The Quandt Fund

for International Research


About the Quandt Fund

The politics of any country occurs within the context of culture, history, resources, and geography. Anyone who has traveled abroad knows that experiencing these complex realities for oneself is essential to understanding. For undergraduates, travel abroad is a profound horizon-expanding experience that gives a vivid personal meaning to the facts and theories learned in the classroom. For graduate students, the possibility of research abroad expands the options of research topics and opens new worlds of data and contacts. For faculty members, grants allow continued contact with changing international realities and open opportunities for international collaborative research.

The Quandt Fund for International Research was established in honor of William B. Quandt, professor emeritus in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. The Fund's objective is to encourage personal contact with global reality at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels by helping to defray the costs of overseas field research.

Grants of up to $3000 are made to:
  • Politics students, undergraduate and graduate, for international study in any region or country, including structured programs and individual research;
  • Politics faculty, for research abroad.

William B. Quandt

Born in Los Angeles, California, Bill Quandt received his BA from Stanford University and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Quandt's outstanding achievements as a scholar, diplomat, and teacher are too numerous to detail here. More directly relevant and perhaps less well known are the life-changing experiences of his first trips abroad. As a high school student he was part of the first group of American youth sent to Japan. He mastered the Japanese script and made lifelong friends there. More basically, he learned to listen and to observe. Convinced that his future was in foreign affairs, his next field trip was to France in 1960-61, when extrication from Algeria was the hottest topic. Interested, he researched Algeria, but found that to be serious he would have to learn Arabic and to go there. In 1966-7 he was finally able to go to North Africa and to conduct fifty interviews with people involved in the Algerian revolution. The rest is history — the emergence of a great Middle East expert.

Without the cumulative effects of Japan, France, and Algeria, and without their humbling yet exciting lessons in the reality of the world beyond books and numbers, history would have been different.

Application Information


Grants of up to $3000 are made to:
  • Politics students, undergraduate and graduate, for international study in any region or country, including structured programs and individual research;
  • Politics faculty, for research abroad.
Grants can be used from May to December of the year of award, and recipients are expected to submit a brief report on their field experience within two months of their return.


Applicants should inform the committee of other funding applications, and recipients should inform the committee of overlapping awards.

Application materials must be emailed to Sharon Marsh (smm4g "at" virginia "dot" edu) by March 5, 2018. Decisions will be announced by the end of the March.

Student applicants

Submit a statement of purpose, an estimated budget including other planned or pending applications, and an unofficial transcript. One faculty letter of recommendation is required, not necessarily from a Politics faculty member.

Faculty applicants

Submit a statement describing the research project.

Past Awards


Yaping Wang:
For search in China and Vietnam on territorial disputes in southeast Asia.

Robert Kubinic:
For continuation of his research in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria on the role of businessmen in political change during the "Arab Spring" events.

Samuel Plapinger:
For continuation of his research on the dynamics of internal conflicts, with case studies of the Jordan crisis of 1970, as well as cases in Oman and Eritrea.

Sonal Pandya:
Associate Professor of Politics at U Va, for research in Bombay on how Foreign Direct Investment affects the status of women.

Nicholas Favaloro:
For research in South Africa on the role of jazz in the anti-Apartheid struggle.


April Herlevi (Ph.D. candidate):
My dissertation examines the use of location incentives by national and subnational governments to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), focusing on SEZs. I am researching several cases to develop a theory of SEZ creation and compiling an original dataset of SEZs to examine the consequences for FDI. I used the Quandt Fund grant to investigate one country case, Jordan, to map enactment, implementation, and the effects of SEZs over time. Jordan is a particularly fascinating and fruitful case for theory development for three reasons. First, Aqaba was one of the earliest proposed zones (1970s) and the reinvigoration of the zone in the early 2000s provides an excellent longitudinal study. Second, Jordan also has qualifying industrial zones (QIZs) and regional development areas, which allows for cross-program comparisons. Third, Jordan is a case of economic development amid enormous challenges and provides an opportunity to examine the role of outside actors, such as the United States and international development institutions, in fostering geographically-separated economic enclaves.

Robert Kubinic (Ph.D candidate):
Robert Kubinec traveled to Tunisia in June of 2015 to delve into the country’s political history, both in terms of the recent political transition but also the foundations of Tunisia’s two long-lived dictatorships. Through his trip, Robert identified compelling hypotheses regarding the mechanisms through which the Tunisian dictators Bourguiba and Ben Ali maintained their hold on power for as long as they did. He is continuing this line of research for his dissertation, and expanding it to look at Algeria and Egypt.

Sam Plapinger (Ph.D. candidate):
I am using the funds from my Quandt Research Award to primarily support the archival component of my dissertation research on the Jordanian conflict of 1970-71. In June 2015, I visited the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, where I accessed declassified State Department and CIA documents pertaining to the Jordanian conflict. In October-November 2015, I will travel to Beirut, Lebanon to visit the Institute for Palestine Studies to access their collection of documents and materials relating to the conflict. The focus of both of these trips is to gather information that helps me to reconstruct the course of events and trajectory of the conflict, as well as details on the characteristics and strategy of the actors that participated.

Paromita Sen (Ph.D. candidate):
Comparative study of violence against women in South Asia and Turkey, with field research in Turkey.


Marina Omar (Ph.D. Candidate):
 I am currently writing my doctoral dissertation in Comparative Politics, which examines non-party formation in new democracies. As part of the dissertation, I examine the choices of political elites in building pre-electoral coalitions, and how they relate to non-party formation in Afghanistan since its transition to democracy in 2001. The case of post-2001 Afghanistan is used for theory building purposes. The theory will be tested for external validity using other cases of party formation in new democracies that show variation on both dependent and explanatory variables. The research focuses on historical grievances and pre-electoral alliance formation as key explanations for variation in party formation outcomes in post-2001 Afghanistan. The study uses process tracing to reveal causal mechanisms, explain actors’ preferences and account for a puzzle that conventional theories cannot fully explain.

Sam Plapinger (Ph.D. Candidate):
With the support of the Quandt International Research Fund in Summer 2014, I was able to conduct six weeks of preliminary fieldwork with displaced Syrians in Jordan and Turkey, focusing on both the characteristics and behavior of armed groups and local-level governance practices in opposition-held areas of Syria. I spoke with three populations in Jordan and Turkey: civilians, opposition officials, and former combatants. More specifically, the encounters consisted of seven formal interviews (five in-person and two over electronic communication) and informal discussions and meetings in Arabic with about a dozen other individuals in Irbid and Amman (Jordan) and Gaziantep and Antakya (Turkey). These individuals possessed information on the local-level dynamics and trajectories of the civil war in parts of Deraa, Aleppo, Idlib, and Deir Az-Zour provinces, and the cities of Homs, Raqqa, Aleppo, and Manbij in Syria.

Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl (Assistant Professor): 
Research in Jordan on Islamic law and women’s rights, in collaboration with Deena Hurwitz and assisted by Robert Kubinic.

Contact Information

The Quandt Fund for International Research
Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400787
Charlottesville, VA 22903
smm4g "at" virginia "dot" edu