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Mershon Center for International Security Studies


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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Climate, Security, Health and Resilience graphic

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies and the Byrd Polar Research Center are joining forces to develop a multiyear initiative to bring together faculty and graduate students to study the impact of climate on human health, international security, and resilience of societies. 

The Climate, Security, Health and Resilience initiative will sponsor a series of outside speakers, internally focused workshops and leading edge conferences focused on integrating what is known about a range of major topics regarding climate and society. 

The project will bring together an interdisciplinary world-class cohort of Ohio State experts – including climatologists, geographers, sociologists, political scientists, legal experts, medical scientists, and historians -- who both study the climate itself and assess its impacts on society.

Unique to the CSHR initiative is its two complementary approaches on past and future.  On the one hand, project leaders seek to “rewind” the tape of history to study similar climate-induced catastrophes in the past; on the other, they hope to “fast forward” the tape to attempt predictions of what might happen in the future based on our best understanding and climate models.

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