Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Two Notes: Distinguished Scholar Honoree; Travel grant issues

Dear Global South Caucus members,

It is once again time to solicit nominations for our GSCIS Distinguished Scholar Award to be presented at the Annual ISA Convention next February. As has been our tradition, we rotate regions each year and for 2017 our scholar will be from Latin America or the Caribbean.

Criteria for nominees is the following, as noted on the ISA website,

-A distinguished record of scholarship and policy contributions reflecting a sustained interest in global south affairs.

-It is not required that the nominee be an ISA member but s/he should be familiar with the association and usually will have participated in some way in the past.

Members and friends of the GSCIS are asked to submit nominations by email to me with a note substantiating consideration of the nominee and a bio/CV (or web link to one) by November 15, 2016. Final decisions will be made by the GSCIS Executive Committee serving as well in its capacity as the Nominations Committee.

Many thanks for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you!

Nanette Svenson
Chair, Global South Caucus
International Studies Association


Dear all,

I write with regard to the recently awarded ISA travel grants for the annual ISA Baltimore conference next February. I received a number of communications from our caucus members expressing unmet expectations, which motivated further investigation to help clarify the situation. Here is what we have to date, though the figures are very preliminary:

1. The ISA travel grant budget is now at $225,000, $25,000 above last year but still able to meet only a fraction of the demand.
2. Demand for the grants this year was more than double (250% above) that of last year, so although more was given and to more recipients, average amounts were less (around $300 compared to $450 last year).
3. GS applicants received more overall this year: last year GS participants received $104,500 of the total $200,000 (52%) and this year GS participants received $127,000 of the total $225,000 (56%), plus more GS scholars received awards this year.
4. The criteria for grant decision-making is detailed on the ISA website,, but has not been applied consistently over the years and is in need of revamping.
5. These criteria, along with the surrounding procedure and protocol, will be sent to the Professional Development Committee (PDC) for review and reworking with the aim of producing a new set of operational standards in for 2017.

While there is little we can do to change the travel grant situation for this year, we can work on improving the process for coming years by presenting to the PDC an official GSCIS memo detailing our views on the policy redesign. I suggest we collectively come up with concrete ideas and priorities to document our GS concerns and put on record what we would like to see changed in future travel grant decision making.

It is important to note that no matter what we achieve with the ISA travel grants, we will still not solve the financial issue of GS participation in ISA conferences. Even increased travel grants will cover only a small portion of the cost of attendance for developing region scholars. Therefore, we must highlight this issue in the GS Task Force discussions, as well, and try to be creative with solutions for obtaining more funding (from ISA and beyond).

This also offers an opportunity to reiterate our interest in reaching out to scholars and institutions in the GS with the aim of facilitating and sponsoring more local/regional conferences, meetings, and workshops. Many of our caucus members are located in GS locales, hence our great potential for really hearing and understanding the views in these parts and including more local discussions in our agenda.

Thanks, everyone, and I look forward to hearing your input!

All the best,

Nanette Svenson
Chair, Global South Caucus
International Studies Association