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Longtime Mershon Affiliate Chad Alger Dies at 89

March 13, 2014

Longtime Mershon Affiliate Chad Alger Dies at 89


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).

At the Mershon Center he worked on two main projects:

  • The United Nations System, with emphasis on providing an overview of its emerging roles in long-term peace building and the growing participation of civil society (including non-governmental organizations), local governments and business.
  • Peace Studies as a Transdisciplinary Project, an effort to provide a comprehensive overview of growing knowledge about strategies for preventing violence, for post-violence peace building, and for long-term peace building.  One goal of the project is to illuminate the fact that “there are peace tasks for everybody.”

Alger is the author of 15 books, including three from Springer Press this past year, and more than 100 articles on the UN System, peace building, and conflict resolution.  He was also past president of the International Studies Association, and had affiliations with the American Political Science Association, Peace Research Association, and other organizations.

ISA now offers the annual Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book on the subject of international organization and multilateralism.  Past recipients include Mershon affiliate Alexander Thompson, who won for his book Channels of Power: The UN Security Council and U.S. Statecraft in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2009).

Before coming to Ohio State, Alger was a professor of political science at Northwestern University from 1958-71.  He earned a bachelors in political science from Ursinus College in 1949, a masters at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins in 1950, and a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1957.

Alger served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation radioman in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946, and as a naval intelligence officer from 1950 to 1954.  Military service generated an interest in international relations, guiding his education and career through a lifetime.

Alger is survived by his children, Mark (Rebecca), Scott, Laura (Rich) Carter and Craig; and grandchildren, Ryan Alger and Chad, Ross and Sam Carter.

A memorial service will take place on Friday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at the Audubon Center, 505 W. Whittier St. in Columbus.  The Ohio State community is encouraged to attend.  Messages and inquiries may be sent to his family via his daughter, Laura, at lrcarter@sprintmail.com.