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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Place of the Year nominee spotlight: North Korea

Today Northeast Asia confronts the world with a volatile mix of geopolitical competition and nuclear threats unseen since the beginning of the Cold War. The imbroglio over a nuclear armed and very dangerous Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) involving the United States, China, Republic of Korea (ROK), and other actors epitomizes this peril.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: Catalonia

The Catalan independence movement was frequently in the news in 2017, earning Catalonia its place among the nominees for Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year. While tensions seemed to come to a head this year, the independence movement has a long history of clashes with the Spanish government, beginning with the separatist movements of the mid-19th century.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: Puerto Rico [quiz]

In September 2017, two powerful hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico. Two months later, 50% of the island is still without power, and residents report feeling forgotten by recovery efforts. From the controversy of hiring a small Montana-based electrical company, Whitefish, to restore power to the island; to the light shone on the outdated Jones Act, the humanitarian crisis following the hurricanes catapulted Puerto Rico to the world stage.

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Announcing the Place of the Year 2017 shortlist: vote for your pick

As we approach the end of 2017, we are also winding down our search for the Place of the Year. Thank you to those of you who participated in the voting period for our Place of the Year 2017 longlist, which took us from Puerto Rico in the tropics to the Arctic further north, to beyond our planet and into the Sun. The top four contenders have moved on to the next round into our shortlist, and we need your help again.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: Russia

This year, Russia was chosen as one of the nominees for Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year. Russia dominated the news cycle throughout the year—from investigations on their interference in the 2016 US elections to Kremlin’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria. The following excerpt from Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know provides an overview of President Vladimir Putin and his meteoric rise to power.

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Place of the Year 2017: behind the longlist

As the year comes to a close, Oxford’s Place of the Year campaign gives us the opportunity to reflect on the world events of 2017. The slideshow below features our longlist of nominees, all of which have made a major political, economic, or scientific influence over the past year. Take at the list below and let us know who you think should be recognized as Oxford’s Place of the Year 2017.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: the Arctic [video]

The Arctic sea ice has been seen to be in steady retreat since about 1950, a retreat which has recently sped up with an additional factor of thinning. In summer now there is only a quarter of the volume of ice that there was in summer in 1980. This process shows every sign of continuing, so that the Arctic will be ice-free for part of the year. Obviously we view this as a product of global warming, but why should it concern us in other ways?

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Place of the Year 2017 Longlist: Vote for your pick

With the end of 2017 approaching, and in conjunction with the publication of the Atlas of the World, 24th edition, today we launch our efforts to decide on what the Place of the Year (POTY) 2017 should be. Many places around the world (and beyond) throughout the past year have been at the center of historic news and events, but which location was the most noteworthy?

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Aleppo: the key to conflict resolution in the Syrian civil war?

Finally, just a couple months ahead of the sixth year’s end in the conflict, an agreement has been reached in Astana, Kazakhstan on 24 January 2016 by the participation of the major domestic and international state and nonstate actors, who had stake in the conflict. Why is Aleppo significant? Why are there external states supporting various rebel groups? And, why did the conflict in Syria take so long to resolve?

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The Oxford Place of the Year 2016 is… Aleppo

The Twitter poll has closed and the results are in: our Place of the Year for 2016 is Aleppo. Aleppo lead the polls for longlist and shortlist consistently, and news from the city has dominated coverage of the Syrian Civil War in 2016.

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The Mediterranean Sea and the migrant crisis [infographic]

With the Oxford Place of the Year competition drawing to a close, we’ve put together an infographic to explain why the Mediterranean Sea, geographic epicenter of the migrant crisis, earned a place on the shortlist alongside Aleppo, the U.K., and Tristan da Cunha.

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Place of the Year spotlight: Tristan da Cunha, the most interesting place you’ve (n)ever heard of

I confess that when I saw Tristan da Cunha among the nominations for Place of the Year, I had no idea where it was, but once I got out my atlas, I was intrigued. Colloquially known as Tristan, the eight-mile-wide island is the most remote inhabited place in the world: it lies 1,200 miles east of the nearest inhabited island, Saint Helena, and a full 1,500 miles east of the nearest continental land, South Africa.

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Place of the Year 2016: behind the longlist

We continue our reflection on 2016 with a more in depth look at the nominees for Place of the Year. Previously, we introduced our readers to the nominees simply as a list. Now, we’d like to go a bit more in-depth with each of the nominees.

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