The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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“The events of 9/11 were a formative experience for my generation,” says Melinda R. Tarsi, a fifth year PhD student in the Department of Political Science. Since 9/11, Tarsi has watched many friends enter and serve in the military. Once their terms were up, Tarsi also watched these same friends leave the military and start to utilize many of the benefits designed to support veterans. “I quickly became interested in what appeared to be a parallel welfare state,” Tarsi reflects.

For nearly eight hundred years, and most recently three bloody decades, Northern Ireland/the north of Ireland was characterized by violent and politically-charged conflicts over the constitutional status of the territory. While the ceasefires and political peace talks regularly made the news, a series of non-violent, artistic demonstrations were often overlooked. According to Leah Wing, a faculty member in the Legal Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, nearly 2,000 murals have been constructed across the region in the past forty years.

George T. Sulzner, professor emeritus of political science, has received the 2011 Donner Medal in Canadian Studies.

The Donner Medal is presented biennially by the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (ACSUS) for distinguished achievement, scholarship, and program innovation in the area of Canadian Studies in the United States. The recipient is selected by a committee of the members of ACSUS after a public nomination process.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva has appointed Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Jane Fountain to be vice chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. Fountain served as chair of the Council last year (chairs may serve for only one year) leading sessions at Davos and in Vienna where a major report of the Council, The Future of Government: Lessons Learned from around the World, was launched last June. Fountain was in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from October 9-11 for the Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda.


Maria Robles ‘12 (Political Science) was one of fifty students selected nationally to attend the inaugural Latinos on the Fast Track (LOFT) Actionable Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. in September. “Attending the LOFT Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. was a once in a lifetime experience,” Robles said. “I had never been to Washington D.C. before, so seeing all of [the] historic pieces to our nation was just lovely.”

“I was skeptical about attending UMass Amherst because it’s a state school,” says Mello Barros ’12 (political science/accounting). “It didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d made a great decision. Internationally, UMass has an outstanding reputation—and I know this firsthand from my study abroad experience. Amherst has been ranked the best college town in the US, and anyone who lives here will see why. UMass has been a terrific experience at a price that really can’t be beat.”

Nina Siulc, assistant professor of legal studies, has been elected to the board of directors for the Consortium of Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs (CULJP).  The Consortium, which was formed in 2003, "is an organization for colleges and universities that have interdisciplinary programs geared toward undergraduate education about law and justice in the United States and Internationally."  Siulc will serve on the board for two years.

For more information about the Consortium, visit their website.

Amel Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Political Science, recently launched The website, which was funded in part by a Healy Endowment Grant, uses Google Earth to visually display electoral data by district in Egypt. 

The Art of Conflict Transformation program unveiled new mural at the Dunbar Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.  It depicts the ideas and aspirations of young people from Mason Square and was painted by around 40 of them along with muralists from Belfast who had come to share their experiences of working to change conditions of injustice and war into a society of equals living in peace.  The program, which is directed by professor Leah Wing, uses art to explore the transition to peace in Northern Ireland/the north of Ireland and the ties it has to lives closer to home.

The Legal Studies program welcomed two new faculty this semester: Lauren McCarthy and Daniel LaChance. Professor LaChance and McCarthy's research represent both the growing international focus of the Legal Studies program, as well as its focus on the societal implications of law.