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 in Southwest Pennsylvania
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.
The GEPA working group, co-led by Dr. Müge Finkel of GSPIA and Dr. Melanie Hughes of Sociology, has been a Ford Institute working group since fall 2015. The GEPA working group brings together a multidisciplinary team of students to work with the Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to gather and analyze data on women’s global representation in public administration. This past year, graduate researchers built off of the work of the 2015-2016 working group, to analyze further disaggregation among countries with gendered data.
Dr. Müge Finkel recently participated in the Wilson Center’s 50 by 50, the 5th year anniversary event in Washington D.C. The event was hosted by the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) which was started in 2011 by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to empower the next generation of women around the world and mobilize them on issues of critical importance in public service.
Named in the honor of the Ford Institute’s founder, Dr. Simon Reich, the award promotes high-quality research and writing by GSPIA students in the field of human security. Students are encouraged to submit a paper, and faculty are encouraged to nominate papers for consideration.
Assistant Professor Sera Linardi is one of two inaugural recipients of a Ford Institute Faculty Research Grant, a competitive grant program designed to encourage junior faculty to engage in human security research and writing. Combining violence data from UN peace keepers’ weekly logs in Côte d’Ivoire with daily antenna transmission data from Orange Telecom, Professor Linardi and her colleagues have shown a pattern of increased call volume, more within-network calls, and shorter calls in the days preceding violent events. This research holds great potential to breakthrough our current limited understanding of local level violence, to better address its insidious effect on inter-group relations and potential escalation into national-level problems.
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.
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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