Director’s Welcome 2021-2022

by Monica Duffy Toft

What a year it has been. Between pandemics, the ending of endless wars, and climate crises, it’s been a hard year for all of us as we manage our professional and personal obligations. We at the Center for Strategic Studies have not been together in person, but have managed to stay in touch online through our workshops, conferences, and seminars. We hope to be able to gather together this year in person to discuss each other’s research, host outside speakers, debate what is happening in the world, and welcome new students and fellows into our community. 

Despite the unsettling events in the world, we accomplished quite a bit last year in CSS. We have been busy working on the Military Intervention Project (MIP) and have now finalized the data set. We have presented our findings at several conferences, and Sidita Kushi and I are finishing the book manuscript, which is under contract at Oxford University Press. We thank Nils Hägerdal for getting the final pieces in place this past year, when he replaced Sidita as the research director. Sidita moved on to take a position at Bridgewater State University, while Nils will remain with us as a postdoctoral fellow. 

The data and analysis have been met with great interest and enthusiasm. Although most people are aware that the United States has been engaged in a large number of military interventions, they have not been aware of the extent of them. Since 2000 alone, the U.S. has intervened 92 times and since its founding in 1776, 496 times. That means that one in five interventions have been taken in only the last 19 years. Once the book is done, and our article is published, the data set will go online and be available publicly.

As we move into our fourth year, CSS continues to grow and evolve. Last year we hosted a series of research and policy seminars, as well as our Engaging Practitioners Series. We cohosted a conference on NATO with NATO, looking at the past 50 years and into the next 50.

This year are delighted to host three new fellows: Dr. James D. Boys, a British historian previously from Richmond University; Professor Hwee-rhak Park from Kookmin University in South Korea; and predoctoral fellow Ilana Rothkopf from Notre Dame University. Thomas Cavanna, Karim Elkady, Nils Hägerdal, and Aroop Mukharji will be joining us for another year along with Ph.D. fellows Lima Ahmad, David Kampf, and Xiaodon Liang. Polina Beliakova will continue in her role as assistant director. Each will focus on their research as well as contribute to the activities of the Center. 

Although not with us any longer, Meg Guliford has defended her dissertation and accepted a faculty appointment at Drexel University, while Zoltan Feher accepted a predoctoral fellowship at the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas in Austin for the academic year. We wish them great success.

Our Elephants in the War Room blog will continue to have weekly updates, some of which will include additional findings as we work with the MIP data. We will also publish blogposts by our students and scholars from the broader Fletcher community.

Please check us out online to learn more about the research and activities taking place at CSS and our take on all things strategic, diplomatic, and war-related happening around the globe. We look forward to your feedback in person and by email.

I wish you all the best in the coming year.

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