power. And finally, the feature “In Conversation with…,” is an interview with Assistant Professor Dara Kay Cohen that focuses on her recent projects on sexual violence during wartime and the path Professor Cohen took to reach her current research.

In Conversation with...Dara Kay Cohen
by Kristin Caulfield and Megan Countey

Dara Kay Cohen has always been interested in studying violence, but she explored several different directions before she found her current path. Initially, Cohen considered becoming a lawyer working within the US context on sexual assault and violence issues. While attending Brown University for her undergraduate degree, Cohen volunteered as a rape crisis counselor and interned at the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office in the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit. After graduation, she went to work as a paralegal in Washington, DC, for two years in the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section.…

Local Governance and the Recentralization of Political Power in African States
by Janet I. Lewis

International donors have heavily invested in decentralization programs in developing countries, to the tune of over 7.4 billion dollars since 1990. They did so amidst a global shift in the 1980s and 1990s away from centralized political and economic regimes, and in the wake of widely-held expectations that decentralization reforms would bring about numerous benefits—from consolidating democracy to improving local service delivery and mitigating ethnic conflict. However, recent research shows that decentralization reforms’ record in attaining those goals is mixed, at best.…

From the Director

The past seven years have been extraordinarily positive ones for me and for the intellectual life of the Center. I assumed the directorship one year after moving into the glorious Knafel Building at 1737 Cambridge Street. The new surroundings were the symbol of the Center’s vigorous intellectual life, and our close connection with the other international area centers and the Department of Government. The building has been filled with a stunning array of seminars, conferences, and workshops these last seven years. Our affiliates have grown in number as have the height of the trees from my office window that now almost completely block out William James Hall. Smile. The corridors of the building are dense with our long-term denizens as well as refreshing waves of visitors from all over the world.…

At the Center

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