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New Initiative on Climate Engineering Awarded

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The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs recently awarded $250,000 to fund a new Weatherhead Initiative on Climate Engineering. The Center funds the initiative through its Weatherhead Initiative Research Cluster in International Affairs grant, which supports large-scale and groundbreaking research in the realm of international affairs.

The initiative is led by Principal Investigator David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Joshua Horton, research director of geoengineering at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will serve as project manager. Additional Harvard and non-Harvard faculty members round out a robust research team.... Read more about New Initiative on Climate Engineering Awarded

Pursuing Sustainability—Connecting Science and Practice

 

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Friday will welcome 130 heads of state who have pledged to sign the Paris Agreement, the UN global agreement on managing climate change. For William Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), sustainability is a global imperative and a scientific challenge like no other.

He sees the Paris Agreement as just one step, though an important one, in this urgent pursuit, as officials wrestle with how to meet the needs of a growing human population without jeopardizing the planet for future generations.... Read more about Pursuing Sustainability—Connecting Science and Practice

Research Spotlight: Beth A. Simmons

Researchers Say International Criminal Court is Flawed, But Essential

The International Criminal Court is saving civilian lives in multiple countries, according to research that provides the first quantitative evidence.

The study by professors at Harvard University and Texas A&M, which will be featured in the summer issue of the journal International Organization, has drawn widespread attention from people on either side of a polarized debate about the ICC’s role in international justice.

Vocal critics have long claimed the ICC is an ineffective obstacle to peace processes while enthusiasts believe it useful in advancing global peace and security. The underlying question: is the ICC irreparably flawed or an institution worth investing in?

Now researchers Beth A. Simmons and Hyeran Jo have contributed a systematic study that can impartially inform this pressing debate in international affairs.... Read more about Research Spotlight: Beth A. Simmons

Scholars and the Public Eye

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Harvard professor Jennifer Hochschild remembers the first time a scholarly article about blogging came across her desk. She laughs now describing how she and fellow editors at Perspectives on Politics did not know what to make of it in 2003.

“We spent a lot of time among the editors saying, ‘Is this really political science? Is this really appropriate? Is this a flash in the pan? Is this a game?’” said Hochschild, a professor of government and African and African American studies at Harvard and president of the American Political Science Association. “I don’t think we were hostile. We just didn’t understand it.”... Read more about Scholars and the Public Eye

Q & A on Scholars and the Public Eye

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Condensed from interviews with Noah Feldman, Jennifer Hochschild, and Dani Rodrik.

 —with Noah Feldman

Q. How was writing for a popular audience viewed within the academic world earlier in your career and has that attitude changed?

A. When I started teaching in 2001, some of my senior colleagues thought that the fact that you wrote something that a non-academic would want to read was active evidence that what you’re writing couldn’t be of value to scholars. Happily, things have really changed enormously now. Now many scholars understand the real question isn’t “what is the genre a person is writing in?” It is “what’s the content of the argument a person is making?” And a subtle, sophisticated, and scholarly argument doesn’t always have to be wrapped up in inaccessible jargon.... Read more about Q & A on Scholars and the Public Eye

Noah Feldman on How to Write for a Popular Audience

These tips are condensed from an interview.

Here’s the unspoken secret of the contemporary media world: in the age of the Internet and social media, every single media outlet is hungry for good content. That ranges from the more popular aspects of scholarly journals straight through to the big media news generators—whether that’s Huffington Post or even Buzzfeed or Vice.

The point is that it doesn’t have to only be the New York Times or the Boston Globe or the Washington Post. They’re all eager for interesting content that nobody else is providing, and that’s what scholars have to offer. We’re never telling the same story that everybody else is telling because we’re aiming to say something original from a scholarly perspective. Whether we’re right or wrong, we always have something new to say.

Six things to keep in mind:

  1. When the media call you, take their calls because that’s how you begin the process of getting your ideas out there. I think many academics think, “Oh, I’m not going to take all those media calls because it’s a distraction.” Or, “It’s not narrowly within my expertise.”... Read more about Noah Feldman on How to Write for a Popular Audience

A Life’s Work Battling Religious Illiteracy

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As prejudice toward Muslim Americans heightens, a Harvard professor welcomes the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims, and a champion of pluralism

Ali Asani is once again disheartened about the destruction of another cultural treasure as a result of narrow exclusivist mentalities taking root in nations all over the world. In the Middle East this exclusivism is associated with the upsurge of tribalism that threatens the very existence of nation-states. When the self-declared Islamic State recently decimated the iconic Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria, Asani was horrified but not surprised.... Read more about A Life’s Work Battling Religious Illiteracy

Making Education Count

Finding Possibilities of Peace in the Unlikeliest of Places

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Sarah Dryden-Peterson, assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE), has spent years investigating the dimensions of education in conflict settings. During her time at GSE, her mission has proved ever more important as conflicts intensifying in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, and Somalia both demand immediate action and provide new opportunities for exploration.... Read more about Making Education Count

What Others Think of Us

Social Esteem and Participation in Contentious Politics

Taking a look at recent episodes of social unrest, public protest, and other forms of contentious politics around the globe will tell you a lot about 2014. 

The year opened with violence in Kiev as thousands took to Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital to remove the Yanukovych government from power. Gay rights activists in St. Petersburg, Russia—but also throughout the world in a display of solidarity—protested the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in light of Russia’s controversial laws on “non-traditional” sexuality.... Read more about What Others Think of Us

Rethinking Wartime Rape

Recent evidence gathered by Harvard’s Dara Kay Cohen suggests a new paradigm is necessary.

What drives wartime sexual violence? Conventional wisdom points to the sudden breakdown of government, primordial ethnic hatreds, or even patriarchal society writ-large. But a closer look at variation across cases tells a different story.... Read more about Rethinking Wartime Rape

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