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Mershon Center for International Security Studies


Chadwick Alger, professor emeritus of political science and public policy at the Mershon Center, passed away on February 15, 2014, at the age of 89.

Alger, an authority on peacebuilding and the United Nations system, joined the political science faculty of The Ohio State University in 1971, where he did teaching and research for more than 40 years.

Alger’s areas of expertise included:

  • global problem-solving by international governmental and non-governmental organizations, primarily focused on the United Nations System;
  • the world relations of local people, governments and organizations;
  • inventory and evaluation of available "tools" and strategies for peace building.

Subjects of his research included decision-making in the U.N. General Assembly, the role of non-governmental organizations in the struggle for human rights and economic well-being, evolving roles of NGOs in U.N. decision-making, potential roles of the U.N. System in the 21st century, religion as a peace tool, the expanding tool chest for peace builders, and why the United States needs the U.N. System.

Alger was director of the Mershon Program in Transnational Intellectual Cooperation in the Policy Sciences (1971-81) and director of the Mershon Program in World Relations (1982-91).

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Bear Braumoeller

Mershon affiliate Bear Braumoeller is the recipient of the 2013-14 J. David Singer Book Award Committee for ISA-Midwest.  The award was given for Braumoeller's book The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. This award is given every other year to the author of an outstanding book published in the previous three years.

Braumoeller's book asks the question: Do great leaders make history? Or are they compelled to act by historical circumstance? This debate has remained unresolved since Thomas Carlyle and Karl Marx framed it in the mid-19th century, yet implicit answers inform our policies and our views of history. In this book, Braumoeller argues persuasively that both perspectives are correct: Leaders shape the main material and ideological forces of history that subsequently constrain and compel them.  His studies of the Congress of Vienna, the interwar period, and the end of the Cold War illustrate this dynamic, and the data he marshals provide systematic evidence that leaders both shape and are constrained by the structure of the international system

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Each year the student Peace Studies Society at Ohio State organizes a speaking event and awards ceremony to recognize the efforts of undergraduates who have contributed to the cause of peace and justice.

This year almost 70 people attended a half-day conference held January 24 at the Mershon Center. 

Sessions at the conference included "Speak Peace in a World of Conflict," with Tom Carlisi and Jeff Brown of the Center for Compassionate Communication, and "Peace through Service in Rotary," with the Rotaract Club of OSU.

A human rights panel and discussion included Patrick Coy, director of the Center for Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University; Julie Hart, professor of sociology and peace and justice at Ohio Dominican University; and John Carlarne, peace studies coordinator at the Mershon Center.

Integral to the conference was the Student Peace Award, given by the Peace Studies Society with support from the Mershon Center.  Lauren Chen (pictured), a biomedical science major at Ohio State, was recognized for her work to empower children in the slums of Lenana, Kenya, through education and civic engagement.  

Students applied or were nominated through an online process in which they were asked to describe their contributions to peace in the local and global community. The award supports students with a $250 scholarship. 

For more information about the Student Peace Conference and Peace Awards, including links to workshop packets and a photo album, please see the event web page.

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Chuck Hermann

The Mershon Center welcomes a new visiting scholar this year -- or perhaps we should say we are welcoming him back.

Charles F. Hermann (Chuck), now at Texas A&M, has a long history at The Ohio State University, where he was a member of the Department of Political Science, and at the Mershon Center, where he served first as associate director beginning in 1970 and then as director from 1980 to 1995.

After leaving Ohio State, Hermann became founding director of the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he now is the Brent Scowcroft Chair in International Policy Studies and International Affairs.

Hermann will speak at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, on "Critical Foreign Policy Decisions: Continue or Change Course?" Registration is now open for this event.

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