Introduction to the sixth edition of the UAUCU Student Research Exchange Collected Papers
This volume presents research reports and personal reflections written by the 2020 participants of the UAUCU student research exchange program. This program, now in its sixth year, is founded on the principle that education should challenge students to engage actively not only with the content of their studies, but with the world at large.
As in previous years, students from the University of Aruba (UA) and from University College Utrecht (UCU) of Utrecht University carried out empirical research in and about Aruba, and supported each other in that process. Like the students of cohorts before them, they defined their own guiding principles and goals for their participation in the project during the orientation period. These ideas reflect their hopes of working in ways that could be meaningful to others as well as to themselves.
As in previous years, the topics of the students’ research are wide-ranging, drawing on the diverse backgrounds of their study programs, and yet all related to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 agenda. The works included here deal with issues of culture, employment, equality, leadership, media, policy and the rights of the state and of its people. The type of research ranges from studies on governance to studies on anthropology, economy and sociology. We think that the papers also show how participation in a diverse team influenced the authors’ approach to their work. The students provided each other with feedback on approaches to their research, and on the content, style, language and structure of their papers. The papers appear for the most part as submitted by the authors, including the occasional raw opinion or as yet underdeveloped conclusion. Some of the contributions reflect completed studies, some of the contributions are preparatory explorations. Most of the student-researchers are still working on interpretation and presentation of their findings and will finalize these soon in bachelor theses based on the results of the projects presented here.
This year’s research cycle, though, was anything but typical: 2020 brought COVID19 to Aruba along with the rest of the world. The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic created an extra set of challenges for the students participating, beyond the challenges usually faced by students in their first serious efforts in empirical research. As of mid March, Aruba went in lock down, and the participants from UCU had to leave Aruba by the end of that month. These challenges, and the rewards of meeting them, are reflected in the personal reflections that all the contributors to this volume have written as a preface to the summary of their own research.
As in previous years, a range of people have also made crucial contributions to the students’ success. We, and our students, appreciate the importance and power of their input to this project as a whole. Among those, we especially want to thank UA’s Carlos Rodriguez-Iglesias for his help in proofreading the papers in preparing them for publication here. And to the many others who have had roles as guides, lecturers, mentors, advisors, facilitators, respondents, interview participants, and engaged citizens, thank you! We hope that you are as excited about the work presented in this volume as we are.
Beyond Opinion Polls: Multiple Voices of (non)sovereignty from Aruban People
Leadership and Good Governance in Public Organizations in Aruba
The Ocean Paradox: Values Held by Resource Users in Aruba’s Fisheries
Treating education as a business
Adolescent Health Issues on Aruba: A Children’s Rights-Based Approach
The Condition of ‘Illegality’: Deconstructing the ‘Illegalization’ of Undocumented Venezuelans on Aruba