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

Amb Bill Burns

Sié Center

News Archive

2017 Sié Center News



December 29, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage—For November 2017, we tallied 680 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 46,547 and 51,385 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 30.2 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.


December 20, 2017

New Security Beat— Fisheries are a surprisingly common reason for conflict between countries. Between 1993 and 2010, 11 percent of militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) – conflicts short of war between two sovereign states – involved fisheries, fishers, or fishing vessels. While the conflicts often involve fresh fish, the implications for global peace and prosperity stink like fermented herring. As climate change threatens to change fish habitats, new governance strategies may be needed to prevent these "fishy MIDs" from sparking broader conflicts.


December 20, 2017

Foreign Affairs—The surveys showed that JTACs and JFOs strongly preferred manned over unmanned aircraft across all demographic categories, including age, branch, education, experience, and rank. This preference was strongest in hypothetical scenarios in which the enemy was nearby and there was a high risk of friendly fire: almost 90 percent of the respondents preferred manned aircraft in such circumstances. Their main concern was that drones, remotely controlled by pilots hundreds of miles from the battlefield, were unable to maintain situational awareness in combat environments and were, therefore, more likely to make mistakes that could risk friendly lives. For example, one JTAC wrote that "a manned aircraft would be less likely to lose sight of my position and make any mistakes that may result in fratricide."


December 1, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For October, we tallied 548 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 59,876 and 68,570 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglects to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 34.9 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.



November 11, 2017

Waging Nonviolence— Focusing, therefore, on violent — as opposed to "radical" — flanks, researchers Erica Chenoweth and Kurt Schock sought to bring clarity and systematic analysis to bear on this question of positive versus negative violent flank effects. In a 2015 article for the journal Mobilization, they examined all nonviolent campaigns from 1900-2006 with radical (i.e. "maximalist") goals — such as the "removal of an incumbent national government, self-determination, secession, or the expulsion of foreign occupation" — to see how the presence or absence of armed resistance affected the success of these nonviolent campaigns. Their findings offer compelling evidence that violence is not generally a helpful addition to nonviolent resistance movements.


November 9, 2017

The Guardian— People have continued to show up to protests in significant numbers – a research team led by civil-resistance scholar Erica Chenoweth and political scientist Jeremy Pressman has tallied hundreds of demonstrations around the country each month since January.


November 6, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Over the past decades, the United States has faced more and more mass shootings that are neither criminal competition nor family violence: Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown, the Charleston, S.C., Emanuel AME Church, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This week it's at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. More are surely coming. As Erica Chenoweth explained here at The Monkey Cage in 2015, both mass shootings and terrorist attacks tend to lead to copycat attacks.


November 5, 2017

Lawfare— After several years of debate, on November 13-17, 2017, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will convene a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) to discuss the topic of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), more popularly called "killer robots." While the precise nature of these weapon systems is still the subject of debate, they are generally considered weapons that can select and engage targets on their own. Academics, policymakers, and technology leaders have raised questions about the risks of reducing human control by deploying weapon systems able to select and engage targets on their own.


November 1, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For September, we tallied 578 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 80,130 and 89,854 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 34.9 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we estimate that September saw a sizable decrease in people protesting compared with August, during which we observed between 175,625 and 205,178 people participating in crowds.



October 19, 2017

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists— As the United States conducts 10 days of joint naval exercises with South Korea, the rationale is easy enough to understand: The exercises, which take place annually, are designed to reassure US allies South Korea and Japan, and deter North Korea from aggressive action. Indeed, as policy goals, US reassurance and deterrence have become ever more important in recent months. Pyongyang kicked off the summer by successfully firing its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, followed with a series of missile tests, and successfully exploded its first hydrogen bomb on Sept. 3. During that time, Kim Jong-un's regime threatened to launch ballistic missiles towards the US military base in Guam—a threat it renewed last week—and fired ballistic missiles over Japan on two occasions. US allies in Asia are understandably nervous.


October 4, 2017

The Nation— "This is not about who controls the mostviolence; it's about who controls the legitimacy of the political space," insists Erica Chenoweth, the co-author of Why Civil Disobedience Works. Chenoweth cites Martin Luther King Jr.'s advocacy of nonviolent yet uncompromising resistance to state and vigilante violence. By maintaining discipline in the face of relentless abuse, the movement that King led attracted mass support and ultimately helped to deliver such substantive victories as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just so today, Chenoweth maintains, progressives should use "innovative techniques" that push progressive goals while avoiding the street fights sought by the armed right.



September 29, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage —For August 2017, we tallied 834 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 175,625 and 205,178 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. At 31 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we estimate that August 2017 saw a notable increase in people protesting compared with July, during which we observed between 85,837 and 108,344 people participating in crowds.


September 29, 2017

The New York Times— Kurdish leaders are well aware that realpolitik, not ideals, will determine the success of their independence bid, said Morgan L. Kaplan, a political scientist who studies the Kurdish independence movement.

From the Kurdish perspective, the referendum "was supposed to be the first step in a negotiation process with Baghdad," he said. The idea was that appealing to international norms could sway the United States and other foreign powers to support independence. And that, in turn, could help pressure Baghdad to consent to secession.

But the vote has instead galvanized Washington and Baghdad in opposition, illustrating what the scholars Erica Chenoweth and Tanisha M. Fazal have called "the secessionists' dilemma" — that the unstated rules for secession often fail or even backfire.


September 20, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations International Institutions and Foreign Governments Program— Global governance was once defined as the province of multilateral organizations, whose membership was limited to national governments. For many citizens and policymakers, whether those institutions are viewed with hope or distrust, organizations such as the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund remain the center of attention and the targets of activists. Over the last three decades, however, private corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and subnational (state, provincial, and urban) governments have moved from influencing global rules and organizations through their national governments to direct participation in global governance, often working with national governments as partners in innovation.


September 17, 2017

H-Diplo— Political scientists have grown increasingly worried about the gender gap in their profession. According to data provided by the American Political Science Association, while women make up 42 percent of graduate students in the field, they account for only 24 percent of full-time professors. While there are far more women in the discipline than even a decade before, most are assistant professors; only 23 percent of associate and full professors are women. Women in academic careers are less likely to get tenure (especially if they have children), and take longer to get promoted than their male colleagues.


September 14, 2017

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists— On April 22, 2017, nearly 1 million people across the United States participated in the March for Science. This was true even though the weather was sometimes uncooperative. Marchers in Philadelphia donned ponchos and rain gear but turned out in droves nonetheless. Some even braved snowstorms, such as the 15,000-to-20,000 protesters who showed up in Denver. Since then, scientists and the pro-science public have resisted budget cuts to federal scientific agencies, demanded that the United States maintain its obligations under the Paris Accords to combat climate change, and conveyed the message that a commitment to scientific inquiry and innovation is a fundamental characteristic of democratic life.


September 11, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations International Institutions and Global Governance Program Memo— Over the last three decades, a diverse collection of actors—private corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and subnational (state, provincial, and urban) governments—has developed and promoted a global agenda of collective action. From advancing human rights to combating climate change, these actors have become new governors in world politics. More recently, a second movement—a loose array of populist and nationalist groups and governments—has questioned the forward momentum of institutionalized global cooperation. Brexit, followed by the Donald J. Trump administration's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as proposed cuts in U.S. contributions to the United Nations and development assistance, suggest a weakening—if not undermining—of the network of treaties, institutions, and relationships constructed over the last seventy years.


September 3, 2017

Perspectives on Terrorism— Former Sié Center Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Steven T. Zech (2015- 2017) has been awarded a prize for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism studies. The Terrorism Research Initiative identified Dr. Zech's dissertation Between Two Fires: Civilian Resistance During Internal Armed Conflict in Peru as having demonstrated originality in terms of introducing new data, theory or methodology, and manifesting novelty/uniqueness in its findings. Dr. Zech was among the first class of Sié Post-Doctoral Fellows, and the Sié Center congratulates him on this remarkable achievement.


September 1, 2017

American Political Science Association—The American Political Science Association recognized Cullen Hendrix and colleague Idean Salehyan with the 2017 J. David Singer Data Innovations Award at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The award, given every two years, recognizes the best data contribution to the study of any and all forms of political conflict, either within or between nation-states. Professor Hendrix and Idean Salehyan received the award for their work on the Social Conflict Analysis Database. A number of graduate and PhD students work alongside Professor Hendrix on the Social Conflict Analysis Database project, which is housed at the University of Denver.



August 29, 2017

Westword— Erica Chenoweth can tell you that the average nonviolent protest movement achieves its goal in just three years, three to four times shorter than violent campaigns. The University of Denver professor is also quick to cite her finding that nonviolent campaigns have double the rate of success of their bloody counterparts.

Denver's seen plenty of nonviolent protests this year. According to the Crowd Counting Consortium, a project Chenoweth co-directs, the 42 protests in Denver following the 100,000-person Women's March in January have been attended by an estimated 34,500 people. And the recent counter-protests against white supremacists in Charlottesville and Boston irrefutably underscored the importance and risks of political demonstration. Westword spoke with Chenoweth about what her research on political violence and peaceful resistance tells us about today's protesting and how Denver can engage in activism.


August 23, 2017

CNBC — "In general there's a disconnect between Trump on the campaign trail, which is the Trump we see at these rallies, and Trump in the Oval Office," said Cullen Hendrix, a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington-based think tank. "He tends to make pretty bold claims and then we see little in the way of follow-through on the policy side."

Hendrix added: "My guess is once he gets back to Washington, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue or [Commerce Secretary] Wilbur Ross will reacquaint him with the electoral map, which shows that leaving NAFTA would put the hammer to many of his supporters and GOP strongholds in the Great Plains. He's going to need those senators to support any renegotiated NAFTA."


August 22, 2017

The New Yorker — There is a moral logic to this notion of anticipatory self-defense, but the progression, from writing letters to fighting with guns, is worrisome nonetheless. Right-wing militiamen in Charlottesville made a point of displaying force, and this was reportedly "unnerving to law enforcement officials on the scene." Should anti-Fascists start toting AR-15s, like the right-wing Oathkeepers? The idea can seem naïve in an American context, where, practically speaking, only white people can carry guns openly without fear of police interference. Bray mentions a few pro-gunantifa groups, including the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, and a collective with the punning moniker Trigger Warning; he quibbles with liberal scholars, including Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, who dismiss violent protest as an ineffective tool for garnering public support. But it is unclear from the book whether he thinks that brandishing guns is an ethical concern as well as a tactical one, or whether he worries about an escalation of violence. Postwarantifa, as Bray details in earlier chapters, has largely been a European project, in which opposing sides sometimes beat each other senseless and stabbed one another to death. They didn't have assault rifles. The Battle of Cable Street was fought with rocks and paving stones. 


August 22, 2017

The Guardian — It looks like we may have to expect growing violence on the part of Trump's ever-shrinking yet increasingly emboldened supporters. That's a troubling prospect, especially with an administration that fails to differentiate between neo-Nazi aggressors and civilian groups seeking to defend themselves.
Yet now more than ever, it's important to remember that meaningful and lasting change has rarely been brought forth by the hands of young men who carry out violence, but rather by the people bravely moving forward in nonviolent resistance.

The power of nonviolent civil resistance has been convincingly argued by professors Erica Chenoweth and Maria J Stephan in their now classic 2014 essay, Drop Your Weapons: When and Why Civil Resistance Works (an update of their 2011 book, Why Civil Resistance Works). Chenoweth then updated that analysis, sharing it in a lengthy interview with the Nation in February on the most effective tactics for confronting the Trump regime.


August 21, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage — For July, we tallied 744 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in each state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 85,837 and 108,344 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglects to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which adds to the undercounting of participants.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we estimate that July saw a major decrease in people protesting compared with June, during which we observed 954,298 to 1,173,771 people participating in crowds.


August 20, 2017

The Denver Post— Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., the Movement for Black Lives called for white people and non-black people of color to gather and address how they can help dismantle white supremacy.

The request spurred Indivisible Denver, along with University of Denver professors Erica Chenoweth and Marie Berry, to plan a last-minute workshop. Chenoweth thought it would attract 40 or so people. But on Saturday, the Shorter Community AME Church's pews, which seat about 1,000, were nearly full.

"It's a time when people of privilege have to step up and denounce racism and white supremacy in all of its forms," Chenoweth said. "This was one tiny action I could take in fulfilling that responsibility."


August 15, 2017

5280 Magazine — Six months into President Donald Trump's administration, protests (and counterprotests) to his policies and agenda are only increasing, and Denver is taking a leading role in the resistance.

Over the weekend, violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a group of so-called white nationalists descended upon the college town for a planned "Unite the Right" rally. On Saturday, one person was killed and more than a dozen were injured when a man drove his vehicle into a crowd of counterprotesters.

While the disorder witnessed in Charlottesville isn't uncommon in our national history of political protests, University of Denver professor Erica Chenoweth says that nonviolent mass mobilization is traditionally a more powerful way to create lasting change.


August 9, 2017

The Washington Post — "Everything we know about successful counterinsurgency tells us that it requires close integration between political goals and forces. It is the tethering of force to common and shared concerns that begin to build its legitimacy and thus the political buy-in on which stable governance is built," wrote Deborah Avant of the University of Denver. "But with [private military companies] you often trade integration away. This has been particularly true with U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."


August 7, 2017

Foreign Policy — During the political primaries in April, Ann Kanyi, who was vying for her party's nomination for the Tetu parliamentary seat in Kenya's Aug. 8 general election, was dragged from her car and brutally beaten by four unidentified masked men wielding metal bars and a gun. During the assault, one of them demanded she quit politics. She was not the only woman physically attacked during the primaries after wading into the testosterone-fueled arena of Kenyan politics: Other female candidates were robbed by men armed with machetes and batons, had their motorcades attacked and supporters killed, and were beaten and threatened with public stripping.


August 6, 2017 

Military Times — Prince's proposal may also violate the spirit of the Montreux Document — an international agreement that outlines best practices for private military companies. The "U.S. Government's support of the Montreux Document is active and continuous, according to the Department of Defense.

"Under best practices outlined in the Montreux Document, a contracting state should both be responsible for the actions of its contractors and take steps to avoid potential disaster," Deborah Avant told Military Times.

"Those steps would include ensuring that they don't assign to contractors activities that [International Humanitarian Law or the Law of Armed Conflict] assigns to state actors – I think bombing would fall in that category," she added.


August 3, 2017 

The New York Times — After years of tumultuous peace talks, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, bid a final farewell to arms in June. The act heralds the end of a 52-year conflict. But for Colombia to decisively break with its past, it must be smart in its approach to reintegrating FARC combatants back into society.

The task is daunting: How do you keep people who have been fighting for decades from rearming? Giving aid to former fighters remains controversial, but new evidence-based strategies provide reason for hope that reintegration can succeed despite the challenges.

The FARC members' background presents a first hurdle. As Communist ideologues with links to the narco-economy, many of its members were recruited from poor, rural families as children, and have been guerrilla fighters for so long they know no other life. Most have had little formal schooling and are not accustomed to civilian life.



July 25, 2017 

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage — For June 2017, we tallied 818 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District of Columbia. Our conservative guess is that from 954,298 to 1,173,771 people showed up at these political gatherings last month, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which contributes to undercounting.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we estimate that June saw a staggering ninefold increase from May in the number of people protesting. In May, during which we observed from 100,807 to 128,464 people participating in crowds.
In fact, our best-guess tally suggests that more people likely participated in crowds in June than in any month since January.

Private military contractors aren't going to do a better job in Afghanistan. Here's why.

July 12, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— The New York Times reported July 10 on meetings between President Trump, his top advisers and private military and security company (PMSC) magnates, Erik Prince (founder of Blackwater) and Stephen A. Feinberg (owner of DynCorp International) to discuss plans for having contractors take over U.S. operations in Afghanistan. The plans are said to hew closely to the Wall Street Journal op-ed Erik Prince published in June proposing a "MacArthur solution" to Afghanistan. Like the historical analogy it borrows from, the plan proposes a U.S. viceroy, but unlike MacArthur, the viceroy would carry out his plans with the help of a private army.

Could such a plan actually improve counterinsurgency, leading to the success that has thus eluded the U.S. (and NATO)? In a word: no. And the plan is much more than a different strategy; it reformulates (one might say privatizes) U.S. goals.

Violence Against Female Politicians

July 11, 2017

Council on Foreign Relations Even in situations where quotas or legislative measures exist to increase the number of women in office, female politicians can face grave danger. Marie E. Berry, a professor of sociology at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, whose work focuses on women in political office in sub-Saharan Africa, observes that in Kenya, despite a court-issued two-thirds 'gender rule,' which stipulates that no elected body in the country can be more than two-thirds one gender, "women running for political office face profound impediments to their success and many face extraordinary rates of violence, both while running for office and once in political office."

Mexico is No Longer No.1 U.S. Corn-Buyer After Trade Tensions

July 6, 2017

Bloomberg NewsMexico's attitude toward the reliability of U.S. agricultural suppliers will help set the tone of NAFTA renegotiation, said Cullen Hendrix, a professor of international relations at the University of Denver and a fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington.

"Agriculture for the most part likes NAFTA and would like as little disruption as possible," he said. "But if you start seeing ag used as a poker chip in the negotiations, with concessions made to get something in another sector, you'll see Mexico work even harder to diversify."


Why Farmers Are Anxious About NAFTA

June 29, 2017

The EconomistNAFTA has also created surprisingly integrated supply chains. Consider pork, writes Cullen Hendrix of the University of Denver in a paper for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank. In 2014 America imported 3.9m eight-to-12-week-old piglets which had been born and weaned on Canadian farms. These were fattened up on farms in Iowa, Minnesota or Illinois until they were ready for slaughter and processing. Many of the resulting pork cutlets were then exported back into Canada. 

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our May report.

June 26, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For May 2017, we tallied 495 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 100,807 to 128,464 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. Sometimes no one reports the size of the crowd, which makes undercounting more likely.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we note that fewer people protested in May than in April, when 637,198 to 1,181,887 people turned out.

What you should know about Cory Gardner's meeting with accused human rights abuser Rodrigo Duterte

June 6, 2017

The Colorado IndependentOliver Kaplan, a professor at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies who specializes in human rights and did field work in the Philippines, said he was a bit surprised when he heard about Gardner's meeting with Duterte.

"Ideally the United States should be strongly pressing Duterte on human rights issues," he says. "So to the extent that Gardner did that it's a good thing. But to the extent that it's not really verifiable and that it wasn't done more publicly, it's not clear why a senator is going over there alone doing that." 

The Anatomy of Resistance – Where We (the People) Won & Why: Episode 1

June 5, 2017

A new podcast by Erica Chenoweth and Anthony Grimes. Check out our inaugural episode on the Women's March, featuring Paola Mendoza and Sarah Sophie Flicker. Listen here>>


New data shows a sharp increase in U.S. protest activity in April

May 22, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For April 2017, we tallied 950 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 637,198 and 1,181,887 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants. Because the media often do not report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. In this case, we note that April had a 62 percent increase over the number of reported crowds in March.

The Industry of Inequality: Why the World is Obsessed with Private Security

May 14, 2017

The Guardian At Denver University, Prof Deborah Avant said the private security industry had surged with contracts during the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when "an army of private workers flooded in to do all sorts of things".

Afterwards, she said, companies "began to look elsewhere ... at private security domestically but also for people living abroad, and for the private sector; for companies".

Growing economic inequality was also part of the story, she said. "You have a ton more [money] than everyone around you, so you want to protect it. Getting [security] from the private sector is an obvious way to do it."

Experts on Authoritarianism are Absolutely Terrified by the Comey Firing

May 11, 2017

VoxComey's firing sparked immediate questions in the press — Is this Watergate? Will Trump be impeached? — all of which are legitimate and serious questions. But they're not answerable now. In the meantime, all we have to go on is what we know to have happened: The president fired the person who was investigating him and his associates.

To people who study the rise of authoritarian leaders, just those facts alone are terrifying. 

"This is very common — in semi-authoritarian and authoritarian regimes," Erica Chenoweth, a professor at the University of Denver, tells me. "Purges, summary firings, imprisonment: These are all things that authoritarian leaders do when they attempt to rid themselves of rivals within government."

How Abnormal Was Comey's Firing? Experts Weigh In

May 10, 2017

The New York Times F.B.I. directors' 10-year terms are in place "precisely to avoid undermining the directors' independence in investigating high officials," said Erica Chenoweth, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver. 


What it'll take for Venuezela's protests to work, according to an opposition expert

April 26, 2017

The Washington Post— These are some of the largest protests the country has ever seen. But will they work? Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at the University of Denver, has some thoughts.

Chenoweth studies mass movements. In some of her more recent research, she's looked at every popular effort to overthrow the government — some 500 of them. And she's sliced, diced and quantified the data to figure out what makes these movements effective. According to her research, mass protests are most likely to work when a couple of factors are present.

For one thing, she says big numbers are important, but only if they represent really diverse segments of society. And participation doesn't have to be overwhelming. Get just 3.5 percent of a country's population onto the street, and your movement is likely to work.

War Zone Contractors' Role Under Trump Questioned

April 25, 2017

U.S. News and World Report "It is interesting that people are saying it right now, though, and that may indicate they are looking for a reason to push back against contractors in the current environment," says Deborah Avant, director of the University of Denver's Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. The argument of military effectiveness could bring all these jobs back under the control of the Department of Defense removing any alternative use for those operating in a war zone.

"There may be a little bit of self-protection on the part of military leaders – they may be worried this commander in chief could go a little rogue," Avant says.

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our March report.

April 24, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants.

Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that occurred. This is particularly true of the "A Day Without a Woman" strikes on March 8. It's virtually impossible to record an accurate tally of participants for strikes, in part because many people deliberately conceal their motivations for skipping out on work or school when they participate.

In Trump's America, who's protesting and why? Here's our February report.

April 5, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Since tallying attendance at the Women's Marches on Jan. 21, we have continued counting political crowds — and are launching a monthly series of Monkey Cage posts about our findings. Each month the Crowd Counting Consortium will post updates about trends and patterns from the previous month as recorded by our volunteers. (For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series.)

For February 2017, we tallied 762 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 233,021 and 373,089 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants.


Trump Administration Is Walking Away from Good Governance in Oil, Gas, and Mining

March 27, 2017

Peterson Institute RealTime Economic Issues Watch— In the latest rebuff to the international community, the Trump administration is walking away (link is external)from the successfully negotiated global standard to promote open and accountable management of oil, gas and mining, especially in poor countries. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a groundbreaking multistakeholder initiative to prevent corruption, conflict, human rights violations, and environmental degradation while promoting good governance around extractive industries. The United States had been working toward compliance since 2012. The Trump administration, however, canceled all remaining meetings with nonprofit and industry groups related to EITI, and weekly Department of Interior conference calls related to EITI have been cancelled as well.

The EITI rejection, along with the earlier congressional disapproval of the Cardin-Lugar Amendment (link is external), which required oil, gas, and mineral companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose billions in payments to foreign-country governments, signals a step back from the US government's commitments to help reform a suite of industries with less-than-stellar records in lifting what is known as the "resource curse."

The Streetlight Effect in Climate-Conflict Research on Africa

March 14, 2017

The Center for Climate and Security— Climate change research on Africa has a streetlight problem: researchers tend to invest more attention on former British colonies and countries with relatively open, stable political systems than other countries, with these factors emerging as more important than objective indicators of "need" like physical exposure to climate change or adaptive capacity. That is, our research seems less guided by objective need and more guided by convenience/safety concerns.

The logic is straightforward: natural and social scientists alike pick cases and field sites for a variety of reasons that have very little to do with objective need or scientific criterion: ease of travel, safety, predictability, familiarity with language, access to professional networks, data availability and an existing literature to which to respond. Given that the Brits kept the most comprehensive colonial records and English has become the lingua franca of scientific communication, all these factors bias case selection toward English-speaking, comparatively politically stable countries like Kenya and South Africa

Why the research into climate change in Africa is biased, and why it matters

March 9, 2017

The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage— Scholars have long been researching the potential effects of climate change in Africa. That's urgent. As the climate changes, billions of lives will change with it. We urgently need to understand and prepare for those changes, including droughts, floods, land loss, and weather changes that may lead to extinctions, widespread hunger, mass displacements, epidemics, conflict and other catastrophic results.

But there's a catch. Instead of examining how climate change will affect the broadest territories with the most exposure to climate change, researchers are going to the countries that are most convenient for them to visit and study. When I examined the existing research, I discovered that we know a lot more about how climate change will affect countries that a) are former British colonies, b) have stronger protections for civil liberties, and c) have more stable political institutions than countries without these characteristics.

The New Trump Immigration Policy Is Bad for US Health

March 8, 2017

Peterson Institute RealTime Economic Issues Watch— The Trump administration has produced a revised executive order that would put a temporary moratorium on refugee resettlement and suspend new visas for residents of six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In a step to avoid the confusion of the administration's earlier immigration order, nationals of those countries already holding visas may travel to the United States.

Many analysts say the new order will still create confusion without making America safer. Less obvious, it may also make America less healthy.

The Immigrant Doctors Project has produced data and detailed maps showing that 7,000 doctors providing roughly 14 million doctors' appointments each year are from the six targeted countries. Moreover, these doctors are highly concentrated in the Rust Belt and Appalachia, regions buffeted both by the relative decline of their manufacturing-led economies and opioid and obesity (link is external) epidemics. Doctors from affected countries provide 1.2 million doctors' appointments in Michigan alone. These states also broke for President Trump in the 2016 election.


Just How Abnormal is the Trump Presidency? Rating 20 Events

February 27, 2017

The New York Times President Trump posts often on Twitter, sometimes against the preferences and without the advice of aides, about policy ideas and reactions to things he sees on TV. "Trump's off-the-cuff tweets have dramatically increased the amount of uncertainty in the world, especially when his appointees and staff contradict the positions he articulates in tweets," said Erica Chenoweth, professor of international studies at the University of Denver. 

International Relations Scholars Protest Travel Ban

February 27, 2017

Inside Higher Ed International relations scholars met for their annual convention last week against the backdrop of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Scholarly business to a large degree continued as usual, with panel sessions on the future of a liberal world order and change in world politics taking on special urgency. Hundreds of sessions covered topics like climate and energy policy, global governance institutions, the rise of populism, terrorism and counterterrorism, and the politics of nuclear weapons.

USAID Publishes Struggles from Below: Literature Review on Human Rights Struggles by Domestic Actors 

February 27, 2017

A literature review authored by Erica Chenoweth, Tricia Olsen, Kyleanne Hunter, Pauline Moore, and Heidi Reynolds-Stenson has been released. In 2016, USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance launched its Learning Agenda—a set of research questions designed to address the issues that confront staff in USAID field offices working on the intersection of development and democracy, human rights, and governance. This literature review—produced by a team of economists, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists—synthesizes scholarship from diverse research traditions on the following Learning Agenda question: What do we know about the role of citizens, social movements, and other domestic civic actors (as opposed to transnational actors or government officials) in advocating for particular human rights outcomes in their country? And what can we learn from the successes and failures of their activities?

How to Topple a Dictator 

February 24, 2017

The Nation As hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in efforts to resist Donald Trump, Professor Erica Chenoweth has been obsessed with one question: How many people exactly? Erica Chenoweth is one the leading scholars on authoritarian regimes and how to overthrow them. In her book Why Civil Resistance Works, she compiled 323 cases of nonviolent and violent campaigns in order to assess which were more successful in achieving their stated goals of regime change. Much to her surprise, Chenoweth discovered that nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as effective as armed campaigns over the past century. 

Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver and Laura Dugan of the University of Maryland win CFPJ Best Paper Prize  

February 17, 2017

David Carment, editor of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ), announced that Erica Chenoweth and Laura Dugan have won the 2016 CFPJ Best Paper Prize for "The Canadian Way of Counterterrorism: Introducing the GATE-Canada Data Set.:
The paper is freely available on the CFPJ website and its affiliate policy website.
The prize is awarded annually for the best article published in the CFPJ. Each refereed contribution is eligible for consideration and members of CFPJ's editorial and international advisory board judge the articles based on scholarship, contribution to knowledge and debate, writing style and audience accessibility. Continue reading>>


How is GIS Being Used to Map Resistance and Political Protests? 

January 31, 2017

ForbesDespite Conway's remarks, a Google Doc started by Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver soon began to collect crowd-sourced estimates from the Women's Marches on January 20, 2017 organized by city, state and country. As they say on the public spreadsheet, "We are not collecting this data as part of a research project. We are doing this in the public interest. We are not affiliated with any other efforts to collect data on the demonstrations." Over at Vox, graphics reporter Sarah Frostenson turned their data into a static map. Other researchers also weighed in. Doug Duffy, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, made an interactive map of Pressman and Chenoweth's data here and posted the visualization to his GitHub page. He even cleaned the data for easy download and reuse (with attribution) by others.

The Women's Marches May Have Been the Largest Demonstration in US History

January 31, 2017

VoxAccording to data collected by Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut, marches held in more than 600 US cities were attended by at least 4.2 million people. "Even using a conservative estimate, it was the single largest day for a demonstration in the US," Chenoweth, an expert on political protests and civil resistance, told us. Every state in America hosted a Women's March, as you can see in the map above. The events ranged from tiny gatherings in small town squares to throngs of more than 500,000 people clogging streets in cities like Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.  Continue reading>>

The Secrets to a Successful Protest

January 31, 2017

Radio National The first ten days of Donald Trump's presidency saw large protests across the United States and around the world including the Women's March on inauguration weekend, protests against the executive order on immigration and British protests against his state visit. Professor Erica Chenoweth studies the success or failure of protest movements. She explains the factors that will determine whether this movement will lose momentum or grow into a powerful political force.

Moments vs. Movements

January 31, 2017

Planet Jackson Hole Erica Chenoweth is a professor and associate dean for research at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. (She also happens to be performing a global head count on the women's marches along with two colleagues.) As an expert on civil resistance and nonviolent action, her research demonstrates the efficacy of civil disobedience, and points to the importance of this moment in which so many are eager to engage. Participation, Chenoweth says, is key to the success of nonviolent movements, and part of what makes the women's marches so historic. "The capacity for mass mobilization has been expressed ... the marches send a clear message that many do not have faith that their government will represent them," Chenoweth told PJH.

Politics Podcast: The Beginning of the Trump Presidency

January 23, 2017

FiveThirtyEight Donald Trump's first few days as president were marked by executive orders, "alternative facts" and mass protests around the country. This week, the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast crew breaks down Trump's inauguration speech and chats with contributor Julia Azari about what presidents can accomplish in their first 100 days. Plus, University of Denver professor Erica Chenoweth discusses the Women's Marches, which drew more than 3 million people across the United States, and her research on the hallmarks of successful protest movements. 

The Exhausting Work of Tallying America's Largest Protest

January 23, 2017

The AtlanticChenoweth studies emerging political movements, so she jumped on the opportunity to watch a new one perhaps begin to unfold here in the U.S. But more fundamentally, she said, the act of counting itself is an important one. "It's a really empowering thing to be noticed and to be tallied," she said. "That actually came to be much more evident to me when people started emailing us and tweeting at us, reporting that they had two, five, seven, 12 people in their tiny outpost." 

See Just How Big Over 200 Women's Marches Were All Across the Country

January 23, 2017

TIME MagazineJeremy Pressman of the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver gathered both the lowest and highest estimates for 605 U.S. cities and came up with a range for each city.
Of those 605 cities, Pressman and Chenoweth estimate that at least 1,000 people showed up in 209. The following visualization shows how large the protests are estimated to be in each of those cities, while the total counts include remaining smaller protests as well.

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.


2016 Sié Center News


Sié 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>>

Cullen 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>>

How 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>>


Sié 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>>

Trump 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 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 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>>


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>>  

Erica 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 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: 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>>

The 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>>


Education 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>>

Oliver 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>>

Uganda’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>>

Counterterrorism – 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 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>>


Korbel 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>>

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>>

Report: 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>>

Cullen 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>>

Steven 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>>


What 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>>

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 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 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>>

Marie 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.

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>>


Erica 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.

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>>


Benghazi, 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>>


2015 Sié Center News

2015 Sié Center News

The Effectiveness of Nonviolent Resistance

November 27, 2015

Peace Talks Radio —Over the last 100 years, how effective have nonviolent resistance movements been to effect social and political change, compared to armed violent uprisings? On this edition of Peace Talks Radio, Dr. Chenoweth talks with Carol Boss about some of the data, including the conclusion that successful nonviolent resistance was more effective than violent resistance at creating durable peaceful democracies. Listen to the radio show>>

AsSessing the Threat of ISIS Terrorism in Colorado

November 25, 2015

Colorado Matters —Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner spoke with two experts in law enforcement and terrorism about the threat to Colorado and ISIS' motivations. Erica Chenoweth is a professor of international security and diplomacy at the University of Denver. She was named a "leading global thinker" by Foreign Policy Magazine and has written about ISIS. Listen to the interview>>


What is the Breaking Point for Non-Violent Resistance?

November 17, 2015

Foreign PolicyGlobal Thinkers Erica Chenoweth and David Scheffer debate when—if ever—social and political movements should turn to armed insurgency. Does the international community's hesitation to intervene in nonviolent crises create perverse incentives for resistance to turn violent? Listen to the podcast>>

Peru's Pitchfork Politics

November 2, 2015

Foreign Affairs"There’s been this long history of self-defense forces and communities responding to either the unwillingness or the inability of the state to address these things,” according to Steven T. Zech, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Denver who has spent the last five years researching Peru’s rural militias. Continue reading>>  

Erica Chenoweth Speaks at Campaign Nonviolence in Los Alamos

August 8, 2015

Erica Chenoweth spoke at the first national gathering of Campaign Nonviolence held in Los Alamos, New Mexico to mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Watch her remarks>>

It may not look like it, but a Colombia peace agreement could be within reach

August 4, 2015

The Washington Post —“Overall, I’m pretty optimistic,” said Oliver Kaplan, a professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, who has written about the peace process. “I don’t want to say it’s inevitable, but I think it’s likely to get pushed through.” Read the article>>

International Cooperation Needed for Niger Anti-Trafficking Law to Work

July 6, 2015

World Politics ReviewIn May, amid increased migrant flows from Africa to Europe, Niger approved a bill that will translate the United Nations protocol against the smuggling of migrants into national law. In an email interview, Oliver Kaplan, an assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and associate director of the Human Trafficking Center, discussed the U.N. protocol and Niger’s efforts to implement it. Read the interview>>

Denver’s growing ‘peace industry’ hails release of international index

June 24, 2015

The Colorado Statesman— Denver is rapidly becoming a hub of international violence prevention — a growth industry, according to an influential peace index released at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday...“Our interest in Denver, our connection to Denver, goes beyond our relationship with One Earth and doing the event release here; we actually use a lot of data that was generated in Denver,” said Aubrey Fox, executive director of the IEP’s U.S. office, referring to the work of Denver-based political scientists Deborah Avant and Erica Chenoweth. Read more>>

Deborah Avant Speaks at Denver Launch of Global Peace Index

June 23, 2015

PR Newswire— The results of the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, were revealed today at an event hosted by Broomfield-based One Earth Future. During the event, local global affairs experts, including Andrew Mack, a One Earth Future fellow, and Deborah Avant, director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver reacted to and discussed the findings.

Sie Fellows Honored for Service and Academic Excellence

June 5, 2015

Congratulations to our Sie Fellows class of 2015 on your graduation. Two Sié Fellows were honored by the school for their contributions. Brittany Frank won t he Josef Korbel School Global Service Award, which recognizes a student whose volunteerism or service work abroad has improved or enriched the lives of others.  Sabrina Ragaller was he graduate winner of the  Josef Korbel School Academic Award, which recognizes one undergraduate student and one MA student for excellence in research and intellectual creativity.

G7 Report "A New Climate for Peacebuilding" Identifies Research by Cullen Hendrix as Key Reading to Understand Food Insecurity, Conflict, and Climate Change

June 2, 2015 

A New Climate for Peacebuilding —While there is a growing body of literature examining the links between 1) climate change and food, 2) food security and conflict and 3) climate change and security, there are few publications that combine analysis of all three dynamics...

The Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) research brief 'Climate change, global food markets and urban unrest' gives the best encapsulated overview of food, climate change and security dynamics. The report examines the ways that political institutions mediate the relationship between food prices and urban unrest; although much of the emphasis is on comparing the relative impact of democracies vs. autocracies, this focus elucidates many of the mechanisms important for other security risks, including fragility and conflict. The report closes with a section on climate change and food markets, outlining the impact of declining crop productivity and increasing risk of crop failure on food security and price volatility, which is particularly high when food production is concentrated in major exporting countries. It also highlights a widening gap in agro-climatic fortunes between higher-latitude and mid-latitude countries, as crop yields are projected to decline in many tropical developing countries.

See other publications by Cullen Hendrix>>

Innovations in Water Sustainability

May 7, 2015

Clinton Global Initiative Middle East and AfricaBy 2050, fresh water availability in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to drop by 50 percent in areas already considered the most arid in the world. Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa faces different water challenges—including the critical need for improved sanitation and hygiene, with 40 percent of the population lacking access to clean water. Cullen Hendrix moderated a panel of experts discussing solutions. Watch the video>>

Peaceful Protest—Slow And Steady—Is Winning The Race To Create Change

March 17, 2015

Fast Company— "I never use the term peaceful, by the way," says Maria Stephan, a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Stephan and her colleague, Erica Chenoweth, are scholars of nonviolent action and civil resistance, both terms are their preferred alternatives to the more passively-perceived idea of "peace." The pair met in 2006, and that same year were assigned as roommates at a conference sponsored by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Read More>>

Peace works better than war

March 7, 2015

Vail Daily—A little civil disobedience is good for society’s soul, and better than that, it works better than violence, says Erica Chenoweth. Chenoweth is a political scientist and professor from the University of Denver and co-author of “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.” Let’s be clear. Chenoweth did not start out thinking this way. She firmly believed that the way to challenge the system and create something new was to shoot it out of the saddle and take its place. Read More>>

Sié Center Launches Denver Dialogues Blog Series to Encourage Conversation Among Academics and Policymakers

March 3, 2015

With support from the Carnegie Corporation, the Sié Center has launched Denver Dialogues, an online exchange among scholars and policymakers on violence and its alternatives in global politics. In a weekly discussion on Erica Chenoweth's award-winning blog Political Violence @ a Glance, a community of academics and practitioners aim to recast outmoded understandings of conflict and violence and come to terms with recent trends, how they interact, and what they suggest for policy. Read Deborah Avant's inaugural post.>>

Erica Chenoweth Wins OAIS "Duckie" Award for Best Blog Post in 2014

February 19, 2015

Sié Center faculty Erica Chenoweth was awarded an OAIS "Duckie" Award for Best Blog Post in 2014 for her post "Nonviolent Conflicts in 2014 You May Have Missed Because They Were Not Violent" on the Political Violence @ a Glance blog. OAIS Awards are sponsored by SAGE and awarded based on votes from the international studies community. Sié Center faculty Oliver Kaplan was also a finalist for his post "García Márquez’ Magical Realism: It’s Real." Read more commentary by our faculty>>  

Scientific American Blog Cross-Check: Selma’s Timely—and Empirically Sound—Message of Nonviolence

February 17, 2015

John Horgan writes that "now is the perfect time for people to see Selma, which like American Sniper has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Selma celebrates a genuine hero, Martin Luther King, and it delivers a message—backed up by empirical evidence–that our violence-intoxicated era badly needs to hear." Included in that empirical evidence is Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict  by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, which "asserts that between 1900 and 2006 'campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals.' " Learn more about publications by Erica Chenoweth>>

Deborah Avant and Cullen Hendrix Honored for Research

February 9, 2015

Sié Center faculty Deborah Avant and Cullen Hendrix were honored at DU's third annual Research, Scholarship, and  Creative Work  Faculty Recognition Dinner. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, this event recognizes the most outstanding, researchers, scholars, and creative artists on the University’s faculty.

Sié Fellows Win Fellowships

February 6, 2015

Congratulations to Sié Fellows  Ben Briese and Sabrina Rallager for winning prestigious one-year fellowships to work with the  National Nuclear Security Administration

Occupy Radio: Erica Chenoweth, Why Civil Resistance Works

January 21, 2015

Occupy Radio--To be or not to be nonviolent...that is the question many of us have dealt with as we work to make change in our communities. Erica Chenoweth, coauthor of the groundbreaking book, Why Civil Resistance Works, joins us on Occupy Radio to give us some empirical facts and evidence of the power of nonviolent methods. Listen Now >>

U.S. and Cuba Begin Historic Negotiations

January 21, 2015

Denver 9 News--American and Cuban delegations wrapped up their first day of historic talks in Havana on Wednesday. They come on the heels of last month's announcement by President Obama that, after more than a half-century, the U.S. would try to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba. Latin America experts and Cubans here in Colorado are watching what happens closely and said that what happens there could bring change beyond just the two countries. Assistant professor Oliver Kaplan points out how the changing relationship with Cuba could increase cooperation throughout the region. Read More>>


2014 Sié Center News

2014 Sié Center News

Sié Center Awarded $1 million Grant from Carnegie Corporation

September 23, 2014

Today, the Sié Center was awarded a $1 million, two-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation toward a “Bridging the Academic-Policy Gap” program. Earlier this year, the Carnegie Corporation held a competition challenging the 22 American-based members of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) to present proposals with novel, feasible ways to bridge this gap between academics working on complex foreign policy issues and policymakers dealing with the same concerns. Ultimately five institutions—including the Sié Center at the Korbel School—were each awarded a grant of one million dollars to carry out research that will inform policymaking.

NPR: Why Civil Resistance Movements Succeed

August 21, 2014

NPR News—Steve Inskeep talks to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan about why non-violent resistance campaigns work better than armed rebellion. Their article on the subject is in Foreign Affairs magazine.  Listen Now >>


August 12, 2014

The Ottowa Citizen—Researchers from Denver and Maryland universities will be in Ottawa this fall trying to find out if Canada's counter-terrorism policies are effective, part of a federally funded research initiative born from the Air India attack. Erica Chenoweth, an associate professor with the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies, was awarded $303,664 for her research team.  Read More >>

Job Posting: Assistant Professor at the Korbel School and Sié Center

August 10, 2014

The Korbel School is seeking to fill a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level focused on gender and violence to start September 2015 and be part of the Sié Center's dynamic research program.  View the Posting >>

Job Posting: Post-Doctoral Fellows at the Sié Center

July 31, 2014

The Sié Center has openings PENDING FUNDING for three (3) Lecturer/Post-doctoral fellows that will be part of a new research, education, and policy program. The program is focused on nonviolent strategies in violent contexts and endeavors to study the strategies of a wide range of actors (including local civilians, local and transnational businesses, and transnational non-governmental organizations, among others).  View the Posting >>

Drop Your Weapons: When and Why Civil Resistance Works

June 16, 2014

In Foreign Affairs, Associate Professor Erica Chenoweth, with Maria Stephan, writes about the success of revolts against authoritarian regimes that embrace civil resistance rather than violence—between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance against authoritarian regimes were twice as likely to succeed as violent movements.  Read More >>

Colombia Calls a Draw in the War on Drugs

June 13, 2014

In Foreign Policy, Assistant Professor Oliver Kaplan writes about how after years of bloodshed, Colombia's government is teaming up with its former rebel enemies to beat the drug problem.  Read More >>

Confronting the Curse: The Economics and Geopolitics of Natural Resource Governance

June 4, 2014

Cullen S. Hendrix and Marcus Noland presented the findings of their new book from the Peterson Institute, Confronting the Curse: The Economics and Geopolitics of Natural Resource Governance, on June 4, 2014. Instead of success and prosperity, producers of diamonds, gold, oil, and other commodities—many in the least developed parts of Africa and Asia—often remain mired in poverty and plagued by economic mismanagement, political authoritarianism, foreign exploitation, and violent conflict. The condition is captured in the phrase "the resource curse." Coauthors Hendrix and Noland review recent developments as poor countries struggle to avoid the resource curse but fall too often into that trap. They call for support for international efforts to encourage greater transparency and improved management of natural resource wealth and for new partnerships between the West and the developing world to confront the curse.  Read more or watch the video >>

A Nonviolent Alternative for Ukraine

May 28, 2014

In Foreign Policy, Associate Professor Erica Chenoweth, together with Stephen Zunes, writes about the rising tide of violence Ukraine faces in its restive east, and why nonviolent activism is the best strategy for fighting back.  Read More >>

Department of Defense Awards Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures a $1.05 Million Research Grant 

May 27, 2014

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures has been awarded a $1.05 million research grant as part of the Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative. The awarded project, "Taking Development (Im)Balance Seriously: Using New Approaches to Measure and Model State Fragility," will develop a new, more comprehensive index for measuring and monitoring state fragility in the future. Pardee Center Associate Director Jonathan D. Moyer and Director Barry B. Hughes are the principal investigators on this project. Other co-investigators include Sié Center faculty members Erica Chenoweth, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy Sisk. This will be the second Minerva grant awarded to both Chenoweth and Hendrix.  Read More >>

Beyond Boko Haram: Nigeria's Human-Trafficking Crisis

May 19, 2014

In an op-ed for The National Interest, Assistant Professor Oliver Kaplan and MA Candidate Lauren Jekowsky analyze recent reports on human-trafficking in Nigeria to get a better sense of the situation there.  Read More >>

DU Magazine Profiles Erica Chenoweth

May 12, 2014

Erica Chenoweth, who joined the Korbel School in 2012, has focused her research on investigating whether and when nonviolence works — and influential groups around the world are taking notice.  Read More >>

Kidnapping of 200 girls puts spotlight on human trafficking

May 6, 2014

Denver 9 News—A U.S. team is on the way to help search for more than 200 girls kidnapped from a Nigerian school.The militant Islamic group Boko Haram is threatening to sell the girls into slavery. The incident is putting a spotlight on human trafficking. While it's less prevalent in the United States, assistant professor Oliver Kaplan at the University of Denver says it does happen.  Read More >>

Great Debate Transcending Our Origins: Violence, Humanity, and the Future

April 15, 2014

On April 5, Arizona State University held an event titled "The Great Debate, Transcending Our Origins: Violence, Humanity, and the Future." The first panel of the evening, "The Origins of Violence," featured scholars and writers Steven Pinker, Richard Wrangham, Erica Chenoweth, Adrian Raine, John Mueller and Sarah Mathew discussing the development of violence from the brain to world wars.  Watch >>

Read in Slate Magazine: Food Prices Are Going to Topple a Lot More Governments

April 9, 2014

"We've known since the times of the Roman poet Juvenal"—he of bread and circuses fame—"that food is an inherently political commodity," says Cullen Hendrix, a political scientist at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Relations and a leading authority on the relationship between food and conflict.  Read More >>

Chenoweth Launches "The Engaged"

April 9, 2014

There is a void in our academy and we would like you to help us fix it. This is the call to action from Associate Professor Erica Chenoweth and co-convener Christian Davenport from the University of Michigan on their newly launched website "The Engaged" part of an initiative to bring together scholars, students and citizens who wish to change the world.  Read More >>

Read in Psychology Today: Violent Versus Nonviolent Revolutions: Which Way Wins?

April  8, 2014

During her training as a political scientist, Erica Chenoweth was taught to assume that the most effective tool for achieving political goals is violence. After all, no evil dictator is going to give up his autocratic power without a fight, and throughout history, there have been numerous examples of tyrannical governments viciously crushing their opposition.  Read More >>

Global Report on Climate Change Cites Work of Cullen Hendrix

April 1, 2014

Cullen Hendrix, Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School and an affiliate of the School's Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, was cited in the just-released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Working Group II report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. In its discussion of climate change as a cause of conflict, the report references Hendrix and Idean Salehyan's article in the Journal of Peace Research  which uses data from the Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD) to examine the relationship between environmental shocks and social unrest.  Read the report >>

Political Violence @ a Glance Wins Award

March 28, 2014

Political Violence @ a Glance was twice honored at the OAIS Blogging Awards' ceremonies at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting last week.  Read More >>

Chenoweth Receives the Karl Deutsch Award

March 27, 2014

The University of Denver's Josef Korbel School congratulates Associate Professor Erica Chenoweth for receiving the International Studies Association's 2014 Karl Deutsch Award. According to the International Studies Association, the Karl Deutsch Award is presented annually to a young scholar who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the study of International Relations and Peace Research.  Read More >>

Watch on C-SPAN: Climate Change, Austerity, and the Return of Authoritarianism

March 6, 2014

On March 6 at the University of Denver, a panel discussion was held on topics such as science, moral issues in economics, climate change and the use of non-violent civil disobedience. Michael Ash is an author of an essay pointing out errors in an economic study widely cited by advocates of austerity programs. Stephanie Herring published a report on human-caused climate change. Erica Chenoweth talked about of non-violent civil disobedience, explaining why sanctions often do not work, with examples from her research on Occupy Wall Street and civil rights era. Former Ambassador Christopher Hill moderated.

"Global Challenges: Climate Change, Austerity, and the Return of Authoritarianism" was a panel of the event, Transformational Voices: An Afternoon with Leading Global Thinkers, featured six of Foreign Policy magazine's "100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013" held by the Josef Korbel School and its Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy.  Watch >>

Obama warns Russia of 'costs' in Ukraine

February 29, 2014

Professor Oliver Kaplan appeared on Denver 9 News to discuss the situation in Ukraine. His remarks centered on President Obama's response to military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside Ukraine.  Watch >>

Power to the Peaceful: Dr. Erica Chenoweth on Nonviolent Resistance

February 14, 2014

Resistance movements, rebellions, and revolutions are some of the most influential forces shaping our world today. Yet, as recent unrest in places like Egypt and Syria make painfully clear, overthrowing a powerful regime is dangerous, difficult business. Dr. Erica Chenoweth—Associate professor at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies—specializes in the question of what makes a successful resistance movement. Her book, "Why Civil Resistance Works: the Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict", which she co-wrote with Maria J. Stephan, argues that there is no greater and more effective tool for ousting an oppressive regime than non-violent, civil resistance. Dr. Chenoweth, who will be in town for a lecture on Monday, spoke with KRCC's Jake Brownell from her office in Denver.  Listen >>


2013 Sié Center News

2013 Sié Center News

Erica Chenoweth is named to Foreign Policy's list of Top Global Thinkers of 2013

December 3, 2013 

Professor Erica Chenoweth has been named to Foreign Policy Magazine's Top Global Thinkers list. The editors of the December issue of Foreign Policy Magazine indicate that Chenoweth was named as a Top Global Thinker in the Healers category "For proving Ghandi right." They further explain, "She [Chenoweth] uses her data to show that nonviolent campaigns over the last century were twice as likely to succeed as violent ones. She also uses them to make arguments about current events: for instance, why U.S. strikes on Syria aren't wise and why Egypt's pro-government sit-ins over the summer were unlikely to work."  Read More >>

Erica Chenoweth on - "Foreign Entanglements" with Robert Farley, Speaking on Civil Resistance

November 21, 2013

Erica Chenoweth speaks with Robert Farley about the effectiveness of non-violent protest. Erica works through the logic of why non-violence often proves a better practical choice than violent resistance, while discussing why so many movements nevertheless resort to violence. Erica contrasts Egypt's 2011 revolution and 2013 coup. They discuss the possibility of creating a policy infrastructure for supporting non-violent resistance. Is it possible to turn a violent movement toward non-violence? Plus: What Erica's research could have taught the Occupy movement.  View Now >>  

Grassroots political participation key to ensure peace in Colombia: Conflict expert

November 21, 2013

While the momentum of peace talks is moving towards a deal, the Colombian people must be involved more to avoid the pitfalls that derailed previous attempts to end the country's armed conflict between the state and rebel group FARC, an expert on the Colombian conflict studies said. Oliver Kaplan of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, is an expert on non-violent response at the community level to the armed conflict in Colombia.  Read More >>

Oliver Kaplan on CNN's Global Public Square: Can Colombia build on its democratic opening?

November 19, 2013

A year ago today, peace negotiators in Colombia began working with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group to end a nearly 50-year bloody conflict. Although the government and rebels have continued to fight during talks, there is a sense of optimism after progress came on a long-running sticking point: political participation. Indeed, the lead government negotiator, a former vice president, has hailed the breakthrough as a "new democratic opening." So what exactly has changed?  Read More >>

Sié Fellow Pallavi Gulati Discusses her Time at the Sié Center with Fulbright Alumni News

November 18, 2013

Sié Fellow alumna Pallavi was the recipient of a US-UK Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. In the most recent issue of Fulbright Alumni News, Pallavi discusses her experience at the Korbel School and as a Sié Fellow.  Read Now >>

View Erica Chenoweth's Presentation at TEDxBoulder

October 31, 2013

Last month, Professor Erica Chenoweth spoke at TEDxBoulder about the success of nonviolent civil resistance. She discussed her research on the impressive historical record of civil resistance in the 20th century and the promise of unarmed struggle in the 21st century. Her remarks focused on the so-called "3.5% rule"—the notion that no government can withstand a challenge of 3.5% of its population without either accommodating the movement or (in extreme cases) disintegrating. The video of this presentation is now available, and there are also write-ups about her presentation at the Washington Post and The Rational Insurgent View Now >>

"The Dissident's Toolkit" by Erica Chenoweth is published in Foreign Policy

October 25, 2013

Over the past few years we've grown used to the iconography of protest. In the wake of the Arab Spring, images of angry young street demonstrators shouting slogans, wielding signs, and confronting security forces have become almost commonplace. But just as often we've seen campaigns of public protest flounder or go into reverse: just look at Egypt and Libya, to name the most prominent cases. The recent surge of street demonstrations in Sudan once again confronts us with a fundamental question: How does public protest undermine authoritarian governments? Are demonstrations really the key to toppling autocrats?  Read More >>

Chenoweth's Research on Protest Movements Appears in The Economist

September 28, 2013

Research conducted by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan on nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns is discussed in an article in The Economist. The article, titled "The weapon of choice," focuses on lessons-learned from studying protests and violence to effect political change. Read More >>

GATE Data Project Discussed in Washington Post's Wonkblog

September 11, 2013

In a post on the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, the Washington Post Wonkblog reviewed studies on the effectiveness of government counterterrorism polices, calling the Government Actions in Terror Environments (GATE) data project led by Erica Chenoweth and Laura Dugan (Univ. of Maryland) a "promising project." Read More >>

Professor Chenoweth Mentioned in Denver's 5280 Magazine

September 7, 2013

Professor Erica Chenoweth and John Sie, founder of the Sié Center, were named in Denver's 5280 Magazine as among Colorado's "high profile transplants," new residents who are helping to reshape the state's reputation. Read More >>

Professor Chenoweth's Research Cited in the New York Times

August 27, 2013

In his op-ed about the ideas behind the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, New York Times columnist David Brooks cites research by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan. Chenoweth and Stephan found that from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals. Read More >>

Erica Chenoweth to Speak at TEDxBoulder

August 27, 2013

On September 21, Professor Erica Chenoweth will be speaking at TEDxBoulder held on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Boulder has the largest Tedx in the world, with over 2200 people in the audience. Read More >>

"Why Sit-Ins Succeed or Fail: Without a Broader Strategy, Pro-Morsi Encampments are Unlikely to Work" by Erica Chenoweth in Foreign Affairs

August 13, 2013

By deciding to hold mass sit-ins across Egypt, the pro-Morsi protesters were making use of a time-honored tactic of civil resistance. But tactics are the not the same as a strategy and, in this case, would not likely promote the very things that allow protests movements to succeed: diverse participation, the avoidance of repression, and the defection of regime loyalists. Read More >>

Chinese Executive Media Management Program Fellows visit the Sié Center

July 23, 2013

On July 23, 2013, the 2013 Cohort of the Chinese Executive Media Management Program (CEMMP) met with John Sie, Dean Christopher Hill, and a number of Sie Fellows at Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Read More >>

DU Professor says private companies supply government with secret information

June 26, 2013

In the wake of news that the U.S. government conducts confidential surveillance of American's phone and internet use, Professor Deborah Avant spoke to Denver 9 News on how the government contracts this monitoring to private companies.

Professor Deborah Avant Receives Honorary Degree

May 28, 2013

On May 25, 2013, Professor Deborah Avant, Sié Chéou-Kang Chair for International Security and Diplomacy and Director of the Sié Center, received an honorary degree from the University of St. Gallen. The university honored her outstanding research in the field of international security as well as her contributions toward the establishment of national and international standards for the regulation of private military and security companies.

Special Issue of The Journal of Peace Research Explores Nonviolent Resistance

May 16, 2013

Today, The Journal of Peace and Research released a special issue on nonviolent resistance that seeks to advance scholarship and understanding of the use of nonviolent strategies and their relationship to the use of violence. The issue, edited by Erica Chenoweth and Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, features new theoretical and empirical explorations of the causes and consequences of nonviolent resistance with a particular focus on the power of civilians to affect conflict processes. Read More >>

Major General Buster Howes, Defense Attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, speaks to students at the Sié Center

May 14, 2013

Major General Buster Howes, the Defense Attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., offered his perspective, as a British soldier, on the current state of U.S. defense. Howes spoke on a number of topics including hot-button issues like the budget sequester and Syria. Read More >>

GATE Database Project Receives Support from the Government of Canada

May 9, 2013

Today, Vic Toews, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety, met with researchers and Air India victims' families to announce the successful recipients of the third round of funding from the Kanishka Project, worth over $1.7 million. The Kanishka Project is a multi-year investment from the Government of Canada in terrorism-focused research. Among the 11 projects receiving funding is the GATE Database initiative run by Erica Chenoweth and Laura Dugan. Read More >>

Erica Chenoweth Receives ADVANCE Grant for Work on Counterterrorism

May 7, 2013

Erica Chenoweth, an assistant professor at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies, has received a $20,000 ADVANCE grant, given by the National Science Foundation to promote scholarship by women. Read More >>

Erica Chenoweth Elected Councilor for the Peace Science Society (International)

May 6, 2013

Assistant Professor Erica Chenoweth was selected as one of eight councilors for the Peace Science Society (International). Chenoweth, who was elected by the organization's membership, will serve a four-year term. As a councilor, she will assist in the supervision of the PSS(I), an independent, nonprofit organization that encourages the development of peace analysis and conflict management.

NAVCO Dataset is Available for Download

May 6, 2013

The Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO) 2.0 dataset has been released for download. The NAVCO project is an attempt to provide researchers with data to understand the causes, dynamics, and outcomes of nonviolent mass campaigns. The project is the first of its kind to systematically explore the sequencing of tactics and their effects on the strategic outcomes of the campaigns, with the 2.0 dataset containing annual data on 250 nonviolent and violent mass movements for regime change, anti-occupation, and secession from 1945 to 2006. Download Data >>

"Statebuilding" by Timothy Sisk is Released

May 1, 2013

"Statebuilding" by Professor Timothy Sisk was published by Polity Press. In this book, Sisk explores international efforts to help the world's most fragile post-civil war countries today build viable states that can provide for security and deliver the basic services essential for development. Read More >>

Oliver Kaplan: "Land for Peace in Colombia: The Key to Ending Bogotá's War With the FARC"

April 15, 2013

Professor Oliver Kaplan co-authored an essay titled "Land for Peace in Colombia: The Key to Ending Bogotá's War With the FARC" in Foreign Affairs. Even as Colombian troops fight FARC rebels in the jungle, the two sides are busy negotiating a peace deal. Land reform could pave the way to a lasting settlement and drive down the country's inequality in the process. Read More >>

Erica Chenoweth Receives the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

April 11, 2013

Today in Louisville, Professor Erica Chenoweth received the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Erica Chenoweth, an assistant professor at the Korbel School of International Studies, and Maria Stephan, a lead foreign affairs officer with the U.S. State Department, earned the prize for the ideas set forth in their book, "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Non-Violent Conflict." Columbia University Press published the book in 2011. Watch Video >>

Erica Chenoweth Discusses Book Project with The Chronicle of Higher Education

April 5, 2013 

Professor Erica Chenoweth discussed her forthcoming book "Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism" with the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The idea behind her book is this: Democracy allows interest groups and political parties to flourish, which then leads to competition. Among those groups that feel most marginalized in the ensuing din, some take extreme measures in the pursuit of attention. In other words, the conventional wisdom that democracy is the antidote to terrorism—because it provides outlets for people's grievances—is completely wrong. Read More >>

Political Violence @ a Glance wins Award

April 5, 2013

Josef Korbel School of International Studies Assistant Professor Erica Chenoweth and University of San Diego Professor Barbara Walter won the 2013 Outstanding Achievement in International Studies Blogging Award for Most Promising New Blog.

Sié Center Hosts Panels on "Lessons from the Iraq War, 10 Years On"

April 3, 2013 

Over 200 students, professors, and community members from across Colorado filled the Anderson Academic Commons on Wednesday, April 3 for two panel discussions on "Lessons from the Iraq War, 10 Years On." Read More >>

Professor Tim Sisk Publishes Edited Volume on Statebuilding

March 20, 2013

Josef Korbel School Professor and Associate Dean of Research Timothy Sisk's edited volume Routledge Handbook of International Statebuilding, a compilation of analyses on the statebuilding regime written by leading scholars, was released. Read More >>

Ambassador Patricia Haslach visits Sié Chéou-Kang Center

March 04, 2013

On Monday, Ambassador Patricia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of State's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations visited the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. Read More >>

Deborah Avant Publishes op-ed, "Where are the socially responsible companies in the arms industry?"

February 13, 2013

In an op-ed for the GlobalPost, Deborah Avant discusses what a socially responsible company in the arms industry might look like and why a company might want to enact such behavior Read more >>

Oliver Kaplan Discusses how Communities use Nonviolent Strategies to Avoid Civil War Violence

January 30, 2013

As part of the Academic Webinar Series by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Oliver Kaplan discussed how communities from around the world have used nonviolent strategies to avoid perpetuating civil war violence. Read more >>

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies Visits the Sié Center

January 18, 2013

As part of the Public Diplomacy Speaker Series hosted by the Sié Chéou-Kang Center, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies spoke to students, staff and faculty on issues including human rights in North Korea, multilateral diplomacy and nuclear non-proliferation. Read more >>

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns Visits the Sié Center

January 9, 2013

The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy welcomed U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns to the Korbel School of International Studies on January 9 to speak to students, faculty and staff at a number of small and large gatherings. Burns, career ambassador, holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, and became deputy secretary of state in July 2011. Read more >>

Sié Fellow Ying Hui Tng Publishes Article on China's Interest in Sudan

January 7, 2013

In an article on Al Jazeera Online, Sié Fellow Ying Hui Tng discusses China's interest in Sudan, arguing that China "needs both countries," as South Sudan has the oil, and Sudan has the pipelines and refining equipment. Read more >>


2012 Sié Center News

2012 Sié Center News

Erica Chenoweth wins the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

November 27, 2012

Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and director of the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research at the Korbel School's Sié Center, was awarded the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Read more >>

"Academic Minute" Podcast Features Chenoweth Discussing the Success of Nonviolent Resistance Movements

November 6, 2012

In today's Academic Minute, the University of Denver's Erica Chenoweth explores the success rates of both violent and nonviolent resistance movements. Chenoweth is an assistant professor at Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies and co-author of "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict." Read more >>

Government Actions in a Terror Environment-Israel (GATE-Israel) Dataset is Released

November 1, 2012

Korbel School Professor Erica Chenoweth and Professor Laura Dugan from the University of Maryland released The Government Actions in a Terror Environment-Israel (GATE-Israel) Dataset, information they collected that provides insight into the effectiveness of government counterterrorism strategies.

Oliver Kaplan Publishes op-ed in New York Times, "Columbia's Rebels and Land Reform"

October 9, 2012

Colombia's stubborn insurgencies are creeping out of the jungle and to the negotiating table. Against the backdrop of recent intense fighting, the government of Colombia and the largest insurgent group that seeks to topple it—the FARC—have agreed to begin negotiations to end the nearly 50-year old conflict. Read more >>

Chenoweth Writes Article for CNN on Why Civil Resistance Trumps Violent Uprisings

September 19, 2012

In an op-ed for CNN, Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center, discusses why nonviolent resistance can often be more than twice as successful as its violent counterpart, even in the face of brutal regime repression. Read more >>

Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Visits the Sié Center

September 17, 2012

Cameron Munter, the former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, was welcomed by the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. The ambassador spent the day with students and faculty discussing their research projects as well his 28-year career of service, which includes tours in Pakistan, Iraq, Serbia and Germany. Read more >>

Dr. Avant discusses the Private Security Monitor project with the Maritime Security Review

September 6, 2012

Professor Deborah Avant spoke with the Maritime Security Review, an online source of maritime security information, about the Private Security Monitor Web portal, a research project that promotes access to information concerning the world-wide use and regulation of private military and security services. Read more >>

Sié Fellow Ying Hui Tng Publishes Article on China-Japan Island Dispute on Al Jazeera Online

August 31, 2012

Tng Ying Hui, Sié fellow and graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, published an interesting article in Al Jazeera Online on the recently reignited row over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. The islands, called the Diaoyu Islands in China and Senkaku Islands in Japan, have long been claimed by both countries. Read more >>

Sié Fellow David Mayen Writes op-ed in Denver Post

August 23, 2012

David Mayen, a recent graduate of the Korbel School and alum of the School's Sié Fellow Program, appeared as a guest commentator in today's Denver PostRead more >>

Erica Chenoweth Weighs in on New York Times Debate: What Makes Protest Effective?

August 21, 2012

The latest Room for Debate series in the New York Times features a number of scholars and writers discussing what it is, exactly, that makes protests effective. Erica Chenoweth—assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and coauthor of "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict"—contributed "Creative Nonviolence Can Defeat Repression," an article addressing the techniques that have made protests most effective in toppling repressive regimes throughout history. Read more >>

Erica Chenoweth Receives the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict

August 14, 2012

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has selected Korbel School Professor Erica Chenoweth and her co-author Maria J. Stephan of the U.S. State Department as the recipients of the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for their book "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict" (Columbia University Press). The Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award is given annually for the best book on government, politics or international affairs published in the U.S. during the previous calendar year. Read more >>

Private Security Monitor Web Portal Launches

August 13, 2012

The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver's Korbel School, in partnership with the Geneva-based Center for Democrtic Control of Armed Forces, (DCAF) has created an online Web portal containing all publicly available information on global private military and security services. The Web portal, called the Private Security Monitor, provides an annotated guide to publicly available regulation, data, reports, and analysis of private military and security services. Read more >>

Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace Merges with the Sié Center

August 10, 2012

Dean Christopher Hill announced the outcome of a review of research at the Josef Korbel School, which sees the erstwhile Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace (SDIP) at Korbel integrated into the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy.

Erica Chenoweth Publishes Study: "Conciliatory Tactics More Effective Than Punishment in Reducing Terrorism"

August 1, 2012

Policies that reward abstinence from terrorism are more successful in reducing such acts of violence than tactics that aim to punish terrorists, suggests a new study in the August issue of the American Sociological Review. Read more >>