A Note from Our Research Coordinator, Alessandra Radicati
Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 has been off to a great start for all of our readers and everyone at Columbia. This weekend, we will be celebrating a holiday that is sometimes overshadowed by the whirlwind of festivities in December – Martin Luther King Day. It is impossible to overstate Dr. King’s contribution to the way that we think about peace, conflict and nonviolence, as well as issues of structural inequality and economics. His legacy is important not only in this country, but has inspired people the world over. Despite this, it was a struggle to have this special day officially recognized, and it was not observed by all 50 states until only 13 years ago. I hope that everyone can take a moment on Monday to think about the meaning of the day, and the impact that Dr. King’s work continues to have on our civic and personal lives.
we have many exciting things coming up this winter that we are excited to share with you. First, the deadline for our Graduate Student Fellowship Program
is Monday, February 4; every year since 2009 we have been providing funding for Columbia graduate students working in areas related to conflict resolution, violence, sustainable development, and peace, and we are delighted to offer this opportunity once again. It is such an inspiration to see what these amazing students do with their fellowships, so we encourage you to read about previous fellows and access information about the application for 2013 on our website
We will hold our second annual Conflict Resolution Internship Fair
on Thursday, February 21st
, in 555 Alfred Lerner Hall. You can find up-to-date information about the participating organizations, registration and raffle prizes here
. We are excited to welcome yet again a diverse array of organizations- including nonprofits, international NGOs and government agencies – to Columbia, and we are confident that this will be a great opportunity for students to network and learn more about opportunities in this field. Keep in mind that the event is open to students from any university, so please feel free to invite your friends and acquaintances! On a related note, AC4
is looking for its own intern, to work on outreach and publicity. Applications are due on Friday, January 25, and instructions and materials can be found here
We are happy to welcome everyone back to Columbia for this first semester of 2013, and thanks again for tuning in to our newsletter.
Interview with Morton Deutsch, Professor Emeritus and Founder of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR)
This month, we are honored to bring you an interview with Dr. Morton Deutsch, one of the world's premiere social psychologists and a leading figure in the study of conflict resolution. Dr. Deutsch shared with us some details about the Global Community Forum, one of his new projects. There are plenty of ways for students to be involved, so we encourage you to read more about GCF here.
Can you tell us more about the Global Community Forum – what was your original vision and how have you developed it?
Recently, I prepared (with two colleagues) a chapter entitled, "A Framework for Thinking About Developing a Global Community", which appeared in Psychological Components of Sustainable Peace
, a book edited by Peter Coleman and myself. The chapter expressed my view that the people of planet earth faced global problems (climate change, war, and weapons of mass destruction, growing scarcity of many basic resources, economic disruption, etc.) which can only be addressed effectively by a cooperative, global community. I also thought that we have had very little intellectual work in the various disciplines that compose our universities on the many issues related to the formation and functioning of a global community. The Global Community Forum was formed with the vision that it might stimulate interest and intellectual work in Columbia University on these issues.
Many students know about your work in social psychology, which had enormous impact in the field– how do you see the relationship between the Global Community Forum and the rest of your research and academic career?
My work in social psychology on cooperation, conflict resolution, and justice – when extrapolated to global concerns – provides a very preliminary framework for how to form a global community with which people of the earth strongly identify.
The idea of Global Community seems to demand significant changes in the way people think about the world, and about academic disciplines – what challenges do you see to this project?
There are many obstacles and challenges to forming an effective cooperative global community. This is exactly why we need hard intellectual work in many disciplines to identify them and to develop ways of overcoming them.
What role do you envision students having in the Global Community Forum as it grows over the next few years?
My hope is that many students will become involved in this area – writing papers, doing dissertations, organizing meetings, developing careers in this important area.
Each year, the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4
) funds as many as 11 Columbia University graduate students conducting interdisciplinary research in areas addressing conflict, violence, peace-building and sustainable development (such projects might include- but are not limited to- doctoral students’ dissertation research, master’s students’ thesis research, or capstone projects). This year we will fund 10 students for up to $3,000
and one team of students for up to $6,000
. Team applicants must present a truly interdisciplinary research proposal. Students may not apply to both. For application requirements and materials please check our website
The deadline for submissions is February 4th, 2013.
Fellows will be announced in March 2013.
Questions may be directed to Alessandra Radicati at email@example.com
Interview with Joe Brown, AC4 Fellow, 2012 Cohort
There's still time to apply for the AC4 Graduate Student Fellowship for 2013! Applications are due Monday, February 4. In the meantime, we encourage you to read about our previous fellowship winners on our website, and to check out our newsletter interviews with members of the 2012 cohort. Last month, we had the chance to hear from Christine Webb. Joining us for January is Joe Brown from the Department of Political Science.
Can you describe your background, how you got interested in political science, and what brought you to undertake graduate study at Columbia?
I came from a music background originally. I studied theory, ethnomusicology, and performance as an undergraduate, and played the drums semi-professionally after college. I was always interested in politics, particularly international conflict and how it might be avoided or reduced by better communication. When I decided to get a PhD, Columbia was my first choice program, based on the faculty and their expertise in these areas.
What motivated you to apply for the AC4 Graduate Student Fellowship, and how did you hear about it?
I learned about the AC4 fellowship from one of my advisors. I'm researching situations in which militant or terrorist groups give warnings to the government, telling police that they've just planted a bomb so that police will evacuate people from that area. It's cooperative behavior that reduces harm within a conflict, but police have to trust the group communicating the warning to them. When I told my advisor that I wanted to do field research on this subject, she encouraged me to apply for AC4 support.
How did you use your funds? What impact did the fellowship have on your research?
I used my AC4 fellowship to support several weeks of field research in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I'm hoping to determine why bombers and police engage in these warning-and-response interactions in certain conflicts. With AC4 funding, I was able to interview former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) about why their group gave advance warnings before particular bombings. I also interviewed Northern Ireland police about the issue of communication, and how they were able to trust the IRA (at least to a degree). These interviews are critical data for my research.
What advice do you have for students applying for the AC4 Graduate Student Fellowship? What about more general pointers for graduate students hoping to do original research in the field of conflict resolution, violence prevention, etc.?
Students thinking about applying for the AC4 Graduate Student Fellowship should consider how their research relates to "Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity." It's easy to overlook ways in which your conflict-related topic actually involves a lot of cooperation, or in which your particular form of cooperation may be enabling conflicts elsewhere. Some of the most interesting research in the fields of violence prevention and conflict resolution will explore the interrelation of cooperation, conflict, and complexity.