Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

PhD student influences perceptions of US security policy

Wed Mar 22 08:46:00 GMT 2017

 
(left to right) Dr Rodrigo Esparza, Dr Ileana Rodriguez, Dr Maria Luisa Parraguez, Diorella Islas, Carlos Pascual

— (left to right) Dr Rodrigo Esparza, Dr Ileana Rodriguez, Dr Maria Luisa Parraguez, Diorella Islas, Carlos Pascual

 

Think Tanks influence and shape policy through research and advocacy focusing on political and strategic implications. Their remit is to influence rather than campaign.

But just how influential are they? A meeting held in Mexico City earlier this year looked at the relevance of Think Tanks in shaping US national and foreign policy.

Central to the meeting was a presentation, by Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies PhD student, Diorella Islas, of a new book examining this subject, Los Think Tanks en Estados Unidos: el diseño de la política exterior (Think Tanks in the US: the design of foreign policy). Diorella led the team of research assistants working on the book with its author, Dr Maria Luisa Parraguez, at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico.

The study of Think Tanks is new in Latin America. The book is therefore aiming to help those in the Spanish-speaking world understand how and why the use of such organisations is promoted by the political elite in countries such as the US.

With meeting attendees including the former US Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, the Director of the Department of Juridical and Social Studies, Dr Ileana Rodriguez, this was a prestigious platform on which to present.

Diorella Islas commented: “Presenting the book demonstrated the culmination of a great team effort. It wasn’t simply about working with Dr Parraguez; it was a shared journey of development as researchers for all those involved.”

Diorella is now using her experience to inform her current research on International Security, the expansion of transnational organised crime and its reaction to national security policies.  She strongly believes Think Tank research does impact national and international policy, so recognises the need to understand the extent of impartiality when political interests are involved.

Diorella said: “The academic community uses Think Tank publications and reports as a point of reference. It is therefore critically important to understand how these organisations work, the historical background of the most relevant and how, in some cases, they are created for reinforcement in specific periods of history.”