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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mitch Lerner

Mitchell Lerner, Mershon affiliate, associate professor of history, and director of Ohio State’s Institute for Korean Studies, is part of a major effort sponsored by the Korea Foundation to develop and coordinate Korean studies courses for undergraduate students at Big Ten Universities in partnership with colleagues in the Big Ten’s Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

The Korea Foundation, an independent organization affiliated with the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promotes academic and cultural exchange programs to enhance the image of Korea in the world.

Lerner specializes in North Korean policy and security studies and through that work became interested in South Korea, which he says, is, "poised to become one of the world's movers and shakers. It increasingly is assuming a significant position in world affairs, in politics and security, in economics and culture.

"Since I became director of Ohio State’s Institute for Korean Studies two years ago, I’ve seen a growing need to increase awareness of Korea as an emerging global power," Lerner said.  

"This new grant allows us to do just that. By tapping into the knowledge and expertise of Korean scholars at Ohio State and at other CIC universities we are able to collaborate in creating dynamic new courses for our undergraduates. It is a great opportunity to increase awareness and prepare our students for full engagement with a global community that will more and more involve partnerships with Korea."

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In August, environmental historian Nicholas Breyfogle left the library behind and embarked upon the first leg of a challenging far-flung adventure, which he hopes will become a model for the way environmental history is studied.

Breyfogle, Mershon affiliate and associate professor of history, is part of a new network of cross-disciplinary, transnational researchers who are exploring three of the most interesting ecological and human sites in the former Soviet Union: the Solovetskie Islands, Chernobyl and Lake Baikal.

"Each site represents a very distinct and important ecological region and presents different sets of questions about the human-environment relationships over time, challenging us to apply new ways of thinking and research," Breyfogle said.

The four-year project, funded by Great Britain’s Leverhulme Trust, "is designed to expand significantly our understandings of Russian environmental history and resource use — topics that are of tremendous importance today," Breyfogle said. "Russia, with its vast landscapes, forests, water reserves, minerals, and oil and gas, will be a determining player in how our planet and the humans on it change in the coming years."

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Former Mershon Center affiliate Ted Hopf has won the Marshall Shulman Book Prize for Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958 (Oxford University Press, 2012).

The prize is awarded annually by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies for an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. It is dedicated to the encouragement of high quality studies of the international behavior of the countries of the former Communist Bloc.

The Shulman Prize, sponsored by the Harriman Institute of Columbus University, carries a cash award and will be presented at the association's annual convention in November.

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Esther Gottlieb

John Carlarne

Mershon affiliates Esther Gottlieb and John Carlarne have won a Public Education for Peacebuilding Support grant from the United States Institute for Peace for their project "Business for Peace Collaboratory."

Through this project, Gottlieb and Carlarne seek to establish an online laboratory where Ohio State students and scholars can collaborate with Ohio businesspeople, policymakers, and peace practitioners.  The goal is to think strategically about how business affects peace and how peace and conflict impact profitability and competitiveness.

The project will also include agencies and advocacy groups such as the Ohio Development Services Agency, Columbus  Council of World Affairs, and Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

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