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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

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Sié Center News

CCNY logo Carnegie Corporation of New York Awards Sié Center $1 Million to Study Inclusion

January 13, 2017

The University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies today announced that the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, a leading research center at the School, was awarded a $1 million, two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The grant is toward a "Bridging the Academic-Policy Gap" program that will generate and disseminate policy-relevant research on pressing global issues. It follows an earlier, $1 million grant from the philanthropic foundation in support of the initiative.  Continue reading>>

Foreign policy spreadSié Research Opportunities Cited as Critical for Students

December 10, 2016

Foreign Policy's guide to top international affairs schools cites research opportunities for students at the Sié Center and elsewhere as setting the Josef Korbel School apart. Over 40 students work at the Center on projects such as Nonviolent and Violent Conflict Outcomes (NAVCO), where researchers are collecting data on major nonviolent mass campaigns from 1900 to 2014 to improve the understanding of the origins and outcomes of civilian-based resistance. Learn more about student research opportunities>>

Law Justice Development 2016 logoCullen Hendrix Speaks at World Bank

December 8, 2016

Cullen Hendrix participated in a panel on "Climate Change & Food Insecurity – Role of Environmental Risk Factors in Preventing Atrocities." This panel was co-sponsored by The Stanley Foundation and the Budapest Centre for Mass Atrocities Prevention as part of the World Bank's "Law, Justice and Development Week 2016: Law, Climate Change and Development."  Read Cullen's policy brief on this topic>>

Facebook in SyriaHow Facebook Hurt the Syrian Revolution

December 4, 2016

Al Jazeera —Why is it that social media can help win an election in one country and cannot stop a month-long massacre in another? Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the School of International Studies at the University of Denver, has argued that social media is helping dictators, while giving the masses an illusion of empowerment and political worthiness. At a recent lecture at Columbia University, when asked for an example where social media played a negative role in a social movement, Chenoweth paused a little to finally say, "what comes to my mind now is Syria." Continue reading>>

American flag photo by Timo KohlenbergSié Center Launches Post-Election Quickfacts Series

November 15, 2016

The results of the 2016 United States election have potential implications for many dimensions of peace and security – at home and abroad. As part of its commitment to bridge the gap between the academic and policy worlds, the Sié Center is launching a new "Quickfacts" series on these implications. We intend this series to serve as a resource to vulnerable groups whose members are concerned about how potential changes might affect their security as well as analysis for academics, the broad community of policy makers, and members of the public.  Read these resources>>

Election 2016Trump foes hope to build on initial flurry of protests

November 15, 2016

San Francisco Chronicle— Whether the actions happening around the country turn into a movement remains to be seen, said Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. For now, she said, much of what the country is seeing is a blowing off of steam. "You're out there showing you're pissed and aggravated and you're going to do something about it. What we know from the history of mass movements is that it takes about three years." she said, adding that success entails long conversations, the building of coalitions, concrete goals and long-term thinking.  Read the article>>

Election 2016Election 2016: What We Learned and What Comes Next

November 10, 2016

Deborah Avant participated in a University of Denver panel to identify lessons learned from the election and next steps for global security. Watch the video>> 

Deborah Avant's article on "Pragmatic Networks and Transnational Governance of Private Military and Security Services" expanded in an International Studies Quarterly Written Symposium

October 31, 2016

International Studies Quarterly— Four scholars welcome Avant's piece and engage with the argument with contributions that are longer than usual, which reflects the richness of the questions raised by its arguments. Heikki Patomäki agrees that the relational ontology is an improvement on present debates, but notes that it does not extend to looking at the structures and context in which processes take place. Looking at the multiple sites of private security governance, Anna Leander asks whether the problem is located where Avant says it is, and whether network theory is mobilised to its full potential. In evaluating the pragmatist approach, Kavi Abraham wonders about the excision of politics, recalls Deweyan pragmatism as also concerned with domination, conflict and participatory democracy. In looking at Avant's relationalism, Mark Laffey argues that a liberal ontology animates but also constrains the account of process and the assumed public-private divide. Avant offers "A Pragmatic Response" to the symposium, engages with the questions and suggests provocatively that it is they, rather than she, who may be the real 'optimists' about global governance.

Deborah Avant, professor from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, spoke about her research into the determinants of violence in conflicts, which naturally includes many actors

October 26, 2016

The Tufts Daily— The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy hosted the Fletcher Ideas Exchange last night in the ASEAN Auditorium. It featured a variety of academics, policy practitioners and students who gave brief speeches in a TED-style format in front of an audience of approximately 200 people. The event, themed "Bridging the Academic-Policy Gap," opened with brief remarks from Communications Lecturer Mihir Mankad and Professor of Practice of International Conflict Management Eileen Babbitt, who both helped to organize the event.

PhD Candidate Jonathan Pinckney authors ICNC Monograph

October 17, 2016

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict —A central question in the study and practice of civil resistance is how nonviolent movements can maintain nonviolent discipline among their members. What factors encourage and sustain nonviolent discipline, particularly in the face of violent repression? While several scholars have suggested answers to these questions to date, the answers have largely remained ad hoc and have not been systematically tested. This monograph addresses these deficits in the literature by offering a unified theory of nonviolent discipline. This theory provides a helpful tool for better understanding how nonviolent discipline is created, sustained and shaped by repression. Following the theory, the monograph presents two tests of the effects of several influences on nonviolent discipline. The first is on the impact of patterns of repression, history of civil resistance, and campaign leadership and structure on nonviolent discipline. The second is a comparison of three civil resistance campaigns from the post-Communist
"Color Revolutions" in Serbia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Timothy Sisk has co-edited a new book

October 17, 2016

Graduate Institute GenevaThe book reopens the debate on democratization in the wake of the Arab Spring and other major global and regional developments, according to the Graduate Institute Geneva. "Democratisation in the 21st Century" (Routledge, 2017), featuring essays from leading democratization specialists, is co-edited by Tim and the Graduate Institute's Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Adjunct Professor of International History.

 Cullen Hendrix proposes a plausible conceptual model that identifies structural and actor-contingent factors linking demographic-environmental stress to mass killings

October 12, 2016

The Stanley FoundationWhen and why do environmental stressors play a role in precipitating mass atrocities, and what can the international community do about them? During World War II, concerns about demographic and environmental stress—particularly access to arable land—were associated with some of the 20th century's worst mass atrocities. Adolf Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe were fueled by an obsession with lebensraum—literally, living space—and fears Germany would not be able to feed its growing population from within its post-Versailles borders. Japan's invasion of Manchuria and subsequent campaigns of terror against ethnic Chinese and Russians there were similarly motivated by a desire to access the territory's vast renewable and mineral resources. 

Erica Chenoweth

Erica Chenoweth contributes to International Day of Peace Conversation with the Carnegie Corporation of New York

September 21, 2016

Carnegie Corporation of New York —"Nonviolent action is possible—even in armed contexts. Women's groups in Liberia, humanitarian groups in Syria, village-level juntas in Colombia, civic groups in Kenya, grassroots coalitions in Spain—all of these actors have effectively mobilized effective resistance to violence in the context of protracted armed conflict. Organization matters. Movements that coordinate, plan, train, negotiate, and communicate widely have a much higher capacity for tamping down violence than those that improvise. Inclusion matters. Efforts to tamp down violence are most effective when they involve broad-based coalitions of stakeholders."  Read hers and additional authors' remarks>>

 Erica Chenoweth speaks on panel about "Obama's Legacy in the Middle East" 

September 15, 2016

DU Newsroom"On the panel was Erica Chenoweth, professor and associate dean for research at Korbel. "Despite his lofty oratory, Obama is and always has been in my mind fundamentally a consequentialist," Chenoweth said. "He has a prioritized action that he sees as necessary and that he sees as having a potential impact in advancing vital U.S. interests." Read more of the discussion>>

Kaplan co-author Oliver Kaplan mentioned in Colombia's Samana News interview

July 23, 2016

Semana —Oliver Kaplan's co-author gives an interview in Spanish in Colombia's version of Time magazine, where he extensively discusses their recent research article regarding recidivism of former combatants in Colombia.  Continue Reading>>  

Map of MalaysiaErica Chenoweth cited in Malay Mail Online

 July 18, 2016

Malay Mail OnlineErica Chenoweth's research on the comparative success of nonviolent resistance over violent resistance is cited in a Malay Mail Online op-ed titled "Those who live by the sword die by it" by Bernard Goh Teck Yang. "Studies conducted by Erica Chenoweth from the University of Denver showed that since the beginning of the 1900s, violent revolutions fail around 60 percent of the time compared to a 20 percent failure rate of non-violent movements. To add on that, violent campaigns success rate is only 23 percent compared to peaceful campaigns 53 success rates. The case was made for non-violent protest to replace it's bloodier sibling." Read the full op-ed here>>

Bridging OceansBridging Oceans: The Panama Canal

June 26, 2016

9NEWS— There's a saying among the people of Panama: "Bridge of the world, heart of the universe." It's a fitting description for a small country, with so much riding on it – or in this case, sailing across it. This is a place where land gave way to water, by Bridging Oceans: The Panama Canal. If the Americas had a waistline, its belt would be cinched in Panama. "It's a beautiful, tropical country," Oliver Kaplan, associate director of the Korbel Latin America Center at the University of Denver said.  Watch the documentary>>

The New Power Politics The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance

June 10, 2016

Traditional analyses of global security cannot explain the degree to which there is "governance" of important security issues -- from combatting piracy to curtailing nuclear proliferation to reducing the contributions of extractive industries to violence and conflict. They are even less able to explain why contemporary governance schemes involve the various actors and take the many forms they do. Juxtaposing the insights of scholars writing about new modes of governance with the logic of network theory, The New Power Politics, edited by Deborah Avant and Oliver Westerwinter, offers a framework for understanding contemporary security governance and its variation. The framework rests on a fresh view of power and how it works in global politics. Though power is integral to governance, it is something that emerges from, and depends on, relationships. Thus, power is dynamic; it is something that governors must continually cultivate with a wide range of consequential global players, and how a governor uses power in one situation can have consequences for her future relationships, and thus, future power.   Learn more>>

Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama: Why I’m hopeful about the world’s future

June 13, 2016

The Washington Post— The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Since 1959, he has lived in exile in Dharamsala in northern India. In this opinion piece, he cites research by Erica Chenoweth: "Indeed, history has shown that nonviolent resistance ushers in more durable and peaceful democracies and is more successful in removing authoritarian regimes than violent struggle."  Continue reading>>

Colombia ReportsEducation Key to Keep Colombia’s Ex-combatants on the Straight and Narrow

May 26, 2016

Colombia Reports— Education, not employment, is the key to reducing recidivism among ex-combatants, according to a new study. This surprising discovery could have significant implications for government policy, and it comes at a critical moment as peace talks with FARC rebels are coming to a head. Within a matter of months there may be thousands more ex-combatants joining the roughly 60,000 that are already registered with reintegration agency ACR that recorded a 20% recidivism rate of registered ex-combatants. Download the report Much research has gone into how to prevent recidivism, but a recent study carried out by Oliver Kaplan of University of Denver and Enzo Nussio of the ETH Zurich has challenged the received wisdom. Continue reading>>

Journal of Conflict ResolutionOliver Kaplan's Article Published in Journal of Conflict Resolution

May 11, 2016

Oliver Kaplan and Enzo Nussio's article "Explaining Recidivism of Ex-Combatants in Colombia" has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution. "We evaluate explanations for recidivism related to combatant experiences and common criminal motives by combining data from a representative survey of ex-combatants of various armed groups in Colombia with police records of observed behaviors that indicate which among the respondents returned to belligerent or illegal activities. Consistent with a theory of recidivism being shaped by driving and restraining factors, the results suggest that factors such as antisocial personality traits, weak family ties, lack of educational attainment, and the presence of criminal groups are most highly correlated with various kinds of recidivism and hold implications for programs and policies to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into society." Continue reading>>

BusinessweekUganda’s Top Export: Mercenaries

May 10, 2016

BloombergBusinessweek— During the Iraq War, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sought to marry his light-footprint invasion strategy with free-market principles. Contractors scrambled to recruit thousands of bodies to fulfill lucrative Pentagon security contracts. "The industry had been growing since the mid-'90s, but what happened in Iraq was so extreme," says Deborah Avant, the director of the Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy at the University of Denver. "All of a sudden everybody needed these people. It was this enormous surge of demand." Uganda was a good place to find soldiers.  Continue reading>>

CounterterrorismCounterterrorism – Episode 34 – The Oxford Comment

May 5, 2016

What is counterterrorism? Although many studies have focused on terrorism and its causes, research on counterterrorism is less prevalent. This may be because the definition of terrorism itself has been heavily disputed, thus blurring the lines of what and who the targets of counterterrorism efforts should be. This brings us to a few questions: how has terrorism evolved and how has counterterrorism developed as a response? In this month’s episode of the Oxford Comment, Sara Levine chats with Brian Lai, associate editor for Foreign Policy Analysis; Dr. Anthony Richards, author of Conceptualizing Terrorism; Richard English, author of Illusions of Terrorism and Counterterrorism; Erica Chenoweth, associate editor for Journal of Global Security Studies. Together, they explore the meaning of terrorism, whether terrorism can be used for more than just a political motive, and the effectiveness of violence versus non-violent counterterrorism tactics. Listen now>>

Civil ResistanceCivil Resistance: The Power of the People

May 2, 2016

The 20th century was dominated by the rise of totalitarian regimes and new levels of destructive warfare and violence. At the same time, from Gandhi, to the American South, to the Solidarity movement in Poland, a different force also gathered steam, the power of the people to resist tyranny and authoritarianism through civil resistance.In this episode of America Abroad, we explore the strategies and techniques behind successful nonviolent campaigns, from India's fight for independence through the American civil rights movement to some of today's struggles for freedom and against dictators, oppression, and corruption. We go on the ground to explore movements in Colombia, India and Zimbabwe, and talk to experts and activists about why nonviolent movements are twice as likely to succeed than violent campaigns. We also learn how authoritarian governments are adjusting their tactics as they seek to suppress the power of the people. Guests include Erica Chenoweth.  Listen now>>

JoGSSKorbel School's Sié Chéou-Kang Center Named Inaugural Home of the Journal of Global Security Studies

April 21, 2016

The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, was recently appointed the inaugural home of the Journal of Global Security Studies . The journal addresses the need for scholarly interaction and debate across the broad field of security studies. Published by Oxford University Press, the Journal of Global Security Studies is the newest journal of the International Studies Association, the premier organization for connecting scholars and practitioners in fields of international studies. The need for the journal goes back to the Cold War when academic journals focused on different security concerns. As the field of security expanded, scholars and practitioners debated the very definition of security and responded by examining particular dimensions.  Continue reading>>

Perkoski Kalin Sié Center Awards 2016-2017 Post-Doctoral Fellowships

April 13, 2016

The Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy has awarded post-doctoral fellowships for the 2016-2017 academic year to two outstanding junior scholars. Michael Kalin is currently a Sié Center visiting scholar and a PhD candidate in Political Science at Yale University. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of communal violence, with particular interest in religious conflict. Evan Perkoski is currently a research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Perkoski's research explores violent and nonviolent uprisings, the interactions between non-state actors, and the organizational dynamics of terrorist, insurgent and rebel groups. Kalin and Perkoski will join the Sié Center team in September 2017 and will spend one year in residence as post-doctoral fellows, working closely with Sié Center faculty mentors while developing their own research and publications. Learn more>>

Capital PressReport: U.S. needs to reinvest in international food production

April 12, 2016

Capital Press— A new report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says it is in the national security interest of the U.S. to lead a massive, international reinvestment in food production systems. The report, “When Hunger Strikes: How Food Security Abroad Matters for National Security at Home,” argues that food price increases and scarcity are a catalyst to civil unrest, especially in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Author Cullen Hendrix, a University of Denver researcher, said food price protests toppled governments in Haiti and Madagascar in 2007 and 2008, and were one of the “major drivers” of unrest during the “Arab Spring” uprisings. Continue reading>>

Food Security policy paperCullen Hendrix Publishes Policy Paper "When Hunger Strikes: How Food Security Abroad Matters for National Security at Home"

April 7, 2016

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs— Feeding the world and teaching the world to feed itself is not just a humanitarian endeavor. It is vital to US national security. Food price–related unrest can have an immense impact on the stability of countries vital to US interests. Fortunately, the United States is well positioned to lead the fight against food insecurity across the globe. Even with increases in agricultural productivity, Africa and Asia have become increasingly dependent on global markets to satisfy their growing domestic demand for food. For example, Africa's 20 most populous countries are all net grain importers. This import dependence has made these countries more sensitive to food price volatility than ever before. Continue reading>>

Defense & Security AnalysisSteven Zech's article published in Defense & Security Analysis

April 7, 2016

Sié Center post-doctoral fellow Steven Zech's article "Decapitation, disruption, and unintended consequences in counterterrorism: lessons from Islamist terror networks in Spain" has been published in Defense & Security Analysis. "Spanish terror networks are mapped out over a 10-year period (1995–2004) to demonstrate the importance of network variables. Policies meant to disrupt militant networks can generate unintended consequences, as was the case with Spain’s Operation Dátil following the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in the United States. The Madrid train bombing network developed in the vacant political space following the counterterrorism operation that targeted radical Islamists in Spain."  Read the paper>>

Donald TrumpWhat Trump Doesn't Get About Violence

March 25, 2016

The Denver Post— Research proves the efficiency of nonviolent protests, according to Erica Chenoweth, an expert on political violence at the University of Denver. Her data, which spans more than a century, proves that nonviolent campaigns are actually twice as effective as violent campaigns at creating change. Chenoweth says nonviolent campaigns don't succeed by melting hearts, but because they have greater potential for encouraging mass participation. Her research also sets aside the concept of blame to focus simply on which form of resistance is the most strategic choice. Read the column>>

International Studies Review Steven Zech's Article Published in International Studies Review

March 18, 2016

Sié Center post-doctoral fellow Steven Zech's co-authored article "Social Network Analysis in the Study of Terrorism and Insurgency: From Organization to Politics" has been published in International Studies Review. "This paper defines key network concepts, identifies important network metrics, and reviews theoretical and empirical research on network analysis and militant groups. We find that the main focus of existing research is on organizational analysis and its implications for militant group operational processes and performance."  Read the paper>>

Julia MacDonaldJulia MacDonald Will Join Sié Faculty in Fall 2017

March 7, 2016

Julia MacDonald, a PhD candidate in political science at the George Washington University and a predoctoral fellow with the Managing the Atom/International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will join the Josef Korbel School faculty in fall 2017 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.  Learn more>>

Erica ChenowethErica Chenoweth Speaks at DU Founders Forum

March 2, 2016

On March 2nd, the DU community gathered at the Cable Center for a showcase of our stellar faculty and academic excellence. The evening celebrated the academic innovation coming out of the University and highlighted a few of the many individuals at DU whose research and teaching is transforming the student experience. Proceeds of the event directly benefited the University of Denver Scholarship Fund. Watch Erica Chenoweth's presentation>>

Rift Valley InstituteMarie Berry Briefs UNICEF on Rwanda at Rift Valley Institute

March 2, 2016

Marie Berry was invited with two other leading scholars to participate in a multi-day briefing of new staff at UNICEF's Rwanda office. The briefing was coordinated by the Rift Valley Institute, an independent think tank in East Africa.

Journal of Global Security Studies

The Future of Global Security (Studies)

March 1, 2016

The first, special issue of the Journal of Global Security Studies (JoGSS), the newest publication of the International Studies Association, is now available online. JoGSS is housed at the Sié Center and published by Oxford University Press. The journal aims to publish first-rate work addressing the variety of methodological, epistemological, theoretical, normative, and empirical concerns reflected in the field of global security studies. More importantly, it encourages dialogue, engagement, and conversation between different parts of the field.  Read the full issue here>>

Chenoweth and StephanErica Chenoweth Briefs National Security Council

February 29, 2016

Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, co-authors of Why Civil Resistance Works, briefed White House National Security Council staff last week about nonviolent civil resistance and the role of civilian mobilization in reducing violence.

Kyleanne Hunter Integrating Women in the Military

February 22, 2016

PhD candidate and Sié Fellow alumnus Kyleanne Hunter spoke on a panel at the National Defense University on how integrating women into combat roles supports women's full access to citizenship in our nation.  Watch the panel>>

US NewsBenghazi, 13 Hours, and the New U.S. Military

January 15, 2016

U.S. News and World Report —"The character of security challenges are different. And given that contractors are often the way to deal with unanticipated contingencies, their use is often in new areas where rules are less clear," says Deborah Avant. Read the article>>