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This issue includes the latest news from the Advanced Consortium on Conflict, Cooperation and Complexity at Columbia University's Earth Institute, including: 
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Providing you with the latest news in conflict, violence prevention, peace and sustainability at Columbia University

February 3, 2015

Welcome to the spring semester!

We’re kicking things off with some exciting news regarding AC4’s Dr. Josh Fisher and his new appointment as AC4 Director. We’re also talking to Dr. Morton Deutsch, founder of Columbia University’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR); we will be celebrating his 95th birthday this week and here he shares with us more about his ongoing, pioneering work.

Of course, we’ll then talk about current opportunities and a few upcoming events!

New Year, New Director

Dr. Peter Coleman and Beth Yoshida-Fisher, Faculty Co-Chairs of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4), announced the appointment of Josh Fisher as the Director of AC4 at the end of Fall 2014. The announcement came on the heels of a tremendous year for the Consortium, which is housed within Columbia’s Earth Institute and has a rising reputation of engaging with the complexity of conflict, peace and sustainability, and also of engaging thought leaders on the crucial but neglected challenges and opportunities arising from this effort.

Dr. Fisher is taking the position of Director after a two-year position as Earth Institute postdoctoral fellow for the center. Dr. Fisher received his Ph.D in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, where he studied the ecological drivers of armed conflict. His work coupled geospatial statistics, remote sensing, and econometric modeling to develop spatially explicit forecast models of the likelihood of armed conflict. He holds a MS in Political Science and a BS in International Law and Environmental Policy. He has worked with conservation organizations, private sector firms, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on natural resource governance and biodiversity conservation issues. Dr. Fisher's current work focuses on natural resource management and governance as tools for conflict prevention. In addition to teaching graduate courses and executive trainings on environmental conflict resolution and environmental impact assessment at Columbia, he has ongoing applied projects in countries in South America, Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

He will continue to lead partnership, projects and research initiatives as Director, in addition to collaborating with the Faculty Co-Chairs to drive the Consortium’s strategic development and external affairs, oversee growth of AC4 Fellows program and produce a regular series of events bridging theory, science and practice circles and bringing wider audiences into scientific conversations on peace, conflict and sustainable development.
 

Dr. Fisher will continue to raise the Consortium’s profile and reach. Under his lead, the Consortium has already launched several new and innovative programs, including the Sustainable Human Development Project in partnership with the Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies in the Basque Country. Built on the success of AC4’s previous programs, this program carries scientific research and public education aimed at charting a course through the peace-building involved in sustainable development. This reorganized and talented management team is poised to take AC4 into its next phase of growth. 
 
Since taking on the role of Director, Dr. Fisher has presented his work on Developing Conflict-Sensitive Management Strategies in Private Conservation Concessions in the Amazon at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia in November 2014. He has also represented the Earth Institute at the Extractive Industry Dialogue, held by the United Nations Development Program and Brazilian Government in Brasilia, Brazil in December 2014. Additionally, Fisher just completed a month of fieldwork in Papua New Guinea where he led an interdisciplinary team of physical scientists and human rights attorneys on an environmental impact assessment of contamination from industrial gold mining.
 
Dr. Fisher is excited to take on the role of Director of AC
4. Look for more information on environmental and extractive industry related projects in the coming months.
 
For more information on AC
4, please click here.

Photo: AC4 Inter-Entity Staff, Mid-Year Retreat
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Interview with eminent social psychologist and leading peace scholar, Dr. Morton Deutsch


Morton Deutsch, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus and one of the world's most respected scholars of conflict resolution. At Columbia University, he founded The International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (now known as the MD-ICCCR). In 2012 he started the Global Community Forum, which he continues to work on today and there are plenty of ways to get involved - read more about it in the full interview.

What guidance would you offer students now entering the field of conflict resolution?
 
There is still a lot to learn so it’s important to have an open mind about the possibility of new developments in the field. Secondly, I think it is important to maintain hope despite the cynicism that exists throughout most of our world. You can bring about positive change, and you can help bring improvement to the world. Not only see all the dark clouds; there are a lot of bright spots! There are a lot of people throughout the world working to improve it, and maybe we’ll get there.
 
From my perspective, you can think a lot of the problems of the world come from sheer intellectual ignorance. I see this in the way people approach conflict and the way they approach differences in values. Yet, one has to come to the most basic respect for all human beings; we’re all same of the common human family while there are differences. There’s a lot of very good thinking about how to deal with this.
 
I was lucky enough to be a student of Kurt Lewin. He did not have the view that scientists should live away from the world; their ideas should have impact on the world. Nothing is so practical as a good theory. Then he believed in action-research. My hope is that even as one is concerned with abstract ideas, one is also concerned with improving the world. 

Learn more about Dr. Deustch's career and his many initiatives to build a global community, as he continues to do with the Global Community Forum in the full interview.
 

Join us for the 3rd Annual
Sustaining Peace Event!

This full-day event at Teachers College will feature interdisciplinary research from 2014 AC4 Fellows, interactive workshops and presentations, and an evening of insight talks from leading experts and peace scholars. Updated information about workshop topics and speakers will be available on Sustaining Peace website.
Mark your calendars for March 26th!

More ways to Stay Connected:

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The AC4 Monthly Newsletter and interviews are organized by Research Coordinator, Meredith Smith. Please direct any comments, inquiries, and/or suggestions to: mms2258@columbia.edu

Funding For Research-

Apply Now!

Deadline: Feb. 13th, 5pm (EST)

AC4 funds up to $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for one team of graduate students conducting interdisciplinary research in areas addressing conflict, violence and sustainable development.

Online application
For more information: AC4 Fellowship Website.

       



TED Talk from Columbia's Severine Autesserre

Professor Autesserre's talk brings about interesting discussion on intractable conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and on top-down versus bottom or grassroots approaches to promoting sustainable peace.

For more information on Severine Autosserre: AC4 Link.

Upcoming Events

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015
5:00 - 6:30 PM
212D Lewisohn Hall

 
Interested in International Fieldwork in Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, or Sustainability? The M.S. Program in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution is pleased to offer fieldwork courses in the areas of urban conflict, peacebuilding, and sustainability this summer! Come to the info session to learn more! We will be joined by faculty who will talk about the three possible field sites (Colombia, Uganda, Israel & Jordan) and the learning objectives of each course!

11th Annual Morton Deutsch Awards for Social Justice -
Deadline: Friday, Feb. 27th, 2015
 
An award plus $500 will be awarded to a graduate student within Columbia University for an outstanding paper related to social justice. 
See website for more information!
Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4)
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 253
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-2771

ac4.ei.columbia.edu