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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Study: Salty soil drives changes in agriculture, migration

Chen Joyce

Rising sea levels driven by climate change make for salty soil, and that is likely to force about 200,000 coastal farmers in Bangladesh inland as glaciers melt into the world’s oceans, according to estimates from a new study.

Frequent flooding with salt water is already pushing farmers in Bangladesh to shift from growing rice to raising shrimp and other seafood, but not all coastal residents will be able to stay put and maintain their agricultural livelihoods, said study co-lead author Joyce Chen, an affiliate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University.

“Unfortunately, this is likely to be most challenging for those farming families who have the fewest resources to begin with,” said Chen, an associate professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics.

The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Skyler Cranmer Bear Braumoeller

Research by four Mershon Center affiliates is featured in the Autumn 2018 issue of Ascent, published by the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State.

Bear Braumoeller, associate professor of political science, and Skyler Cranmer, Carter Phillips and Sue Henry Associate Professor of Political Science, were interviewed for "The Science of Peace," taking aim at conventional wisdom on war and peace.

For Braumoeller, recent scholarly works and popular books advancing the decline of war and violence are troubling. “That theory and the evidence used to support it left me with a nagging little itch that something might not be quite right,” he said.

Similarly, Cranmer is skeptical of people who write off the United Nations as a paper tiger. “I don’t like assumptions,” he said. “I wanted to determine whether the U.N. really fulfills its mission of suppressing conflict.”

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Teri Murphy

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies has a new peace studies coordinator on staff by way of Northern Ireland.

Teri Murphy was most recently deputy executive director at Corrymeela Peace Center, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization. There she oversaw an analytic review of peacebuilding programming and facilitated development of a consensus-driven strategic plan; supervised 35 full-time staff and 25 volunteers; and managed a £1.5 million budget.

The experience positions her well for the peace studies coordinator role, which is split between the Mershon Center and the International Studies Program. For Mershon, Murphy will work with Christopher Gelpi, Chair in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, to develop, plan, execute and supervise peace-related programming and educational activities, including conferences and speaker panels; cultivate, expand and sustain collaborative partnerships with community organizations; and supervise peace-related student groups and activities.

Her activities will develop a bridge between the academic research fostered at the Mershon Center and the central Ohio community, both inside and outside Ohio State, interested in the promotion of peace at the local, national, and international levels.

Additionally, Murphy will teach three undergraduate courses each year for the International Studies Program’s Peace Studies minor. Along with the director of the International Studies Progam, she will shape the program in peace studies, developing courses that could eventually transform the minor into a major at Ohio State.

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Laura Madokoro

The 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution is a subject of inexhaustible historical interest, but the plight of millions of Chinese who fled China during this tumultuous period has been largely forgotten.

Laura Madokoro recovers the history of China’s 20th century refugees in Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War (Harvard University Press, 2016), winner of the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award, given annually by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

Madokoro will speak about "On Refuge: The Politics of Race and Humanitarianism" at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2018, at the Mershon Center, 1501 Neil. Ave. Read more and register at go.osu.edu/madokorol

Focusing on humanitarian efforts to find new homes for Chinese displaced by civil strife, Madokoro points out a constellation of factors — entrenched bigotry in countries originally settled by white Europeans, the spread of human rights ideals, and the geopolitical pressures of the Cold War — which coalesced to shape domestic and international refugee policies that still hold sway today.

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