David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute and associate professor of political science at the University of San Diego, will be taking a break from San Diego and will be taking his message to Washington, D.C., this fall.
Shirk was recently accepted as a fellow in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Shirk is one of 24 people in the 2009-10 fellowship class, comprised of scholars and practitioners from throughout the world, who will begin their term Sept. 1. The fellowship runs through May 2010.
“It’s a great honor to have a Wilson fellowship,” Shirk said. “The institution is highly prestigious. The idea of working at the Wilson Center is extremely exciting with the high-level people I’ll get exposed to as well as being among other scholars.”
The nonpartisan center, established by Congress in 1968 and a national memorial for the former U.S. president, maintains a neutral forum for free, open and informed dialogue. The institution’s inhabitants focus on national and world affairs.
Shirk, who has been at USD for six years, will be on sabbatical from his teaching duties this year. TBI assistant director Charles Pope will serve as the institute’s interim director beginning in September. Shirk, the principal investigator for TBI’s Justice in Mexico Project, will remain in that role this year.
Shirk’s fellowship gives him time to work on a major study on Mexico’s justice sector, to put together crime indicators and survey data that will be made available online for use by other scholars. He also expects to complete at least one published article or book chapter that draws on a larger research project, providing a general overview of the performance of Mexico’s justice system and the implementation of new justice sector reforms.
William Headley, dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, said he’s happy for Shirk’s fellowship acceptance. He feels that having a person with Shirk’s experience and knowledge of U.S.-Mexico border relations can be an asset to those who are closely following the situation.
“So much of the policy thinking comes out of Washington, D.C., and I’m pleased we have a west coast voice there,” Headley said.
Shirk agrees, saying he is looking forward to spreading the word about TBI, which marks its 15th anniversary this fall.
“It’s going to be fantastic for networking,” he said. “While we get a lot of attention for the work that we do, we’ll be mixing in new policymaker circles. There are more converts to be won there in terms of them learning about TBI and getting interested in our work.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
For more information about the Trans-Border Institute, click here.