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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Barbara Roth

Mershon graduate student affiliate Barbara Roth is one of five doctoral candidates from The Ohio State University to be awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship by the U.S. Department of Education, International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) office.

She will conduct research in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 12 months examining "Settlement Social Norms and Conflict Migration in Bosnia." Nationwide across all disciplines, only 90 Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships were awarded.

Roth won a 2018-19 student research grant from the Mershon Center. The abstract for her winning project is:

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Erik Nisbet

Olga Kamenchuk

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies is a co-sponsor for "Diplomatic Dialogue: Public opinion and public diplomacy in international relations," a one-day conference to be held on October 11, 2018, at the Gorchakov Foundation in Moscow.

Organized by Mershon affiliates Erik Nisbet and Olga Kamenchuk, co-directors of the Mershon Center's Eurasian Security and Governance Program, the conference will bring together mixed panels composed of top international and Russian experts speaking about the intersections of public diplomacy, public opinion, and foreign policy in each country and their relevance to U.S.-Russia foreign relations.

Among the questions to be considered are:

  • What role does the public opinion play in shaping foreign policy?
  • What are the risks of knowledge gaps in international relations?
  • What are the current and future perspectives for U.S.-Russia relations?

Leading researchers and experts from George Washington University, Ohio State's Mershon Center for International Security Studies, Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), Institute of World Economy and International Relations (Russian Academy of Sciences), Russian State University for the Humanities, St. Petersburg State University, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, Oklahoma State University School of Global Studies, and other institutions will discuss these issues at the conference.

Date: October 11, 2018; 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Venue: Gorchakov Fund, Moscow, 105064 Yakovoapostolsky pereulok, 10 str. 1
Working languages: Russian, English. Simultaneous translation is provided.
Register here

Peter Shane

When Mershon affiliate Peter Shane, Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law, was called upon by Democrats to testify at Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court, the hearings were set to begin in just 12 days. Shane had even less time to prepare his testimony: His remarks were due two days in advance, and of course, he still had to teach.

Shane thought accessibility would be of paramount importance to his presentation. “I often say that the hardest things for me to teach are the things that I know the most about,” he said. “The senators themselves are quite sophisticated, but they’re also using the arguments that they hear from witnesses to shape the public narrative about what the nomination represents—either for it or against it. It’s not really helpful to them to have a kind of jargon-laden legal memorandum, they need something that’s more accessible than that.”

Shane ultimately honed his testimony around a central point: It’s a perilous time in American politics to create the most executive power-indulgent Supreme Court since World War II. In his view, Kavanaugh’s confirmation would do just that. Referring to Kavanaugh as an “extreme presidentialist,” Shane cautioned that his nomination to the Supreme Court could effectively undermine President Donald Trump’s accountability to the rule of law.

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Joonghyun Kwak

Joonghyun Kwak is joining the Mershon Center for International Security Studies as a postdoctoral researcher working with Craig Jenkins on the Survey Data Recycling project. His primary mission is to develop analysis of data quality to assess the added value of international survey harmonization.

There is a wealth of international survey data that is rarely used because of the difficulties of constructing comparable measures over time and space. The Survey Data Recycling project is building a public access online database that harmonizes into comparable measures the major social, demographic and political variables from over 3,500 international surveys covering 24 major survey programs for over 142 countries covering 1966-2016.

A major product will be metadata measuring survey quality and a set of online analytic tools for evaluating, visualizing and managing these data. The project will create a Handbook for Survey Harmonization as well as research articles assessing the value-added from international survey harmonization.

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