The Global Area and Thematic Initiative (GATI) is an effort of MSU international and area centers to foster comparative and thematically oriented multidisciplinary programs of research and curricular development which are likely to bring national prominence to MSU in international and area studies.
Developing countries following recommendations to participate in the global economy through international trade have experienced mixed results. The role of transnational corporations, export processing zones, international trade laws, and international labor standards have emerged as key issues for understanding international trade in the global economy.
Claims on water, land, and other resources have become more salient as market integration, resource privatization, and global climate change accelerate. Competition over the earth's natural resources has the potential to increase social differentiation and conflict and contribute to natural disasters.
While many states are transitioning to democracy, conflict between and within nations also continues to escalate, calling for efforts at reconciliation as well as growing appeals to human rights laws and institutions by governments, NGOs, and individuals. Development discourses increasingly emphasize rights and democratization as key to development.
Access to formal education and health services are a pre-requisite for poverty reduction, individual empowerment, and socioeconomic development. Yet, disparities in access and use based on gender, class, and location persist.
Communities increasingly draw on identity, location, and place as cultural resources used in economic and social development strategies. Issues of identity (gender, race, and ethnicity), the rise of new social movements, expanding migration and diaspora communities, and the spread of fundamentalisms are propelled by global communications and media.