This issue includes the latest news from the Advanced Consortium on Conflict, Cooperation and Complexity at Columbia University's Earth Institute, including: 
  • An Inspiring interview with Columbia University's Jessica Fanzo
  • New AC4 funding opportunity
  • Career Advice
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Providing you with the latest news in conflict, violence prevention, peace and sustainability at Columbia University


Hello everyone,

Welcome to new readers and welcome back to our regular visitors! In the midst of Fall's changing leaves and celebration of harvest, many wonderful initiatives are happening around Columbia University campus and with colleagues around the globe who are working toward creating sustainable peace. The AC4 website showcases such initiatives, and this month's newsletter shares some of those, and more - we want to keep you in the know!

In this month's AC4 newsletter, we'll share with you a talk with a nutritionist, researcher and professor whose passion for healthy diets and sustainable development has brought her to Columbia University and taken her repeatedly to Sub-Saharan Africa  and throughout the world, particularly to countries affected by conflict. We also have details on a new funding opportunity offered for work on the modeling of sustainable human development. Our staff and colleagues at Teachers College and the School of Continuing Ed. are involved in many activities, and we have dates for upcoming events and highlights from last month's events, too. Plus, be sure to check out some inspirational career advice from renowned peace-builder, Dirk Salomons, and the IACM Conference and 2015 AC4 Fellowships announcement!

Best wishes, and hope you will continue to participate in our growing community.

The AC4 Team

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Interview with Columbia University's Jessica Fanzo, Professor, Global Nutritionist and Sustainable Development Specialist

How do you view conflict in your work on nutrition and global food security? 

Conflict is one of those huge issues. If you look at the countries with the highest burden of under-nutrition, most of them are either conflict or post-conflict countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Burundi, Yemen, Madagascar, for example. When you look at under-nutrition, particularly stunting, which is the chronic form of under-nutrition, it is like a photograph of that place’s history. Take Timor Leste, for instance, where there are levels of 60 percent of children who are stunted. Much of this is because of the conflict they’ve undergone over the last 100 years, i.e., being occupied by Indonesia and having poor infrastructure, poverty, poor health and environmental issues.
Conflict is one of the major drivers of poor nutrition outcomes - not just of famine and undernourished states but also of obesity and diabetes, the flip side of poor food access. Nutrition is very multi-faceted. A lot of sectors and disciplines are involved in improving nutrition outcomes but conflict is one of those drivers where you really see impacts on nutrition.
The Global Hunger Index from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranks countries as “winners” and “losers” based on their nutrition outcomes. Congo, or the DRC, always has the worst outcomes, with the highest number of under-nourished. But, it’s a conflict country. You look at the ranks from IFPRI’s index and the worst, “loser” countries are all ones suffering from conflict or have just come out of some kind of civil war.
We have to think of conflict in different ways. It’s not always what we think of as just “war.” It could be lots of different conflict. I work a lot in Northern Kenya, and it’s conflict on a different level. It involves a lack of resiliency of populations but it’s also  in competition over scarce natural resources. The pastoralists have a lot of conflict with neighboring tribes or clans based over water and land resources. It’s not always displaced peoples; there are people with limited natural resources that then pose conflict with neighboring tribes or clans.  

To read the full interview and learn more about Dr. Jessica Fanzo and her current work click here.

2015 IACM Conference Announcement

The Annual International Association of Conflict Management (IACM) Conference is an opportunity for scholars, practitioners and policymakers to foster the development and dissemination of theory, research and experience that is useful for understanding and improving conflict management. AC4 will again offer scholarships for students from historically underrepresented groups to attend this next IACM Conference happening summer 2015 in Florida - further information can be found here.

2015 AC4 Student Fellowships Announcement

Each year, AC4 funds select 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, and Capstone projects.

This year we will fund students for up to $3,000 and one team of students for up to $6,000.  

For application requirements and materials please check our website
Deadline will be Friday, February 13, 2014.
Fellows will be announced March 1, 2014.

Questions may be directed to Meredith Smith at



Career Advice from Dirk Salomons,as taken from recent interview with Meredith Smith, AC4 Project Coordinator

What advice do you feel junior professionals in our field should hear as they move out of their academic programs and begin looking for meaningful work and engagement in the world of conflict resolution?

Spend at least half an hour everyday reading a quality paper: looking at what’s happening in international affairs while asking yourself constantly what makes these people tick and what motivates them, and what do I learn in observing the complexities of their interactions. This is honing your ability to analyze complex situations. 

Also, look at situations where people have successfully managed these things. There’s a very obscure PhD thesis by Elizabeth Schoendorf defended at University of Berlin about leadership in UN missions. The thesis was that all UN Peacekeeping missions are designed to fail;  These mandates are idiotic, the resources are few, and so how come some have succeeded nevertheless and what made the difference?

She looks at the leadership – the people who ran them were surely what made the difference. So, what characterized those people? It was a mix of humanity, humility, courage, thinking outside the box, sophistication in using defective systems effectively, and a lot of that is acquired over a long, long period of trial and error.

Short version: throw yourself into this, keep your eyes open and enjoy the ride.

Full interview with Prof. Salomons can be found here

Visit our colleagues at Columbia University and Teachers College!


New Funding Opportunity
DEADLINE:  Nov. 10, 2014

AC4 Grants for Modeling Sustainable Human Development

Midnight, November 10, 2014

Terms of Award:
-Seed funding up to $10,000
-Dates: Jan. 1 - June 30, 2015
-Eligible applicants include individuals or teams of graduate students, postdocs, Associate Research Scientists & Faculty

More information:
Application details
Modeling Sustainable Human Development

Job Announcement

Public Conversations Project is looking for an Executive Director
Application deadline: Nov. 17


November 4-7, 2014

Gold Week at Yale University, Co-Sponsored by AC4
AC4 Director Dr. Josh Fisher speaks on "The Social and Ecological Tradeoffs of Gold Mining"
5PM, Thurs., Nov. 6

November 12, 2014

Brown Bag Series: Mr. Andrea Lari in Conversation with Aldo Civico
602 Lewisohn Hall

November 14-16, 2014

MD-ICCCR Workshop on Culture and Conflict, led by NECR Faculty Robert Anderson and Christine Chung
Fri.. Nov. 14 - Sun. Nov 16

Events Recap

Dr. Beth Yoshida-Fisher interviewed Peter T. Coleman and Robert Ferguson about their new book Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement, which you can watch here

We are still talking about the connections to familiar faces and prospective partners, fellows and students made at the Conflict Resolution Career Fair - it was a great success! We had a high level of participation and engagement among attendees and exhibitors alike, and we continue to welcome participant feedback for how we can improve the event for next year.

On October 18-19, eight AC4 Fellows and Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida joined a group of fellow scholars and practitioners at the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) Learning Exchange. The Learning Exchange focused on communication - how it happens, when is it effective and how it works in multiple levels and domains as well as across time. The Fellows involved an eclectic group, each exploring the CMM lens in advanced work in a variety of fields and with the common thread of peace and conflict, cooperation, and collaboration. Three of the Fellows are Columbia University alumni, including two from the Master of Science program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NECR).


AC4 Link

AC4 Link is a web-based information hub that highlights all people, centers, and programs conducting research, practice, and teaching activities related to conflict resolution, peace, violence prevention, and sustainable development throughout Columbia University and beyond. If you are looking for a person, program, or center conducting specific work under these areas, this is a great place to start.

Contact: Nick Redding


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Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4)
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New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-2771