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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

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Skyler Cranmer, Carter Phillips and Sue Henry Associate Professor of Political Science and affiliate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Ohio State Discovery Themes' Translational Data Analytics, is co-author of a new study finding that the United Nations acts more than just a bystander to world events.

Instead, Cranmer and collaborator Scott Pauls, professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College, found that the UN "provides a forum where diplomacy reduces the chance of war."

The study appears in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. Their study is the first to present evidence that UN voting coalitions improve chance for peace and defensive alliances, not democratization.

In addition to analyzing the UN’s effectiveness at preventing war, Cranmer and Pauls also used General Assembly voting records for more than 65 years to assess the organization’s impact on the spread of democracy and the building of defensive alliances. The review of 5,143 UN General Assembly voting records from 1946 through 2011 found that the process of nations working together over time builds trust and facilitates fast, transparent communication that raises the chance of resolving crises peacefully.

"There is more nuance in voting records than was previously thought," said Cranmer. "The evidence demonstrates that the UN is more effective at achieving its mandate of avoiding wars than many experts think."

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Maciek SlomczynskiCraig Jenkins

Mershon affiliates Craig Jenkins, senior research scientist and professor emeritus of sociology, along with Maciek Slomczynski, professor emeritus of sociology, and Irina Tomescu-Dubrow, visiting scholar in sociology, have received a four-year, $1.4 million award from the National Science Foundation for the project, “Survey Data Recycling: New Analytic Framework, Integrated Database and Tools for Cross-National Social, Behavioral and Economic Research,” starting Sept. 1, 2017.

The award will support the development of a harmonized database derived from more than 3,000 national surveys administered over five decades to more than 3.5 million respondents from more than 150 countries. The project will enable innovative data-intensive research on major substantive topics of social science interest and advances the fields of comparative methodology and of survey data harmonization. Additional principal investigators include Spyros Blanas and Han-Wei Shen from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The award grew out of a conference held at the Mershon Center in May, "Democracy, the State and Protest: International Perspectives on Methods for the Study of Protest," organized by Jenkins, Slomczynski, and Tomescu-Dubrow. The event examined the relationship between protest and democracy, with an emphasis on measurement and methodology. 

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Mandela Washington Fellows at Mershon

Twenty-three Mandela Washington Fellows visited the Mershon Center on July 18, 2017, to speak with faculty members Rick Herrmann, Paul Beck, Vladimir Kogan and Alex Acs. Faculty briefed the fellows on the current state of American politics and foreign relations, while the fellows asked questions about how they can take what they learned back home.

For the second consecutive year, The Ohio State University is one of just 38 academic institutions across the United States hosting a cohort of 25 Mandela Washington Fellows. The fellows are participating in a six-week public management and leadership institute from June 16 – July 28 organized by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and the Center for African Studies. Ohio State’s program weaves a sequence of leadership development modules into the institute’s classroom activities, site visits, community service, cultural immersion, and professional networking opportunities, both on and off campus.

The Washington Mandela Fellows are men and women between 25 and 35, who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their respective organizations by being engaged in community development and youth mentorship. Learn more about this year's fellows in their online bio-book (pdf).

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Peter Hahn, professor of history and divisional dean for the arts and humanities, was honored by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) with its first Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes Hahn's tenure as SHAFR's executive director from 2002 to 2015. Last fall, he was elected vice president of SHAFR and will take over as president next year.

"Peter has been almost certainly the most important single person in the distinguished history of our organization," SHAFR's council said. Hahn has "for years infused SHAFR with his deep moral integrity and steadfast courtesy and concern for others."

One past-president observed that Hahn “in effect ran the organization, served as its institutional memory, and oversaw its enormous expansion, and as such he is largely responsible for its success.” Other former presidents who worked closely with Hahn recall his “extraordinary administrative competence” and his “reassuring unflappability.”

The Distinguished Service Award was established in response to demand from SHAFR's membership.