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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mandela Washington Fellows at Mershon

Twenty-three Mandela Washington Fellows visited the Mershon Center on July 18, 2017, to speak with faculty members Rick Herrmann, Paul Beck, Vladimir Kogan and Alex Acs. Faculty briefed the fellows on the current state of American politics and foreign relations, while the fellows asked questions about how they can take what they learned back home.

For the second consecutive year, The Ohio State University is one of just 38 academic institutions across the United States hosting a cohort of 25 Mandela Washington Fellows. The fellows are participating in a six-week public management and leadership institute from June 16 – July 28 organized by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and the Center for African Studies. Ohio State’s program weaves a sequence of leadership development modules into the institute’s classroom activities, site visits, community service, cultural immersion, and professional networking opportunities, both on and off campus.

The Washington Mandela Fellows are men and women between 25 and 35, who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their respective organizations by being engaged in community development and youth mentorship. Learn more about this year's fellows in their online bio-book (pdf).

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Peter Hahn, professor of history and divisional dean for the arts and humanities, was honored by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) with its first Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes Hahn's tenure as SHAFR's executive director from 2002 to 2015. Last fall, he was elected vice president of SHAFR and will take over as president next year.

"Peter has been almost certainly the most important single person in the distinguished history of our organization," SHAFR's council said. Hahn has "for years infused SHAFR with his deep moral integrity and steadfast courtesy and concern for others."

One past-president observed that Hahn “in effect ran the organization, served as its institutional memory, and oversaw its enormous expansion, and as such he is largely responsible for its success.” Other former presidents who worked closely with Hahn recall his “extraordinary administrative competence” and his “reassuring unflappability.”

The Distinguished Service Award was established in response to demand from SHAFR's membership.

Bear Braumoeller

Study finds capable governments more important than weather

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country’s government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

“A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather,” said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

While previous studies had examined the impact of climate change-induced weather patterns on violence and the increased danger of violence in weak or failing states, this is the first study to demonstrate that the combination of the two risk factors is even more dangerous than they would be separately.

Braumoeller conducted the study with his former doctoral students Benjamin Jones, now at the University of Mississippi, and Eleonora Mattiacci, now at Amherst College.

Their results appear in the Journal of Peace Research.

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tokdemirphoto orig

The Mershon Center has a new visiting scholar for 2017-18 academic year: Efe Tokdemir, a postdoctoral fellow with International Studies Association’s James N. Rosenau Fellowship, who will be working on projects examining causes and consequences of non-violent strategies of both state and non-state actors at the micro-level.

Tokdemir’s research interests lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. His primary research agenda examines how state and non-state actors strategically develop policies in relation to their audience in order to achieve their goals, and how individuals respond to these policies in return. While he focuses on the impacts of state actors' foreign policies to win "hearts and minds'" abroad in his dissertation, he also studies violent non-state actors' reputation-building strategies by bridging individual- and group-level studies.

Tokdemir received his Ph.D. (2017) and M.A. (2015) in political science from Binghamton University, SUNY; and B.A. (2012) in political science and international relations from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. His work has so far appeared in various journals including Journal of Peace Research, Conflict Management and Peace Science, International Political Science Review, and Electoral Studies.