Nov. 6, 2020

UCalgary Political Science Congratulates: Carmen Patino!

2019-20 Best Undergraduate Paper in International Relations Prize
Patino Banner
Patino Banner

Best Undergraduate Paper in International Relations is awarded for the best student paper that advances the study of cross-border interactions between various groups to understand how such interactions affect people, states, regions, and the global community. The award is open to all students in the INTR 501 core course in the International Relations Program at the University of Calgary.


Carmen Patino's paper was written for INTR 501 Advanced Seminar in International Relations and nominated by Dr. Kim-Lee Tuxhorn.


Dr. Kim-Lee Tuxhorn, tell us a bit about the course her paper was written for and what made Carmen Patino's paper stand out to you?

INTR 501 is the capstone seminar on selected themes for International Relations (IR) majors. Ms. Patino elected to take our seminar covering topics in international political economy. Students hone their research skills by interpreting and critiquing original research on trade, immigration, foreign aid, and foreign direct investment. They then use these skills to develop their own research papers, combining theory-building and empirics.  Ms. Patino's paper explaining migrant patterns of Venezuelan diaspora stood out because of its straightforward argument and creative research design. As they say, "the simplest explanation is most likely the right one."

Carmen Patino

Carmen Patino, what was the title of the paper and can you give us a brief description of its main findings or arguments?

The title of my paper is "Patterns in the Venezuelan diaspora: Why do refugees choose to immigrate to some countries over others?" I wanted to study this because when you look at the statistics of where Venezuelan refugees settle, the data is all over the place. Yet, when analyzing the refugee stock (which I defined as the ratio of the volume of refugees in a destination country to the total native population of the destination country), it's possible to find an explanation behind migration patterns. I studied the case of Peru and Ecuador because they don't share a border with Venezuela, are both Spanish-speaking, and are geographically close to each other. Through analyzing these cases, I argued that Venezuelan refugees are more likely to value the economic prosperity of a destination country rather than the cultural linkages it provides to the home country. I hope that my research can give new insights into the Venezuelan situation and to other existing refugee migration patterns caused by economic crises.

What are you doing now?

I am currently a fifth-year double major in International Relations with the Faculty of Arts and International Business with the Haskayne School of Business!  I am also involved with clubs throughout campus, such as JDC West, Alliances in Marketing, the International Business Students' Association, and the International Relations Club.


Congratulations to Carmen Patino on the 2019-20 Best Undergraduate Paper in International Relations Prize!

To find out more about our paper prizes and past prize winners, see:   Political Science Department Scholarships and Awards