Mershon Center for International Security Studies
September 9, 2014
In This Issue
Daniel Sui
Chair, Department of Geography
Received a Google Faculty Research Award for his research proposal, "Modeling and Inferring Local Expertise." This project aims to develop new models and inference approaches for assessing local expertise in massive-scale social media. The award is for one year, and Sui will be conducting the research with his collaborator, James Caverlee, Texas A&M.
In the Media
John Mueller
Senior Research Scientist
"Are we overspending on stopping terrorism?"
with Mark Stewart
September 10, 2014

"A Mideast war we should avoid"
September 16, 2014

"The Islamic State will probably be defeated, but it's not thanks to President Obama"
September 16, 2014
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, a unit of the Office of International Affairs at The Ohio State University.
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Mershon Events
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gregor Kranjc
"'But the Germans Didn't Want Anything from Us': The Lessons and Legacies of World War II Slovene Collaboration"
5:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Gregor Kranjc Gregor Kranjc teaches modern European history at Brock University. The geographic focus of his research lies in East-Central Europe and the Balkans, with thematic interests in war and society, the intersection between historical trauma and memory, and the history of the region's ethnic and religious minorities. Kranjc is the author of To Walk with the Devil: Slovene Collaboration and Axis Occupation, 1941-1945, (Toronto, 2013), which examined the contentious topic of Slovene collaboration with their German, Italian and Hungarian occupiers during World War II. His current projects include "Collaboration, Resistance and Liberation in the Balkans," to appear in The Cambridge History of World War II (2015). Read more and register at
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ambassador Archil Gegeshidze
"Georgia: Why It Matters"
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Archil Gegeshidze Archil Gegeshidze is the ambassador of Georgia to the United States, appointed in March 2013. Prior to that, he was a senior fellow at The Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. Gegeshidze's professional expertise lays in regional security and cooperation in the South Caucasus and Euro-Atlantic integration. He is the author of numerous publications on Georgia's foreign and security policy and transformation of regional conflicts. Previously, Gegeshidze spent an academic year at Stanford University as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar. He worked for the Georgian government from 1992 to 2000, serving as assistant to the head of state on national security and chief foreign policy advisor to the president. Read more and register at
Monday, October 6, 2014

Boaz Atzili
"Accepting the Unacceptable: West Germany's Changing Border Policy, 1945-1990"
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Boaz Atzili, 2012 Furniss Book Award Winner Boaz Atzili is a political scientist who researches and teaches international politics. His interest is in international security with an emphasis on territorial conflicts and the politics of borders, and the international aspects of state weakness and state failure. His research includes various cases from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Atzili is also interested in the politics of the Middle East and, in particular, Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Atzili's first book, Good Fences, Bad Neighbors: Border Fixity and International Conflict (University of Chicago Press, 2012) is winner of the Mershon Center's Edgar S. Furniss Book Award. Read more and register at
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Undergraduate Research Forum
"Recipe for Success: Basic Ingredients for Undergraduate Research"
5 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Lounge, Hale Hall, 154 W. 12th Ave.

Please join a panel of Mershon Center affiliated faculty for an interdisciplinary discussion on the basic ingredients of a good undergraduate research project. This event is designed for students in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities who want to know what research opportunities exist in their fields, how to develop an appropriate research question and methodology, and what foundation is needed to begin their research. The faculty panel will discuss research in their specific disciplines and will also describe exemplary undergraduate research projects in their field. Panelists include Anthony Mughan, director of the International Studies program; Margaret Newell, associate professor of history, and John Carlarne, peace studies coordinator. Read more and register at

Other Events
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ambassador Robert Pearson
"Diplomatic Deficit: How D.C. Politics are Damaging U.S. Economic and Security Interests Globally"
11:30 a.m., High Line Car House, 550 S. High St.
Sponsored by the Columbus Council on World Affairs

Ambassador Robert Pearson Members of the U.S. Senate left Washington for the August recess, leaving behind 58 nominees for U.S. ambassadorships unconfirmed. The hold up, unsurprisingly, is partisan tensions between members of the Committee on Foreign Relations. One area of particular concern is Africa, which has a 20 percent vacancy rate at U.S. embassies while dealing with major U.S. interests - the Ebola outbreak, Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, and economic development opportunities. Ambassador Robert Pearson served as the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2000 to 2003 and was previously posted in Paris, Brussels, Beijing, Taipei, and Auckland, New Zealand. As director general of the U.S. Foreign Service from 2003 to 2006, Pearson introduced critical changes in America's diplomacy, twice earning national awards for innovation and management improvement and preparing the United States for the challenges of the 21st century. Read more and register
Friday, September 26, 2014

Piper Gaubatz
"Dancing at Dusk; Public Space in Chinese Cities"
3:30 p.m., 1080 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall
Sponsored by the Department of Geography

Piper Gaubatz Piper Gaubatz (Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts) is an urban geographer specializing in the study of urban change, development and planning in East Asia and the United States. Trained as an urban morphologist, she is interested in the processes that shape urban space, and especially in the historical and contemporary linkages between policy, practice and physical and social urban forms. Her current research includes an analysis of the diffusion of urban planning practices and ideologies from eastern to western China, which places urban transformation within the contexts of regional inequality and environmental change; an analysis of the growing influence of environmental discourses on Chinese urban planning initiatives; and the evolving nature of public space in Chinese cities. She is author of two books on Chinese cities: Beyond the Great Wall: Urban Form and Transformation on the Chinese Frontiers (Stanford, 1996) and The Chinese City, co-authored with Weiping Wu (Routledge, 2013). Read more
Monday, October 6, 2014

Paul M. Barrett
"Law of the Jungle"
12:10 p.m., Saxbe Auditorium, Moritz College of Law, 55 N. 12th St.
Sponsored by Moritz College of Law

Paul M. Barrett Paul M. Barrett, assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek, will discuss his forthcoming book, Law of the Jungle, which tells the story of Steven Donziger, a self-styled social activist and Harvard educated lawyer who signed on to a budding class action lawsuit against multinational Texaco (which later merged with Chevron to become the third-largest corporation in America). The suit sought reparations for Ecuadorian peasants and tribal people whose lives were affected by decades of oil production near their villages and fields. During 20 years of legal hostilities in federal courts in Manhattan and remote provincial tribunals in the Ecuadorian jungle, Donziger and Chevron's lawyers followed fierce no-holds-barred rules. In the end, Donziger won a $19 billion judgment against Chevron - the biggest environmental damages award in history - but it wasn't without consequence. Chevron refused to surrender or compromise. Instead the company targeted Donziger personally, and the counterattack revealed damning evidence of his politicking and manipulation. Suddenly the verdict, and decades of Donziger's single-minded pursuit of the case, began to unravel. Read more and register

Featured News
Waging Peace Panel
'Waging Peace' panel draws over 100 listeners


"Waging Peace," a panel discussion sponsored by the Humanities Institute and Mershon Center for International Security Studies, explored non-violent approaches to resolving international conflict. Panelists discussed the sources of military conflict and explore non-violent strategies designed to promote peace. Panelists included (left to right) Fred Andrle, former host of Open Line on WOSU and Humanities Institute associate; Katherine Borland, director of the Center for Folklore Studies; John Carlarne, peace studies coordinator; Christopher Gelpi, Chair of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution; and Craig Jenkins, director of the Mershon Center. Read more  at  A video link is forthcoming.


Mershon News
Diaspora Tour at Ohio State on October 1


Hannah Bonacci Learn more about initiatives on diaspora engagement and development when Andrew O'Brien, U.S. Department of State Special Representative, brings the Diaspora Tour to Ohio State on Wednesday, October 1, from 2 - 4 p.m. in the U.S. Bank Conference Theater in the Ohio Union.


O'Brien will present a keynote address and moderate a panel discussion with those from Ohio State and the central Ohio community who have been involved in diaspora initiatives. Panelists include: 

  • Kevin Passino, professor in the College of Engineering, will discuss his involvement in service learning programs with students in Guatemala and Honduras
  • Hannah Bonacci (pictured), a graduate student, will share her passion for improving the lives of at-risk youth and women in Western Africa
  • Barbara Pratzner, executive director of Columbus Sister Cities International, will provide insight into the capital city's growing international interests
  • Jibril Mohamed, executive director of SomaliCAN, will address the role of the Somali diaspora community in Columbus, Ohio, and its impact on local society and in the Horn of Africa. 

The Diaspora Tour is geared toward recognizing the contributions that U.S. diaspora communities make toward development of their country's heritage as well as those individuals who focus on improving the lives of others internationally. Registration to attend the event is recommended. Visit the Office of International Affairs website to learn more.


The Diaspora Tour at Ohio State is supported by the Office of International Affairs, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Columbus Sister Cities International and Columbus Council on World Affairs. 

'Origins' explores ancient, modern sports culture


Origins has published its new article: "Savage Gladiators vs. Civilized Amateurs: Rome and Athens in American Sports Culture," by Anna McCullough.


The world of intercollegiate athletics is poised on the brink of seismic change. While several cases make their way through the courts that fundamentally challenge the way the NCAA does business, a core group of athletically elite institutions have voted to give themselves more autonomy from NCAA rules and regulations. 


At the root of how we debate college athletics, Anna McCullough reminds us, are the images we have of the ancient athletic cultures of Greece and Rome. And as she demonstrates, Greece and Rome continue to shape profoundly the way we talk about sports in America. The whole article can be found at


About Origins: Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective is a monthly ad-free magazine that features top scholars on today's most pressing topics. Published by The Ohio State History Department, its authors include National Book Award winners and world-renowned scholars. You can also explore reviews of popular history books on the Origins website as well as the new monthly feature Milestones.


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