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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Hollie Nyseth Brehm, assistant professor, sociology, is the lead author of a new study finding that perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda were most likely to be males in their mid-30a.

“We were surprised that perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda were, on average, 34 years old,” said Brehm. “Much research in criminology would point toward much younger participants — late adolescence and early 20s — in most any form of crime.”

While working with Rwanda’s national genocide prevention commission, Brehm obtained access to the country’s court records. Those records hold information about who participated in the genocide. Working with colleagues Christopher Uggen at the University of Minnesota and Jean-Damascene Gasanabo in Rwanda — the only team in the world with access to these data — Brehm analyzed almost 2 million Rwandan convictions.

In studying the genocide, Brehm and her team found that men between the ages of 18 and 45 were responsible for 75 percent of the Rwandan atrocities, representing a demographic slice that does not reflect the age or gender distribution of Rwanda’s larger population.

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Randall Schweller, professor of political science, has been named editor-in-chief for a three-year term of Security Studies, a top 25 journal in international relations. The journal's editorial office will be at the Mershon Center, 

Security Studies publishes innovative scholarly manuscripts that make a significant contribution – whether theoretical, empirical, or both – to our understanding of international security. The journal features articles that develop, test, and debate theories of international security – that is, articles that address an important research question, display innovation in research, contribute in a novel way to a body of knowledge, and demonstrate theoretical development with state-of-the art use of appropriate methodological tools.

The journal publishes articles that challenge the conventional wisdom in the area of international security studies. Security Studies includes a wide range of topics ranging from nuclear proliferation and deterrence, civil-military relations, strategic culture, ethnic conflicts and their resolution, epidemics and national security, democracy and foreign-policy decision making, developments in qualitative and multi-method research, and the future of security studies.

Journal Citations Report ranks Security Studies 29th out of 86 in the International Relations (social science) category, with an Impact Factor of 1.056.

The managing editor for Security Studies will be Marina Duque, doctoral student in political science.


Since World War II, nations have operated under the consensus that territorial aggression and conquest of one state by another should be prohibited.  While this has greatly reduced conflict between states, it also may have resulted in an unintended consequence: a proliferation of failed states where government is dysfunctional, social ties are lacking, and civil war is common.

This argument is set forth by Boaz Atzili, associate professor in the School of International Service at American University, in his first book, Good Fences, Bad Neighbors: Border Fixity and International Conflict.

The book, published by University of Chicago Press in 2012, is winner of the Mershon Center’s Edgar S. Furniss Book Award.  The winning author receives a cash grant and is invited to speak about the book at Mershon Center.

Atzili will speak on Monday, October 6, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.  Registration is at go.osu.edu/atzilib.

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Each year, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies holds about 50 speaker events and conferences that reach more than 3,000 attendees from across Ohio State and the Central Ohio community. 

Besides attending an event in person, you may also be able to view it on streaming video and podcast, provided the speaker has given permission to record the event.  Over the past 10 years, the Mershon Center has built a library of almost 500 event recordings, which are available in two areas:

  • Events from Fall 2008 forward are now available under Events on the Mershon Center website at http://mershoncenter.osu.edu.  You can browse by month using the dropdown menu to the left on the Events page, or search for a speaker name or keyword in the website search function.
  • All past events are available in the Mershon Center community of the Knowledge Bank, an online archive sponsored by the Ohio State Libraries and Office of the Chief Communications Officer.  You can browse the Events section of the community or search by name or keyword at https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/29318.  You can also access the Knowledge Bank by clicking on the link in the footer that appears at the bottom of every page on the Mershon Center website.

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