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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

The Ohio State University is one of 36 academic institutions across the United States that is hosting a cohort of 25 Mandela Washington Fellows from the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The fellows are participating in a six-week academic and leadership institute on Ohio State’s main campus.

Last week the 25 Mandela fellows at Ohio State visited with Mershon faculty members Paul Beck, John Carlarne, Rick Herrmann, and Dorothy Noyes to learn about American politics and international relations and to relay their thoughts about how U.S. foreign policy affects their countries. See a slideshow of photos from the meeting below.

The Mandela fellowship provides 1,000 young leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 from Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

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The Mershon Center for International Security Studies seeks artwork to display in our newly remodeled breakroom space on the first floor of our building, 1501 Neil Ave., at the corner of Neil and Eighth.

The Mershon Center fosters interdisciplinary faculty and student research with a focus on national security and global peace and conflict. We sponsor conferences and events that feature internationally renowned speakers, faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from across campus and within the local community to advance the study of national security in a global context. Our faculty brings a wealth of experience and academic expertise from a wide variety of disciplines, including political science, history, sociology, law, comparative studies, and philosophy.

We invite artists to submit artwork that would be appropriate for an academic space; any style and/or medium is welcome, with the exception of large sculptures as to not impede the functionality of the space. Artists will also have the opportunity to sell their art, and the center would not take a commission. While we will accept submissions from any artist, preferential consideration will go to artwork with themes centered on peace, security, international conflict, identity, and citizenship.

Submissions for art to be displayed in the Mershon Center breakroom will be accepted on a rolling basis, as the artwork will be changed periodically and as pieces are sold. To submit artwork for consideration, please send a photo or photos of the piece along with a statement about it that includes the title, size, and medium to Kyle McCray at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have any questions, please contact Kyle McCray at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 614-806-1122.

Erik Nisbet

Not if people mostly watch cat videos, study suggests

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While events like the Arab Spring brought hope that the internet could inspire the growth of democracy in authoritarian countries, a new study offers a reality check.

Researchers studying Russian and Ukrainian internet users found that their demand for democratic reforms in their countries depended on what they were doing when they connected to the web.

Those who were on the internet primarily to get news and share political opinions with others were most likely to demand more democracy in their countries.

Those who visited the web mostly for entertainment purposes – such as watching cat videos – were less likely to say they wanted more democracy in their countries and believed they had more democracy than they actually did.

While it’s not surprising that people who use the internet mostly for entertainment aren’t tuned into politics, this study shows something more than that, said Mershon affiliate Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study and associate professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“In our study, people who used the internet for entertainment actually thought they had more democracy than they did. That means they actually showed more support for the authoritarian leaders in their country,” Nisbet said.

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Margaret Ellen Newell

Mershon affiliate Margaret Ellen Newell, professor and vice chair at the Department of History, has received the 2016 James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). The award, presented annually for the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the U.S., was given to Newell for her book, Brethren By Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery (Cornell University Press, 2015).

“I’m honored to receive this award,” she said. “The book examines the significance of Indian slavery in colonial New England, where colonists enslaved thousands of Indians in the 1600s and 1700s. Indian slavery also shaped how African slavery developed in the colonies.”

Newell drew on letters, diaries, newspaper reports and court records for information. “I wanted to recover the slaves’ own stories and show how they influenced New England society. Many Indian slaves lived closely with the English families, raising their children, cooking their meals and manning colonial armies and farms. Of course, slavery had devastating effects on Indian communities. English colonists exported some New England Indians to the Caribbean and even to North Africa.”

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