The mission of the Ford Institute for Human Security is to promote effective responses to severe threats faced by individuals and their communities as a result of conflict and deprivation. To that end, the Institute conducts research on the causes and consequences of political violence and economic underdevelopment, and works to advance the idea that governments have a sovereign responsibility to protect their people.
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Human security draws on studies of economics, governance, human rights, justice, peace and war to address a fundamental question: how can we protect people from severe threats to their lives and livelihoods?
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“Climate Change, Social Stress & Migration: Implications for Conflict & Cooperation,” featured Dr. Susan F. Martin from Georgetown University and Dr. Daniel W. Bromley from the University of Wisconsin, on February 9, 2015. This presentation illustrated that, while we have limited ability to control climate change, we can control how it affects vulnerable nations. Climate change has the capacity to cause either cooperation or conflict. In order to ensure that cooperation occurs instead of conflict, Dr. Martin and Dr. Bromley provided two distinct ways to address the development problem.
GSPIA’s international development faculty have learned a lot about what students need both to get the first job and establish a career path that makes a difference, noted Associate Dean Paul Nelson. Students are encouraged to use their 16 courses at GSPIA to build a strong set of professional skills which are shaped by both the top scholarship and hands-on experiences found in and outside the classroom.
Despite vast efforts to build the state, profound political order in rural Afghanistan is maintained by self-governing, customary organizations. Assistant Professor Jennifer Murtazashvili’s new book Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan explores the rules governing these organizations to explain why they can provide public goods. Instead of withering during decades of conflict, customary authority adapted to become more responsive and deliberative.
The Ford Institute for Human Security has awarded the Simon Reich Human Security Writing Award for the best student paper on a human security topic to Tara Devezin (MID ’16). Devezin’s paper focused on improving women’s health in the East African countries of Malawi and Uganda.
The 2016 issue of GSPIA Perspectives features the Master of International Development (MID) program. Dean Keeler notes the training of specialists in international development has been a central component of GSPIA, since its founding in 1958. The MID program is one of three two-year master’s degrees at GSPIA. The program emphasizes the intellectual rigor and practical skills needed by organizations working in development, preparing students to make a difference locally, nationally and globally. This issue of Perspectives captures the “ethos” of alumni working in the field and documents some of their journeys. The magazine also features recent accomplishments of the school’s distinguished alumni, and faculty. It highlights the invaluable work of the school’s research centers, as well as student working groups, accomplishments and learning experiences. Lastly, GSPIA Perspectives provides a snapshot of the people dedicated to making the world a better place. Read more.
The United Nations, in establishing its 2016 Sustainable Development Goals, considered inclusive governance a core component of peaceful and just societies, and called for more monitoring of women’s participation in public institutions. GSPIA’s own Dr. Müge Finkel, Assistant Professor of International Development and Dr. Melanie Hughes, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, answered the call to lead an interdisciplinary group of graduate students in the search for data.
Sustainable Development and Human Security in Africa, edited by GSPIA faculty Dr. Louis A Picard and Dr. Taylor B Seybolt seeks to broaden the policy debate and provide conversations about the sustainable development challenges facing African countries from multiple viewpoints and interdisciplinary perspectives—from academics, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field. The book tries to strike a balance between recognizing the need to bring politics back into development programs and understanding the limitations of political institutions in weak states. To that end, it looks at the challenges of development from the perspective of human security.
Stephen Coulthart received his PhD from GSPIA in 2015. During his time here, he worked on the “Understanding the Responsibility to Protect” project at the Ford Institute. He and two other students coded and analyzed transcriptions of diplomats’ dialog at the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council to examine how the norms of intervention in humanitarian crises have changed. This hands-on experience provided him with practical skills he would later utilize in furthering his career.
Ford Institute for Human Security
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