Learning may begin in the classroom but it certainly doesn’t end there. After taking a political science course on the history of truth commissions, Loyola Marymount University senior Natalie Minev dedicated a summer to researching and writing a paper on the topic. Her paper, “The Chilean and South African Truth Commissions: A Comparative Assessment,” won first place for the Von der Ahe Library 2009 Undergraduate Research Award.
“I am really honored to receive the award. It was especially remarkable because I am a graduating senior, and to get recognition for my hard work and all the time I invested in the project was rewarding,” said Minev, an English and political science double major.
Minev studied the effectiveness of the truth and reconciliation commissions in South Africa and Chile, specifically in regards to human rights abuses. Her first inclination was that Africa’s commission was a success and Chile’s commission was a failure. But Minev found that both commissions had positive and negative aspects and couldn’t be classified simply..
“The commissions were effective in some sense and divisive in others. Human rights abuses still happens,” Minev said. “It was promising to hear that the victims’ stories were told and some perpetrators admitted to crimes. However, reparations were promised in some cases but the people are still waiting.”
The award recognizes LMU undergraduate students whose research makes the best use of resources and services of the Von der Ahe Library. To be considered for the award, students had to submit a research project or paper, an essay explaining the student’s research process, a bibliography and a letter of nomination from a faculty member.
“I spent hours in the LMU library last summer and I was impressed by all of the resources it has – like all the classic works on truth commissions and books by scholars who have extensively studied the subject,” Minev said. “The library staff was really helpful, and I learned so much from the experience.”
For more information about the Von der Ahe Library Undergraduate Research Awards, please click here.