UCLA faculty can offer expertise on a variety of international topics, including the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, protests in Iran and China, a new president in Brazil, U.S foreign policy and the World Cup. UCLA-led research can help shed light on questions about misinformation, climate change and civil society in an international context.

Brazil’s balancing act

Susanna Hecht
Hecht is a professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability and is director of the UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies.

“Newly elected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won his mandate by a whisker. He will have a very divided Congress, not to mention a highly divided and contentious country. He has to carry out a very high-stakes balancing act defending democratic practices against very strong national authoritarian movements and powerful economic interests.

“Lula’s commitment to a new climate and social regime represents a radical shift from the approach of the previous president, Bolsonaro, who basically deregulated and defunded most of the environmental and social apparatus of the country. Still, Lula will not have an easy time of it, given the narrowness of his win, the truculence of his adversaries and the precarious state of the economy.”

Misinformation is ‘life or death’ in Ukraine and Russia

David MacFadyen
MacFadyen is a professor of comparative literature and the author of 
multiple books on the history of Slavic literature, media, music and the popular traditions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.


The war is being fought not only on the battlefield, but also online, where — in a ‘post-truth’ and multilingual environment— citizen media, government trolls and countless fake accounts all strive to influence public opinion. Knowing what to believe can be a matter of life or death, whether one is a Ukrainian partisan or Russian draftee.”

Innocence, guilt and justice in Ukraine

Jared McBride
McBride is a professor of history who specializes in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe in the 20th century.

“Questions of justice are paramount as the government identifies ‘collaborators’ and others who worked with the Russians in occupied territory and begins judicial proceedings against them. Meanwhile, both the Ukrainian government and international bodies are collecting evidence of Russian war crimes for future trials. Questions of innocence and guilt and whether to resist or collaborate with occupiers, sadly, have a deep and tragic legacy in Ukraine during the 20th century. Many are watching closely to see how these developments will play out during this current war of aggression by Russia.”

How will China handle the largest protests since Tiananmen Square?

Michael Berry
Berry is a professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies and director of the
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies. He has been researching the cultural politics of COVID-19, co-editing an online series, translating the book “Wuhan Diary” and writing the forthcoming book “Translation, Disinformation and Wuhan Diary: Anatomy of a Transpacific Cyber Campaign.”  


“An accidental fire that broke out in a residential apartment building has unleashed a series of protests throughout China and filled people in China with a mixture of hope and fear. As the single most widespread public protest since 1989, these events have raised a variety of issues, ranging from the people’s response to heavy-handed lockdown policies and the retracting of space for free expression to the fragility of civil society. How the government navigates this sensitive moment will have major repercussions for China’s future … and that of the world.” 

The United States’ ‘caretaker’ foreign policy

Benjamin Radd
Radd is a research fellow with the UCLA Center for Middle East Development, a member of the UCLA International Institute and a lecturer at UCLA school of Law. He is an expert on government and politics in the Middle East, particularly Iran, and U.S. foreign policy.


“U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War falls within a spectrum between expansionist on one extreme and contractionist on the other. Under President Biden, it has been in an in-between “preservationist” phase that seeks to maintain a stable world order, avoid entering into new entanglements (unless absolutely necessary, as in Ukraine) and engaging in robust but not hyperactive diplomacy. It is the ultimate ‘caretaker’ presidency, with a foreign policy to match.”

The World Cup and global pressure to preserve human rights

Steven Bank
Bank, a professor of business law at UCLA School of Law, is an expert on business taxation, tax policy and tax history. He also teaches courses on sports law and is a frequent commentor on soccer law issues.


“Historically, international sports organizations have acted like quasi-sovereign entities, operating beyond international law when they organize global sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup and acting as if they can be apolitical in the face of world events. As the World Cup in Qatar has illustrated, that is no longer possible. From FIFA’s removal of Russia from qualifying rounds for the invasion of Ukraine, to its failure to act in response to reports of human rights violations involving migrant workers in Qatar, FIFA is increasingly under pressure to conform to international law and norms.”

Despite low expectations, COP27 climate change conference still disappoints

Edward Parson
Parson is a professor of environmental law and faculty director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. He is an authority on international environmental law and policy.


“Instead of progress or even serious attention to stopping climate change, the predominant focus of the entire COP27 shifted to addressing current impacts and arguments over historical responsibility. It’s not that these issues aren’t crucial — they are — but these actions will achieve nothing, or, at best. very little in actually reducing climate change.”