DENTON (UNT), Texas — James Meernik, professor of political science at the University of North Texas, has received a Fulbright Specialist Grant to work with colleagues at Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan. The grant award is given for short-term faculty and professional exchanges, typically lasting two to six weeks, to facilitate new research topics and teaching methods.
Meernik specializes in international relations, foreign policy, human rights, peace studies and immigration policies. During his three-week appointment in October 2013, he will lecture on issues concerning foreign policy, transitional justice and U.S./Mexico relations, and he will design a peace studies and human rights course for both Soochow University and UNT students. Taiwan is committed to the advancement of democracy and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Soochow is the oldest private university in Taiwan, with an enrollment of about 14,000.
“Soochow University is recognized for excellence in human rights research,” Meernik said. “The grant builds on a longstanding relationship between UNT and Soochow involving faculty and student exchange across departments, including the Department of Political Science. My own collaborations with Soochow faculty members began in 2002.”
A rich history of partnership between the two universities led to the formation of the Taiwan Academic Exchange Program in 2003, a special fund established by UNT and the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Dallas/Fort Worth to promote travel and scholarly exchange between the two countries. The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is another resource for UNT faculty and students, providing fellowships, grants and publishing opportunities for scholarly projects that focus on global democracy development. Meernik anticipates additional opportunities for collaboration between the two universities.
This is Meernik’s second Fulbright Specialist Grant. In May 2009 he used the grant to teach a course on post-conflict peace building at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico in Toluca.
Meernik received his bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from Grand Valley State College in 1985, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Michigan State University in 1988 and 1992, respectively. He is co-editor of The Realities of the International Criminal Justice System, published this past August. The book presents critical evaluations of the delivery and impact of criminal justice by international and domestic judicial bodies written by scholars in law, criminology, sociology and political science.