Michelle Bovée

Crowdsourcing Opportunities and Pitfalls: Foreign Policy and Boaty McBoatFace

A vast population of nearly four billion people, more than the entire population of China, India, and the United States combined, inhabits the internet, which spells potential for many industries. We are all potential consumers for the goods, services, advertising campaigns, financial institutions, et cetera that can be found with the push of a button.…

Reporters without Borders: Cambodian Monks Live Stream Civil Liberties

Buddhist monks have become new the emissaries of human rights in Cambodia, using Twitter and Facebook Live to broadcast news of enduring endemic corruption, poverty, and political repression that plagues the country. While many of us complain about President Trump using Twitter to subvert the free press and broadcast his own political agenda, there are…

Liberal Drug Policy Does Little to Combat Cartels

Rumors of the strength and size of the legal marijuana trade have been greatly exaggerated. Proponents (or those looking to jump on the bandwagon) claim that the legal weed industry will produce more jobs than manufacturing and, in the United States, surpass $20 billion in revenue within the next four to five years. This is…

The Art of Foreign Policy: Culture Drives Foreign Affairs

Art and culture are often treated as lesser subjects in the field of foreign policy, sidelined such that the academics and policy wonks can focus on hard power—the often aggressive or coercive use of military and economic force to influence the behavior of other states or political bodies. By focusing so heavily on the elements…

One Belt One Road: Music Videos and Geopolitical Ambitions

If you have been curious about China’s ambitious “One Belt One Road” infrastructure project, look no further than the state-run Xinhua news agency, which recently released not an article or expose, but a music video aimed at drumming up world-wide support for the initiative. The strangely catchy video made its international debut at the Belt…

No Big Deal: Duterte Disregards International Prosecution Efforts

Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has officially been accused of mass murder and crimes against humanity and recommended to the International Criminal Court by a Filipino lawyer in a much needed, if rather delayed, attempt to hold him accountable for the executions that have taken place across his country. The accuser, lawyer Jude Sabio,…

One Country Two Systems Under Seige

On June 30th Hong Kong will celebrate 20 years of independence from the United Kingdom, which handed over official control of the island nation in 1997, with an extravagant program of concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, and even an official anthem. Also on June 30th, Hong Kong will be one year closer to merging with mainland China…

Diplomacy Bots: The Evolution of Digital Relations

If any of your Twitter friends have been unusually pro-Russia lately, or retweeting comments made by Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko, they may have signed up for an online “diplomatic club” sponsored by the Russian embassy in London. The description of this club is innocuous enough: “a way for everybody interested in…

Cultural Genocide Funds ISIS Art-for-Weapons Trade

The 57th Venice Biennale, which will run from May until November of this year in Italy, will push boundaries with an exhibit featuring 40 artifacts from the Iraq Museum of Baghdad, many of which have never left the country legally. One of the curators, Tamara Chalabi, described the exhibit as a direct response to the…

Global Anti-Corruption Effort Would Benefit Nigerian Startups

The Silicon Valley in the United States may be in the midst of a very public crisis at the moment, but the start-up tech entrepreneur scene in Nigeria has been quietly flourishing. According to Disrupt Africa’s latest report, African tech startups raised over $129 million in funding in 2016, with Nigeria being one of the…

Facial Recognition Systems: A Tool to Combat Human Trafficking?

Walk through almost any neighborhood in Manhattan and law enforcement can trace your path, tracking your movements on the 8,000-plus cameras that blanket the city. Attend an event at Madison Square Garden and building security—and advertisers—will rely on facial-recognition technology to track attendance and prevent people believed to be threats from entering the building. Fly…

Walled Gardens: Google’s Misstep Highlights Threats to Internet Freedom

On Tuesday, December 11th, 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai found himself testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Subjects discussed ranged from artificial intelligence to political bias to manipulation of search results. Project DragonFly was also on the table, though Pichai was quick to dismiss the endeavor. He told the committee that Google has…

Artificial Intelligence Politicians: More Gimmick than Reality

Non-human candidates frequently grace local and national electoral ballots. Limberbutt McCubbins was the first feline presidential candidate in the US; Darth Vader ran for mayor of Odessa, Ukraine; and a rhinoceros named Cacareco was elected to Sao Paolo’s city council. Typically these candidates are nominated as a joke or as a protest, political or otherwise.…

Not Safe for Facebook: Censorship and the Modern Public Square

Semi-nude paintings by Austrian artist Egon Schiele surprised recent riders of the New York subway, London Tube, and Cologne bus. The works were part of an ad campaign launched by the Vienna Tourism Board. Originally, they were supposed to stand on their own as advertisements for the Leopold Museum. City regulators protested this request to…

Influencer Marketing for International Development—or International Chaos?

Singapore’s Instagram users got a bit of a surprise in January: dozens of influencers (users with anywhere from 1,000 to 35,000 followers) posting mundane statuses about finance and budgeting. Singapore’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) paid over 50 influencers to post about the budget in advance of Budget Day, when MOF seeks public feedback on the…

Saudi Cinemas Herald Regional Transformation

In 1982, ultra-conservative clerics pressured the King of Saudi Arabia to close down all movie theaters, citing the threat they posed to religious and cultural identity. Thirty-five years later, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—the same Crown Prince who recently arrested over 200 influential Saudis and spent a record $450 million on a da Vinci painting—announced…

About Face: Facial Recognition & Border Security

The recently launched iPhone X uses facial recognition technology to unlock the phone rather than fingerprint scanners or the comparatively old-fashioned passcode, ostensibly to make the phone more secure. As evidenced by the long lines on launch day and the robust secondary market, many consumers seem to have a fairly blasé attitude towards the fact…

African Nations Over the Moon

Space, the final frontier, has so far been out of reach for the majority of African countries, even as the space race raged on across North America, Europe, and Asia. Only over the last decade or so have a handful of African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia, started to extend their sights…

Currency Wars: Repressive Regimes Turned Crypto-Criminals

Bitcoin was first mentioned in a research paper from late 2008 as a form of money that would be untraceable and free from interference by governments and central banks. Anyone with a computer can buy and sell bitcoin and transactions are instantaneous, which has attracted attention from a variety of sectors, from international development to…

Game of Tourism: Cities Seek to Limit Tourism while Others Woo Foreign Visitors

If you have been inspired by Game of Thrones to visit beautiful Dubrovnik, Croatia, the site of the fictional capital of King’s Landing, you may find yourself out of luck: the Mediterranean city, long a popular tourist destination, has been so overrun that mayor Mato Franković announced plans to limit the number of visitors allowed…