The Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies at the University of Denver conducts research, facilitates dialogue and offers advanced education and training in comparative and regional studies. The Institute is comprised of four regional programs on Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
The institute’s research, dialogue and educational activities are focused on four critical issues in the advancement of the global public good.
Human security and sustainable peace
In its area and cross-cutting programs, ICRS undertakes research on the drivers of fragility and the escalation of violence, measures for prevention, peacebuilding, and fostering social cohesion and the underlying economic and social drivers of conflict that must be addressed for sustaining peace.
Democracy, governance and human rights
The Institute offers core capacities in the comparative processes of governance globally and the challenges and crises that are evident in democracies worldwide in an era of growing autocracy and threats to human rights.
Prosperity with sustainability and equity
ICRS work evaluates the conditions necessary for human development within a sustainable, common future, through national development planning, local governance and service delivery, civil society participation and effective policies for positive youth development.
Regional integration and organization
ICRS undertakes activities to explore the drivers and consequences of regional economic, political and social integration and cooperation and the barriers to more effective integration of regions, as well as the development of robust regional organizations capable of developing and protecting shared norms.
Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies
In its research, dialogue and educational programs on these themes, ICRS aims to generate and assess new ideas and knowledge through engagement with diverse local and international communities and policymakers to advance deeper, contextualized understanding of the variations across the world’s diverse communities, states and regions.
Research is conducted through faculty-affiliate work and through institute and center-sponsored research projects. Research typically focuses on the country and subnational level, often in comparative perspective within regions, and often conducted in partnership with local organizations and researchers.
- Faculty-led research, undertaken by individual affiliates, supported by ICRS through institutional and university resources or through sponsored research such as grants and contracts.
- Center-based research projects organized by ICRS regional centers on comparative and regional issues and themes specific to these countries and regions.
- ICRS-led research projects, undertaken by the Institute on themes of cross-cutting interest.
The ICRS Public Events series brings researchers to the Korbel and broader University of Denver and local communities through presentations of research and research published scholarly work. ICRS hosts public panels and conducts an annual speaker series. ICRS in 2021 will launch a Colorado event series with speakers on its areas of specialization.
ICRS problem-oriented Research Dialogues are a signature feature of its dialogue activities: around a central problem, concern or theme, ICRS brings together top expertise for an intensive, research-driven, focused analysis together with a mapping of solutions and processes to achieve the solutions. Its inaugural event in 2021, “Consequences of COVID: A Research Dialogue,” features analysis of the consequences of the COVID pandemic for peace, democracy and governance, and development, and presents research that evaluates these consequences and policy options to respond to them.
For the Denver community, ICRS organizes small-group Community Forums that allow community members to better understand and explore the dynamics of societies and contexts in ICRS regions and to engage in participatory approaches to solutions and to the improvement of local interactions with these regions. Community Forums on Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East focus on global-local connections to these regions as experienced in Denver and in Colorado.
Advanced Education and Training
ICRS provides Advanced Education and Training, drawing on the teaching and learning competencies of its affiliate faculty and its research and dialogue-based knowledge specialization on its core themes. ICRS will develop two areas of education and training.
- As a core education and training activity, ICRS will develop in AY 2020-2021 an advanced education program for a mix of participants from the Korbel School graduate programs and a recruited set of global South young professionals on advanced assessment methods in peace, democracy and governance, and sustainable development. The education program features an intensive two-term preparatory course and a two-week summertime in-residence experience at the Korbel School. Participants in the program gain advanced quantitative and qualitative skills for assessment methods in comparative, intra-regional and cross-regional analysis for use in international organization, development cooperation and global country-level risk analysis.
- In 2020-2021, ICRS is working toward the creation of a Comparative and Regional Studies Certificate as part of the Korbel School graduate programs, reviewing and organizing the existing curriculum in concert with the Curriculum Planning Committee to allow for an area-studies specialization certificate for Korbel graduate-school programs and the broader University of Denver graduate-student community.