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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Seeking international cooperation through education

Photo by Sarah Kuhnz
The Center of Transnational Justice was established in the spring of 2004.

For Marquette’s Center for Transnational Justice, initiatives on justice issues don’t just stay in the United States, but they extend beyond national borders.

“All too often, particularly in the United States, there’s a tendency to look inward and to think of problems that community spaces in the country face as unique to these areas where oftentimes everybody is struggling with different challenges to justice,” Richard Friman, director of CTJ and professor in the department of political science, said. “We can learn so much from the experience of others, and we also have things that we can share with others.”

CTJ, which was established in the spring of 2004, supports scholarly research, teaching and community initiatives on justice issues that extend beyond national borders. The initiatives focus on migration, economics, politics, justice and human security.

CTJ supports faculty and student research through opportunities including small grant competitions, research bridge grants and conference and workshop grants.

“We’ve moved away from the major research project that is defined by the center and have turned more towards an approach that supports a wide array of initiatives around campus and we’re always open to people that are looking for support,” Friman said.

Mark Berlin, associate professor in the department of political science, is a faculty affiliate of CTJ. Berlin said Friman has been a great supporter of research into questions of justice.

Berlin’s current research examines the history of torture against criminal suspects by Chicago police detectives from the early 1970s to the 90s.

“Specifically, I focus on the question of why the constellation of formal and informal oversight institutions there — courts, prosecutors, elected officials, civilian oversight bodies, the media, and civil society — all failed for so long to stem the pattern of abuse,” Berlin said.

Berlin said he was motivated by a tendency in political science research on human rights to focus on countries that are still evolving to become full democracies. He said little research examines the dynamics of human rights violations and accountability in countries considered to be long-established liberal democracies, like the U.S.

“We know that these types of countries still have their fair share of human rights violations. It’s therefore important to uncover the dynamics of human rights violations and accountability that are unique to these types of countries,” Berlin said.

Louise Cainkar, associate professor of social and cultural sciences and a faculty affiliate of CTJ, researches Arab and Muslim diaspora, U.S. immigration policies and socioeconomic patterns of immigration. 

“In terms of Afghan refugees, they are not only within my field of study, I have a personal empathy for the situations of immigrants and refugees. I know that refugee resettlement typically does not concern itself with women, their traumas and struggles. I wanted to make a difference,” Cainkar said.

Cainker said CTJ is important for people who do transnational work and for students who are majoring in fields that are aligned with transnational work.

CTJ provides support for students to attend and participate in conferences and workshops that explore issues of economic, political or social justice. The funding will cover conference and workshop registration costs.

Sam Zingsheim, a junior in the College of Business Administration and Marquette Model United Nations president, is a recipient of CTJ student conference/workshop support.

Model UN, a debate team where participants practice and perfect their knowledge of international affairs, public speaking, research and writing, received funding from CTJ for an upcoming conference in Toronto.

“We were incredibly lucky to receive aid from CTJ for our trip, and value their commitment to international justice, the United Nations, and students at Marquette,” Zingsheim said. “CTJ really helped make this trip feasible for Marquette, and I know their efforts can aid many other organizations.”

Friman said by extending beyond national borders people can find best practices elsewhere, get insight into what the big obstacles are and how to surmount them by looking at the lessons of struggles others have gone through in other places.

“We have to keep in mind that we live in a very large world with all of these interrelated pieces and justice to the pursuit of justice has many meanings, many different meanings to different people,” Friman said. “To understand how those struggles for justice take place and if that promoting an understanding of that and promoting inquiry into that is the goal of the center.”

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at [email protected]

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