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Sangmin Bae, associate professor of political science, is a three-time recipient of the Northeastern Illinois University Faculty Excellence Award; she’s published two books, titled When the State No Longer Kills (2007) and Human Security, Changing States and Global Responses (2014), as well as numerous articles and book chapters; and she’s appeared on local television and radio programs. But far more important than the accolades she’s received, Bae’s research is raising awareness for human security issues in the United States.
Since the publication of the 1994 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme, the concept of human security has attracted considerable attention in civil society and in academic and governmental circles. Characterized by a shift from the state to the individual as the primary referent of security, human security sees both human rights and sustainable development as central to national and international security.
Thanks to Bae, in 2012 Northeastern Illinois University became one of only 16 institutions—including Harvard and Cornell—to receive a highly competitive grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to support a research project titled “Building the Human Security Network Between the U.S. and Japan.” The project seeks to build and develop an intellectual network of human security scholars through information sharing, research collaboration and joint dissemination of results.
The grant enabled Bae to organize two symposia—one at Northeastern in March 2012 and another at the University of Tokyo in May 2013—that brought together groups of leading scholars to present papers on a range of empirical and theoretical issues related to human security. Two of Bae’s colleagues, David Leaman and Martyn de Bruyn, have been actively engaged in the research project as well.
While Bae has accomplished so much as a scholar, it is all in the interest of serving her students. “I believe there is no rigid divide between research and teaching,” Bae said. “I try to be at the cutting edge of recent scholarship so that my students can learn about the change and dynamics of the discipline.”