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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Josef Korbel School students working abroad

Our Faculty

Peter Van Arsdale, Director, African Initiatives

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Senior Lecturer Peter Van ArsdaleDirector of African Initiatives

Director of the Collaborative Refugee and Rights Information Center

Email: [email protected]

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  • PhD, University of Colorado
  • MA, University of Maryland
  • BA, University of Colorado

Research and Expertise

Human rights, cross-cultural analysis of mental health programs, community development (esp. involving water resources), program evaluation, and qualitative research methods; refugees and immigrants are primary 'focus populations,' with humanitarianism a primary organizational thrust, including its relation to civilian-military collaborations. Fieldwork conducted in the United States, New Guinea/Papua, Indonesia, East Timor, Sudan, Ethiopia, Peru, Guyana, El Salvador, Bosnia, Romania, Israel, and Palestine

Professional Profile

  • Adjunct Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver (2013-present); Senior Lecturer (2004-2013); Co-founder, Program in Humanitarian Assistance (2007-2008); Lecturer/Research Fellow and Faculty Advisor, Center On Rights Development (2000-2004); Adjunct Professor (1980-2000)
  • Senior Researcher, eCrossCulture Corporation (2008-present)
  • Chair, Committee on Human Rights & Social Justice, Society for Applied Anthropology (2008-2010)
  • Member, Committee for Human Rights, American Anthropological Association (2006-2009)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Denver(1975-1980); Acting Chair (1979-1980)
  • Director of Program Evaluation, Colorado Mental Health Institute, Ft. Logan, Colorado (1994-2003)
  • Program Specialist for Refugee, Immigrant, and American Indian Issues, Colorado Division of Mental Health (1986-1994)
  • Consultant (part-time) and Head, Socio-Economic Department, Planning Research Corporation/ Engineering Consultants Incorporated, Englewood, Colorado (1979-1983)
  • Co-founder of The Denver Hospice and the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center

Recent Publications

Van Arsdale, P. & Smith, D. (2010). Humanitarians in Hostile Territory: Expeditionary Diplomacy and Aid Outside the Green Zone. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Van Arsdale, P. (2006). Forced to Flee: Human Rights and Human Wrongs in Refugee Homelands. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.


  • INTS 4493: Humanitarian Aid in Complex Emergencies
  • INTS 4494: Field Protocol and Survival
  • INTS 4937: Human Rights and the International Refugee System
  • INTS 4966: Applied Field Methods
  • INTS 4953: Mental Health, Human Rights, and Post-Conflict Development
  • INTS 4625: East African Development and Human Rights
  • INTS 3900: Global Humanitarianism