Rwanda, Research and the Wisdom of (Non)Responsiveness (or, Email is a Gift Not a Responsibility)

As I prepare for the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan political violence of 1994 (i.e., the genocide, the interstate war, the civil war and the other forms of activity that are not easily named), I am reminded of earlier correspondence and how the modern period conceives of communication as well as what researchers must/need not… Read more »

A Note on Academic (Ir)relevance

Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday op-ed generated a lot of buzz among political scientists because he called out our discipline for being increasingly irrelevant in the real world. Kristof suggests the field is “committing suicide” because political scientists don’t publish enough work that policymakers can read. He holds up economists as being an ideal comparison because policymakers… Read more »

The Promise and Perils of ‘Disaster Drones’

The dire humanitarian consequences of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) in conflict have become all too familiar. In contrast, there has been much less public discussion about the potential humanitarian uses of drones. So-called ‘disaster drones’ offer humanitarian agencies a range of possibilities in relation to crisis mapping, search and rescue… Read more »

Reforming the Security Council: the Question that won’t go Away

Last week Saudi Arabia took the unprecedented step of turning down the offer of a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, accusing the body of having failed in its “duties and … responsibilities in keeping world peace.” Saudi Arabia may have had the deadlock over Syria in mind, but it had the “work… Read more »

Time for change in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee

It is time for the Norwegian Parliament to change its practice and appoint a Nobel Peace Prize Committee that includes both experts and internationals. The Nobel Peace Prize is considered one of the world’s strongest symbols; the prize shapes the public agenda and gives voice to peace activists all over the world. Members of the prize-awarding Nobel Committee… Read more »