Main achievements in the area of research include: A co-authored edited book project led by me and Sigrid Quack (University Duisburg-Essen, Germany) which convenes top scholars of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across disciplines of political science, sociology, public administration and management, and public policy and advances a new relational theory of NGOs. This volume will set the research agenda for relational approaches to NGOs and will contribute to the current "relational turn" in International Relations theory, which has thus far focused mostly on states and international organizations. Our framework chapter develops a relational theory to explain and understand NGO-NGO interactions in global politics; the empirical chapters apply this theory in different political contexts, across scales of activity, and across units of analysis. We convened two authors' workshops in order to refine and hone the theory as well as the coherence of the volume. We have received near-final versions of the book chapters and are submitting final feedback to authors. We have a solid framework chapter and draft introduction and are in the process of compiling the book proposal which we plan to submit in March. We will submit the proposal simultaneously to: Columbia University Press (Columbia Studies in International Order and Politics ); Georgetown University Press (Georgetown Studies in Philanthropy, Nonprofit, and Nongovernmental Organizations); Cornell University Press; and University of Alabama Press (NGO Ethnographies series).
In single-authored papers, I further advance this relational agenda, by working on different theoretical pieces I am developing for my single-authored book project on humanitarian governance. My essay on Metagovernance Norms in Humanitarian Action (published December 2021, International Studies Review) contributes to a symposium which argues for a relational approach to studying polycentric systems of governance; my chapter "SCHR and Humanitarian Standard-setting: How field dynamics produce coordination and hierarchy" (in press) traces how SCHR's authority and power results from interactions (relationships) within the humanitarian field and how this positionality generates coordination but also (re)produces hierarchies via standards; and another article on the Collective Agency of Steering Committees (R & R, International Studies Review) examines the power and agency of "meta-governors." In terms of the research impacts of these projects, I continue to be invited to present my research at universities around the world. I am particularly thrilled that I was invited by Adeso (a network of humanitarian and development NGOs in Nairobi, Kenya) and Trust Alliance (a steering committee of CEOs of major NGOs based in Australia) to present my research findings on standard-setting and metagovernance. These experiences were incredibly validating in showing the applicability and relevance of my more theoretical work to policy and practice settings.
In a second area of research on Localization in Humanitarian Action, I am in the process of preparing an article manuscript that examines the "meta-goals" of the Localization agenda. Localization is the policy agenda committed to devolving power, authority and resources from a select few humanitarian actors based in the Global North to humanitarian actors in affected communities. The overarching theory aligns with my previous work on metagovernance and steering effects. In addition, Michael Barnett (Professor, GWU), Smruti Patel (Director, Global Mentoring Initiative), Alex Vandermaas-Peeler (Ph.D. Student, Political Science) and I submitted a research proposal, “How Big International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) Practices Affect Locally led Humanitarian Action,” to Unlock Aid. If funded, we will conduct surveys, key informant interviews, and focus groups with the local partners of Big INGOs to develop better understanding of how Big INGO practices affect locally led humanitarian action. This project fits within my research agenda on localization and exploring "bottom-up financing" mechanisms as a way of devolving power and resources from the oligopoly of major Global North-based donors. If funded, the data we collect will also form the basis for at least two scholarly journal articles on the impacts of COVID on localization and the effects of Big INGO organizational strategies on localization. I also teach a graduate class on Localization and last year I assigned a "blog post" assignment; I read and provided feedback on the posts and encouraged students to submit for publication. I worked with several students to submit and one was successful, publishing a blog post with a major British Think Tank, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on local innovation in humanitarian action: Fnu, Susana* (2021). “How Covid-19 has catalyzed local innovation,” Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) Blog: Overseas Development Institute, June 15, 2021. https://odihpn.org/blog/how-covid-19-has-catalysed-local-innovation/
Main achievements in teaching include developing and offering one new course on humanitarian action at the Elliott School: Humanitarian Governance and Policy; advising 16 (Spring 2021) and 20 (Fall 2021) International Development Studies students' Capstone projects; serving on the ESIA Teaching Innovation Working Group; and being nominated by SPS students for a teaching award.
Main achievements in service to the profession include: being elected to the board of the International Humanitarian Studies Association; serving on the editorial board of Global Studies Quarterly (International Studies Association (ISA) journal); being invited to and serving on the ISA Committee on the Status of Women group. Service to the university includes serving on the Teaching Innovation Working Group, directing the Humanitarian Action Initiative, hosting numerous events on humanitarian action, advising students on careers and plans of study in humanitarian action; and convening undergraduate and graduate curriculum on humanitarian action.