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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

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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Michelle O'Brien

Michelle O'Brien is joining the Mershon Center for International Security Studies as a postdoctoral researcher. Her current research focuses on the consequences of exposure to armed conflict and violent events for individual and institutional change.

O'Brien's dissertation examined these consequences for education, migration, and abortion in Tajikistan after the 1992-1997 civil war. In a collaborative project, she used agent-based modeling to understand how individual and community-level processes contribute to long-term social change after the 1996-2006 Maoist rebellion in Nepal.

O'Brien is most recently the author of "Migration as an Adaptive Response to Ethnic Nationalism in Russia," in Migration Studies, in which she finds that ethnic minorities in Russia are more likely to out-migrate when faced with hate crimes and ethnic nationalist politics.

During her time at the Mershon Center, O'Brien will work with Mershon affiliate Hollie Nyseth Brehm and Kammi Schmeer, both from the Department of Sociology, on a project investigating the long-term social and demographic consequences of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Michelle has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington.

Peter Mansoor

Mershon affiliate Peter Mansoor will be featured in "Will the Forever War Ever End?," an upcoming event to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and their ongoing legacy in the United States.

Sponsored by WOSU Public Media and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, the event will feature an interview with Mansoor by Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News. It will take place Tuesday, September 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road.

On Patriot’s Day, this dialogue will consider whether the “Forever War” will ever end. What does the commitment of troops in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa mean for national security at home and abroad? What could be a strategy for ending a war on terror that has transformed into an endless war?

Enjoy complimentary light hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks prior to the program in the theater lobby starting at 5 p.m. The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. Registration is $15 for general admission and $5 for students, with student ID required at check-in. Tickets can be purchased here.

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