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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Janet Parrott

Kevin McClatchy

"Responsibility, Morality and the Costs of War: PTSD, Moral Injury and Beyond" was a major interdisciplinary symposium that blended performing and visual arts with leading research to explore the costs of war. Organized by Kevin McClatchy and Janet Parrott of the Department of Theatre, the symposium took place November 12-14, 2015, at The Ohio State University.

A grant from the Mershon Center allowed organizers to bring speakers, artists and panelists, including keynote speaker Jonathan Shay, as well as featured participants Genevieve Chase, Heather Courtney, Dominic Fredianelli and Bianca Sams. The three-day event spoke to the challenges that confront veterans from the numerous sites of conflict around the world. See a slideshow of photos from the symposium (sound included) below.

Among the highlights:

  • Jonathan Shay, author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, delivered the keynote address.
  • Emmy and Independent Spirit award-winning filmmaker Heather Courtney screened her film "Where Soldiers Come From," and participated in a panel discussion that included the film’s subject, artist and veteran Dominic Fredianelli.
  • The Department of Theatre’s Lesley Ferris directed staged readings from "Rust on Bone" and interviewed its author playwright Bianca Sams.
  • Genevieve Chase, combat veteran and founder of American Women Veterans, spoke on “My Greater Jihad.”
  • McClatchy performed his solo play, "Scrap Heap," about a Special Forces veteran grappling with his transition to civilian life.

The goal of the symposium was to "bring a diverse collection of people together to share with each other, learn from one another and embark on new ways of thinking, seeing or communicating," McClatchy said. Organizers asked participants "to break new ground in terms of how they experience the costs of war and investigate how the costs of war reverberate within the individual, the community, throughout a nation and on a global stage."

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Wendy Hesford

Amy Shuman

Mershon affiliates Amy Shuman and Wendy Hesford hosted the first "Human Rights and the Humanities" student summer travel and study program, which included four students (three English majors and one International Studies major) and the assistance of one English graduate student.

Participants of the five-day study program, held June 12-16, 2016, attended film screenings at this year's Human Rights Watch Film Festival at the Walter Reed Theatre at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, attended the "Human Rights in the Age of Ambiguity" conference at Fordham University, and explored the archives at Columbia University's Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research.

Among the films that the group screened were "Desperate Journey," about asylum seekers arriving in Europe by sea; "The Crossing," which focused on a group of Syrian refugees; and "The Uncondemned," about the lawyers, activists, and Rwandan women who fought to have rape recognized as a war crime.

Students also attended panels on the Syrian refugee crisis and virtual reality and human rights. At the Fordham University conference, students attended panels on a range of topics, including a debate between Stephen Hopgood and Samuel Moyn about international human rights theory, panels on LGBTQI Rights, and the politics of immigration. They were able to hear a keynote presentation by a former acting UN high commissioner for human rights.

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Zachary Mears

Ohio State University and Battelle have teamed to hire national security expert Zachary Mears for a joint position.

Mears began as assistant vice president for national security and research programs at Ohio State’s Office of Research and as senior advisor at Battelle on August 1, 2016. The position allows him to help the university and Battelle develop and implement a strategic relationship management plan related to national security research.

Mears will lead the expansion of collaborative research projects, scientific and educational programs and business development opportunities at Ohio State to further the collaborative relationship between the university and Ohio-based federal national security programs.

His primary focus will be on the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He will also work to develop teams of internal and external partners to identify major state and federal funding opportunities.

Mears received his Ph.D. in political science from Ohio State in 2009 with a dissertation on “Presidents, the Public, and American Foreign Policy Behavior,” working with Mershon Center director Richard Herrmann. He was Mershon associate in Washington from 2010-12.

Prior to joining Ohio State, Mears served as the deputy chief of staff to the secretary of defense and chief of staff to the deputy secretary of defense. He advised the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on national priorities and managed their implementation.

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The Ohio State University is one of 36 academic institutions across the United States that is hosting a cohort of 25 Mandela Washington Fellows from the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The fellows are participating in a six-week academic and leadership institute on Ohio State’s main campus.

Last week the 25 Mandela fellows at Ohio State visited with Mershon faculty members Paul Beck, John Carlarne, Rick Herrmann, and Dorothy Noyes to learn about American politics and international relations and to relay their thoughts about how U.S. foreign policy affects their countries. See a slideshow of photos from the meeting below.

The Mandela fellowship provides 1,000 young leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 from Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

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