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.

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Critics of either U.S. or Russian policy would prefer the rhetorical simplicity of merely pointing out flaws in the other’s position. What is really the problem is that both want war.

Continue Reading

Dr. Omar was conducting an exploratory laparotomy on a female patient with a bullet wound in her abdomen when the entire hospital shook with the sound of explosions. Windows were shattering and a light and plaster fell from the ceiling. A nurse ran in to say that a missile had been fired through the wall […]

Continue Reading

It is a truism that anti-authoritarian movements and organizations tend to mirror their opponents in thinking, modes of operation and political practices, and especially to become intolerant of any view that differs from that of the leadership. And indeed, in Burma’s case, the choice to elevate Aung San Suu Kyi to the status of icon for democracy has had important and potentially fatal limitations, for both the domestic and international components of the democracy campaign.

Continue Reading