2013 Social Justice Research Paper Awards Winners

Congratulations to 2013 Social Justice Research Paper Awards winners Emily Maiden, Jacob Eleazer and Gregory Justis.

2013 First Place: Emily Maiden, “Inventing a New Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Learning from the Failures of the 1999 Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement”

This paper critiques the potential success of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region—signed on February 24, 2013—against the backdrop of the 1999 Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which failed to end the Second Congo War. The 1999 Agreement failed because its overall design, coupled with the socio-political climate in the region at the time, resulted in a ‘no war, no peace’ scenario. These failures were furthered by the overall inability of the international peacebuilding community to design and implement a peace strategy in the DRC that aligned with the needs of the Congolese people. If the 2013 Framework is to succeed, what is required is a transformation of the peace process, which will incorporate the Congolese civil society, avoid restrictive timelines, and focus on securing realistic commitments. By critically analyzing both the 1999 Agreement and the broader conflict-resolution and peacebuilding processes, international peace practitioners can learn from the situation in the DRC and use the revised peace model this paper outlines to promote true and lasting peace in regional conflicts across the developing world.

First Place: Jacob Eleazer, “I Will Never Leave a Fallen Comrade: Ethical Considerations for Psychologists Working with Trans* US Military Service Members  After the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Honorable Mention: Gregory Justis, “Defining Union: The Defense of Marriage Act, Tribal Sovereignty and Same-Sex Marriage”

Native American tribes in the United States enjoy an unusual “quasi-sovereign” legal status.  As a result, native tribes possess an inherent authority to regulate tribal domestic relations, and thus to define marriage as they choose – even when such marriages fail to conform to the legal definition proferred by the state.  While recent legislation such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have emerged as potential hurdles for state recognition of otherwise valid tribal unions, both history and federal jurisprudence suggest that marriages recognized as valid under customary tribal law should be (and indeed must be) additionally recognized by the states in which such tribes reside.  As a result, although it appears that states may choose to refuse recognition pursuant to DOMA, it appears equally plausible (if not equally probable) that states may choose to recognize tribal same-sex marriages as valid, a potential breakthrough for gender equality in the United States.  This paper explores the potential impact of DOMA and related legislation on the recent trend towards tribal recognition of same-sex unions throughout the United States, as well as the likely impact of legal recognition on state, federal and tribal law.