Mershon Center for International Security Studies
January 11 , 2016
In This Issue
Kendra McSweeney
Associate Professor of Geography

McSweeney is the author of a new report, The Impact of Drug Policy on the Environment (Open Society Foundations, December 2015). The report responds to recent calls by both the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Global Commission on Drug Policy for drug policy debates to be based on the latest and best empirical evidence.
In the Media
Paul Beck
Social and Behavioral Sciences Distinguished Professor Emeritus
"Ohio will be in spotlight throughout 2016 presidential race"
Columbus Dispatch
January 1, 2016

"Here's how Donald Trump could jeopardize Republican races in Ohio"
WCPO-TV Cincinnati
December 21, 2015

"Who grabbed coveted GOP endorsement? No one"
Cincinnati Enquirer
December 8, 2015
Bear Braumoeller
Associate Professor of Political Science
"Pass or fail? Profs grade GOP foreign policy debate"
The Conversation
December 16, 2015
Theodora Dragostinova
Associate Professor of History
Richard Herrmann
Interim Director
Peter Mansoor
Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History
"Expert Insight: ISIS, Syria, and the Middle East"
College of Arts and Sciences
December 17, 2015
Peter Mansoor
Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History
"Paris attacks: Would US troops in Syria play into Islamic State's hands?"
Christian Science Monitor
November 18, 2015
Kendra McSweeney
Associate Professor of Geography
"The War on Drugs Isn't Just Destroying Lives - It's Also Killing the Environment"
December 14, 2015
John Mueller
Senior Research Scientist
Mark Stewart
Visiting Scholar
"Stuck in the Middle East"
The American Conservative
January 4, 2016

"What to Get a Skeptic this Holiday Season"
National Interest
December 24, 2015

"Immense fear over a limited threat to Americans"
The New York Times
December 16, 2015

"Smerconish: New book suggests terror fears are overblown"
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 13, 2015

"What Are the Risks of Terrorism?"
Free Thoughts
December 11, 2015

"Terrorism in the American Psyche"
Foreign Affairs
December 10, 2015

"After Paris, we must keep unreasonable fears in check"
Los Angeles Times
November 29, 2015
Dorothy Noyes
Professor of English and Comparative Studies
"Getting a leg up on luck"
Columbus Dispatch
November 30, 2015
Dakota Rudesill
Assistant Professor of Law
"AEP guarding the grid against online attacks"
Columbus Dispatch
December 21, 2015
Gleb Tsipursky
Assistant Professor of History
"Don't play into terrorists' hands with shoot-from-the-hip reactions"
November 22, 2015
Alexander Wendt
Ralph D. Mershon Professor of International Security
"The construction of politics"
The International News
January 3, 2016
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
Thursday-Friday, January 28-29, 2016

COMPAS: Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society
11th Floor, Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Avenue Mall

COMPAS logoThe Fall COMPAS Conference explored the value trade-offs that are involved in pursuing competing visions of a sustainable future. The Spring COMPAS Conference on " Realizing Sustainability" turns to the practical: the challenge of realizing sustainability. Who bears responsibility for this challenge and how can we motivate the necessary shifts in public policy and personal behavior? If the Paris meetings represent a moment, as President Obama has stated, when "nations embrace their responsibility to assure a world worthy of our children," what policy implications follow from that change in moral viewpoint? The conference will bring together an interdisciplinary group of experts from communications, decision sciences, economics, law, philosophy, and political science, among other fields, to address these issues. See complete conference program
Monday, February 1, 2016

Leif Wenar
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Leif Wenar Leif Wenar, a Columbus native, now holds the Chair of Philosophy and Law at King's College London. After earning his bachelor's degree from Stanford, he edited an autobiographical volume by the Nobel-winning economist F.A. Hayek and was Karl Popper's research assistant. He went to Harvard to study with John Rawls, and while there took classes with Amartya Sen and led discussions for Michael Sandel's course on justice. He wrote his Harvard qualifying thesis on Karl Marx's theory of history, and his doctoral dissertation on property rights with Robert Nozick. In this presentation, Wenar will discuss how the world's most coercive regimes depend on trade of stolen natural resources, and how the West can lead a peaceful global revolution by ending dependence on authoritarian oil. Read more and register at
Thursday, February 4, 2016

Will Reno
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Will Reno William Reno is professor of political science and director of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone (Cambridge, 1995), Warlord Politics and African States (Lynne Rienner, 1999), Warfare in Independent Africa (Cambridge, 2011), and other works on the politics of conflict and the organization of armed groups in failed states. More information about his research is at Reno will discuss research explains variations in how armed groups organize their relations with surrounding communities in the context of conflict in collapsed states. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Paul Debell
Paul DeBell looks over Budapest at twilight. He was there to research his dissertation topic, "Outrage, Disgust, and Derailed Democracy in Hungary."
Mershon Center offers grants, scholarships for faculty, students

Each year, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies holds a competition for Ohio State faculty and students to apply for research grants and scholarship funds.

Applications for Faculty Research and Seed Grants and Graduate Student Research Grants must be for projects related to the study of national security in a global context. We are also interested in projects that emphasize the role of peace-building and development; strengthen the global gateways in China, India and Brazil; relate to campus area studies centers and institutes; or address the university's Discovery Themes of health and wellness, energy and the environment, and food production and security.

In recent years the center has funded several dozen faculty and graduate student research projects with grants for travel, seminars, conferences, interviews, experiments, surveys, library costs, and more. To learn about the types of projects being funded, please see faculty project summaries on the Mershon Center website under Research and graduate project summaries in past Annual Reports.

The Mershon Center has also established International Security Scholarships for Undergraduate Theses and Study Abroad to support undergraduates whose professional career plans lie in the field of international security and who would benefit doing research for an undergraduate thesis or studying in a foreign country. Applications will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary review committee that will make recommendations to the director of the Mershon Center. Scholarship amounts typically range from $2,000 to $3,000.

Application forms and instructions for all Mershon Center grants and scholarships can be found in the Grants section of the Mershon Center website. The deadline for all applications is 5 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2016.
Other Events
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Immigration Nation: Impact of Refugees on Central Ohio
Noon, Athletic Club of Columbus, 136 E. Broad Street
Sponsored by Columbus Metropolitan Club

Immigration is a critical part of our history, a big part of our future, and the flash point of ongoing national debate on topics ranging from terrorism to economics. What is the impact of refugees in Central Ohio? Major findings from the Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio report. Featuring Angela Plummer, executive director of Community Refugee and Immigration Services, Deborah Rogers, associate director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Rachel Peric, deputy director, Welcoming America. Guadalupe Velasquez will host the discussion. Read more and register
Thursday, January 14, 2016

Feeding Over 9 Billion People by 2050
11:30 a.m., WOSU @ COSI, 333 W. Broad St.
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

Now more than ever, the question of how to feed 9.6 billion people by 2050 is at the forefront of discussion in the international community. Increasing agricultural trade and production is imperative to combat this global challenge, especially at a time when natural resources are dwindling and arable land is disappearing. Applying new and innovative technologies, identifying market linkages, and cultivating enabling environments are crucial steps to foster sustainable food security and economic growth. Food security is a national security issue, as it is both a cause and a consequence of civil unrest and conflict. Our ever-changing climate, increasing urbanization rates, and growing displaced populations prove there is a strong case for continued U.S. involvement and investment in long-term agricultural development work. 

Join CCWA as we explore the future of global food security with two of the nation's most experienced experts in the field. Phil Karsting was appointed administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service in May 2013. He previously served more than 22 years on Capitol Hill, most recently as Chief of Staff to Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies. Kimberly Flowers is director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Global Food Security Project, which examines and highlights the impact of food security on U.S. strategic global interests. The project evaluates current efforts and provides long-term, strategic guidance to policymakers to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance programs are efficient, effective, and sustainable. Read more and register
Other News
'Origins' examines causes of refugee crisis in Europe

Origins has published its new article: " Refugees or Immigrants? The Migration Crisis in Europe in Historical Perspective," by Mershon affiliate Theodora Dragostinova.

If one photograph has captured the magnitude and sadness of the 2015 refugee crisis, it is the boy on the beach: 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, found drowned and washed up near the Turkish town of Bodrum after the overcrowded boat carrying him and his mother and brother across the Mediterranean was overcome by waves. They were just three of more than a million migrants who fled war-torn and destabilized parts of the Middle East and Africa in 2015, trying desperately to find refuge in Europe.

Many commentators now call this "one of the greatest humanitarian crises the globe has ever known." This month, historian Theodora Dragostinova explores the causes and pathways of today's refugee crisis and reminds us that displacement and migration have long defined European history. 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.
Outreach and Engagement Recognition Awards

The Offices of Outreach and Engagement, International Affairs, Service-Learning, Student Life and Undergraduate Education have joined together to recognize faculty, staff, students and community partners with the University Outreach and Engagement Recognition Awards program. Awards will be given in the community engagement, international engagement, service-learning, staff, student, student group and community partner categories. A total of $21,000 will be awarded. Applications are due February 16.

To submit an application:
Contact: 247-7795 or
Decision Sciences grants for faculty and graduate students

Small grants of up to $3000 are available to support Decision Sciences research at Ohio State. The goal of these competitive grants is to foster new Decision Sciences research activity and collaboration. Priority will be given to (a) projects that bring together Decision Sciences researchers from different departments or researchers who have not previously collaborated, (b) seed projects that are likely to generate pilot data or theory for external grant proposals, (c) projects that allow for the meaningful involvement of graduate and undergraduate students, and (d) projects by researchers who have not been previously funded under this program.

The maximum award amount is $3000. It is anticipated that projects will take one year or less. The deadline to apply is March 15Read more here
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