Taylor Seybolt, Director

Taylor Seybolt

Message from the Director

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? The Ford Institute was founded in 2003 as one of the first academic centers in the world devoted to human security. We contribute to this vibrant and growing field of study and practice by conducting research, providing resources and reaching out to students, scholars and policymakers.

The great strength of human security lies in its ability to cross over boundaries between academic disciplines and to bridge the division between the ivory tower and the halls of government. This strength is reflected in the Institute’s work.

•    On our website, you will find information about on-going research and the fruits of past labors on a range of topics, including child soldiers, corporate social responsibility, genocide, humanitarian intervention, human rights, the “responsibility to protect,” and building governance systems in countries emerging from violence. 

•    Our speaker series reflects the eclectic yet interwoven nature of human security.  We host academics who challenge us to think critically about the causes of conflict; artists who help us understand the effects of war; and advocates who encourage us to take action.

•    Our ever-expanding resources pages will connect you with useful databases, organizations doing human security work, and employment postings. 

The world is not a simple place; we should not be satisfied with one-dimensional views. To take one example, we know that poverty and violence are connected, but not all poor countries are wracked by conflict and not all conflict-affected countries are poor. This is an intellectual puzzle and a pressing policy concern. To understand the relationship and do something about it, we need to look at governing institutions and political leaders, economic structure and growth, and prevailing ideas about equality, justice and identity. That’s the easy part. The hard part is getting people in positions of power to pay attention.

Together with the human security major and the school’s other centers of innovation, the Ford Institute for Human Security makes GSPIA a leader in the study of complex security challenges people face in this increasingly entwined world.

Ford Institute for Human Security
3930 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260