How legitimate and accountable are Westerners who advocate for geographically and culturally distinct issues? If the legitimacy of these Western actors is not derived from those people on whose behalf they are advocating, what gives these ‘activists’ the right to propose solutions? Who are these advocates accountable to, if they do harm? How can advocacy […]

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If you journey to a town, entering through a valley into a warren of backstreets, your view of the location is very different than if you had taken the mountain road, approaching the town with a vista that enabled you to see its entirety, stretched out along a river, covering the expanse of a valley and wandering up […]

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Alex de Waal’s recent blog included a long and interesting quote from Jean-Marie Guéhenno. In a way, Guéhenno would seem to be in agreement with Kissinger. They both seem to assert the importance of prior intellectual knowledge and high-offices are less of a place for growing intellectually. What Kissinger articulated was: “High office teaches decision making, […]

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On October 20, 2015, the World Peace Foundation and Tufts Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide invited Scott Straus to present the key findings from his book. Straus started his presentation by laying out the research puzzle. Why does mass violence develop in some cases but not others? He tackles this problem by systematically comparing cases in post-Cold War, sub-Saharan Africa that experienced genocide with those that did not, despite the presence of similar risk factors: Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Sudan (Darfur). He finds that deep-rooted ideologies—national founding narratives—play a crucial role in shaping strategies of violence.

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Occasionally, a senior international policymaker provides a candid, on-the-record, reflection on the question of what he or she reads, and how academics might best influence policy.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who was head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 2000-2008, is a prime example of a self-identified intellectual who took on a very senior policymaking […]

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This is a dataset of historic famines and episodes of mass intentional starvation.

It is a working dataset, to be updated as more and better sources become available.

It includes two kinds of overlapping events, which have hitherto largely been studied separately. One set of events is great and catastrophic famines. A famine is […]

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