Research Spotlights

Elliott School Interdisciplinary Conference: Call for Proposals

Water: Problems and Possibilities, An Interdisciplinary Conference at the Elliott School of International Affairs


As water and waterways connect distant human populations, so too does water provide a thematic link between disparate scholarly disciplines. To better understand the water-related challenges facing states and populations and to promote interdisciplinary collaboration within the university, the Elliott School of International Affairs will host an interdisciplinary conference on Water: Problems and Possibilities on March 22, 2019.

The goals of the conference are to discuss past, present, and/or future research projects and to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration within the university. The Elliott School invites proposals from George Washington University faculty for presentations that deal with the subject of water, broadly defined. We seek conference participants from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to: biology, engineering, gender studies, medicine, geography, business, law, history, political science, public health, and security studies. We ask that GW faculty interested in participating in the conference please submit presentation proposals on or before February 11, 2019. For more information, please see the full call for proposals.

Ask the Author with John M. Logsdon

Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier


Resoundingly reviewed as “a must-read,” Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is the latest publication from award-winning author and Elliott School Professor Emeritus John M. Logsdon. With what former NASA Chief Historian Roger D. Launius calls “verve and style” and “unparalleled knowledge,” Dr. Logsdon has crafted the first comprehensive telling of the Reagan administration’s civilian and commercial space policies. Gilbert Rye, the former National Security Council director for space programs, went so far as to describe the book’s “insightful analysis” as “a critical foundation that will benefit students, public servants, and industry executives for many years to come.” In the run-up to the book’s official launch, Dr. Logsdon offered further insight on his groundbreaking publication:

Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is my third (and likely last!) study of presidential decision-making on space, following John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2010) and After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (2015). Reagan was personally the most pro-space president in US history, and made decisions with respect to the space shuttle, a space station, international space cooperation, and space commercialization that merited a full treatment.

Although Reagan viewed space as the ‘final frontier,’ his administration’s decisions on space were much more pragmatic than visionary. I might have expected him to set ambitious goals for NASA, but he did not impose his perspectives on what policy options were offered him. Instead, he allowed the alternative futures in space to be defined by often contentious interactions among his advisers, and chose the path forward from what they defined as feasible, given the president's concern about budget deficits and his other priorities. Reagan was, of course, a “great communicator,” and dressed his space decisions in rhetoric about 'American exceptionalism' and the rightful role of the United States as a global leader.

Some have accused Reagan of ‘sleepwalking through history.’ That is not the image of Ronald Reagan that comes through in my book. He had a particular style of leadership, setting out his broad priorities and allowing his staff and agency heads to devise ways of achieving them. He thought through the options presented to him, then chose a course of action that fit into his overall image of where the United States should be headed. He was not a detail-oriented, top-down decision maker, but he was a leader.”

John M. Logsdon

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs

Professor Alison S. Brooks featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Alison S. Brooks

Dr. Alison S. Brooks

Professor of Anthropology

& International Affairs

Elliott School of

International Affairs

George Washington 


In their Smithsonian Magazine article, “What We Learned About Our Human Origins in 2018,” Smithsonian experts, paleolithic archaeologist Ella Beaudoin and paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner, outline a year of significant discoveries in human evolution. For Beaudoin and Pobiner, among all the discoveries of the past year that allowed the world to better know what it means to be human, those resulting from Elliott School Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Alison Brooks’ work at the Olorgesailie site in southern Kenya rank in the top six. For years, Professor Brooks and Smithsonian paleoanthropologist Rick Potts have co-lead a team exploring archaeological and paleoenvironmental records at Olorgesailie. In 2018, the Olorgesailie team published three papers in Science documenting human behavioral change and climatic variation. Among other exciting findings, Brooks and Potts’ work indicates that early humans responded to climatic uncertainty with enhanced innovation, social connection, and symbolic communication. For further information on these discoveries, please see their Science papers:

Professor Emeritus John M. Logsdon Publishes Much-Anticipated Book

John Logsdon

Dr. John M. Logsdon offers remarks at the Kennedy Space Center.

With the publication of Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier, world-renowned historian and space policy analyst John M. Logsdon has authored yet another definitive account of presidential space policy. Drawing on first-hand accounts and declassified documents, the book offers a comprehensive history of President Reagan’s civilian and commercial space policies—from the space shuttle, to the space station, and beyond. With NASA at a crossroads at the beginning of Reagan’s first term, Logsdon’s detailed and discerning account reveals that the president’s optimism and enthusiasm for US space activities ultimately made him among the most pro-space presidents in American history. For anyone interested in space exploration, Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is an essential history and deserving successor to Logsdon’s other award-winning texts, notably: John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon and After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program.

Ask the Author with Attiya Ahmad

Attiya Ahmad

Dr. Attiya Ahmad conducts research on halal tourism in Granada, Spain.

In 2017, Elliott School Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Attiya Ahmad published Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait. Critics praised Professor Ahmad’s analysis of domestic worker conversions to Islam as “engaging and worthwhile,” “poignant and patient,” and an “enormous contribution.” The Middle East Studies Association recently joined critics in lauding Ahmad’s work, awarding her the 2018 Fatima Mernissi Book Award for outstanding scholarship in the studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. After receiving the award, Professor Ahmad took the time to discuss the development of her acclaimed book: 

"I initially set out to research the transnational development of an Islamic women’s movement in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region, a project that interrogated the interrelation between transnational migration and Islamic reform. While conducting preliminary fieldwork in Kuwait, I learned of migrant domestic workers’ conversion—a relatively widespread phenomenon that many people in the region knew about but was understudied. My fascination grew the more I learned about this phenomenon and the often incommensurably different ways in which it was discussed and understood by different groups.

I was appreciative of how being attentive to gender relations and using feminist theories helped me to make sense of and analyze the gendered interrelation of domestic labour and Islamic piety. This book really underscores how important gender relations are to the interrelation of Islamic movements, labour relations, transnational migration, and the politics of citizenship. Though my work focuses on the Gulf and broader Indian Ocean and Inter-Asian regions, it is an insight those focusing on other regions could also really benefit from."

Attiya Ahmad 

Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs

Marc Lynch Recognized on Foreign Affairs' "The Best of Print 2018" List.

From among the many influential publications featured in Foreign Affairs each year, the magazine selects only ten for its annual “The Best of Print” list. This year, Elliott School Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Marc Lynch features prominently on that list. In the Foreign Affairs September/October 2018 print edition, Professor Lynch published “The New Arab Order.” An insightful and essential delineation of power, violence, and order—or rather disorder—in today’s Middle East, it’s little wonder Foreign Affairs recognized “The New Arab Order” among 2018's ten best. This is not the first time Lynch's scholarship has won acclaim. Kirkus Reviews awarded his last book, The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East, a starred review, commending it as, "An excellent, clear distillation of recent events." For more of Dr. Lynch's publications, please visit his faculty webpage.

Fang-Shou, Xi Jinping, and China’s Future: Elliott School Professor David Shambaugh Gives In-Depth Interview.

David Shambaugh Gives In-Depth Interview


War on the Rocks dedicated the most recent season of its Jaw Jaw podcast series to all things China. It’s little surprise, therefore, that the podcast recently featured Elliott School Professor of Political Science and International Affairs David Shambaugh. Author of numerous publications, including China's Future and China Goes Global: The Partial Power, Professor Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority on contemporary China. In a wide-ranging interview with University of Virginia Professor Brad Carson, Professor Shambaugh offered his expertise on the past, present, and future of Chinese politics and policy. The insightful and instructive installment of the podcast, titled "Vicious Cycle: The Opening and Closing of Chinese Politics," is a can’t-miss discussion for anyone interested in the Asia-Pacific region.

US Nuclear Waste Management: The Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy Co-Authors Three-Year Study

Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management: Strategy and Policy


The Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy (IISTP) and Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) have spent more than three years seeking a better way forward for US nuclear waste policy. As part of the Reset initiative, IISTP and CISAC examined the US nuclear waste management program and sought to identify key problems and potential solutions. The recently published report, "Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management: Strategy and Policy," is the culmination of this investigation. The study summarizes the main issues raised over the course of five meetings of world-class steering committee experts and offers “center of gravity” ideas for forging new nuclear waste management strategy and policy. Among other proposals, it includes recommendations on:

  • a new national radioactive waste management organization with a new funding strategy;
  • integration of the back-end of the US nuclear fuel cycle;
  • public engagement and consent-based siting; and 
  • regulations, risk, and safety for the geologic disposal of radioactive waste.

For more, please read the full report.

Security in Africa: New Publications from Associate Professor Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Dr. Paul D. Williams answers questions at a book launch celebrating the 2018 publication of his monograph: Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017.

Elliott School Associate Professor of International Affairs Paul Williams continues his impressive record of publication, authoring two new analyses on security in Africa. Following the August 2018 publication of his monograph, Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017, Williams again turned his attention to Somalia, serving as lead author of the December 2018 EPON Report: "Assessing the Effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)." The report targets two critical questions: to what extent has AMISOM succeeded in its strategic objectives and to what degree has the mission influenced broader Somali political and security dynamics. Meanwhile, with co-author Nina Wilén, Williams trained his expertise on Central Africa for the Journal of Modern African Studies article: "The African Union and coercive diplomacy: the case of Burundi." This article outlines the African Union's (AU) 2015 threat to use military force against the government of Burundi's wishes and goes inside the AU's conflict management toolkit by examining the effectiveness and credibility of AU coercive diplomacy.


Research Professor Marlene Laruelle Publishes Sixth Book of the Year


Marlene Laruelle

Dr. Marlene Laruelle

Research Professor of International Affairs

Director, Central Asia Program

Associate Director, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington Universtiy

With the publication of Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines and Political Battlefields, Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laruelle caps a remarkable year of publication. Russian Nationalism is Laruelle's second monograph of the year; earlier, she wrote Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation with INALCO's Jean Radvanyi. Her 2018 edited volumes include: 

Laruelle also collaborated with Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies Director Peter Rollberg to publish the co-edited volume: Mass Media in the Post-Soviet World: Market Forces, State Actors, and Political Manipulation in the Informational Environment after Communism. Congratulations to Professor Laruelle for a truly outstanding year of scholarship.


Elliott School Associate Professor Attiya Ahmad Wins Prestigious Book Award

In recognition of her 2017 book, Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait, the Middle East Studies Association awarded Elliott School Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Attiya Ahmad the 2018 Fatima Mernissi Book Award. Named for scholar and public intellectual Fatima Mernissi, this annual award honors outstanding scholarship in studies of gender, sexuality, and women's lived experience. The award committee expressed pride in giving this honor to a book that is, "lovingly researched, quiet in its aim, and yet stunning in its delineation of the lives of the women studied." For more on this stunning book, please see the official award announcement.


Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait


Ask the Author with Al Teich

In Search of Evidence Based Science Policy


In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP is the latest publication from Elliott School Research Professor, and former Director of Science & Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Al Teich. In advance of the book’s launch, Dr. Teich reflected on both the book’s evolution and the evolution of US science policy research:

"When President George W. Bush's science advisor, Jack Marburger, gave the keynote address at the AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy in 2005, he criticized the science policy research community for failing to provide information that policymakers could use. I was troubled by his critique of my field but encouraged when the National Science Foundation (NSF) established a new research program to support work that could provide the basis for a more ‘scientific’ (i.e., evidence-based) science policy. When I was asked to give a talk to AAAS a few years later, I chose the evolution of science policy research as my topic and that lit the spark that led me to write this book.

The federal government, including NSF, has been engaged in science policy at least since 1950. It has created a series of research programs, each of which in turn has disappeared. I was surprised by the absence of connections between these programs. When the most recent one—the Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP)—was established in 2007 virtually no one involved in it seemed to be aware of the fact that a similar program existed from the 1970s to 1994.

With support from the SciSIP program, science and innovation policy research have been making significant strides in recent years. The advent of ‘big data’ and new computational capabilities and techniques for merging datasets are taking their places in science and innovation policy research. Yet to be seen is how useful these advances will be for policymakers, whether improved communication between researchers and policymakers and increased involvement of policymakers in shaping research can yield results that are both scientifically valid and relevant to policymakers."

Al Teich

Research Professor of Science, Technology, and International Affairs

Ask the Author with Ilana Feldman

Life Lived in Relief


Reviewers describe Elliott School Professor Ilana Feldman’s new book, Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics, as a “formidable” and “definitive” account of the Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement. To mark the publication’s launch, Professor Feldman spoke about her author experience:

“The roots of this project lie in my earlier research in the Gaza Strip. While conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Gaza in the late 1990s, I was struck by the significance of the distinctions between ‘refugees’ and ‘natives’ in social relations and political discourse. The entire population is Palestinian, so these distinctions did not define membership in the national community, but they matter for how people were members of that community. I wanted to better understand how these categories emerged, and I began by researching the aftermath of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948, the beginning of humanitarian assistance to the displaced, and the population categories that were required to manage this assistance. This initial research revealed multidimensional and often contradictory effects of humanitarian decisions and procedures, and it led me to investigate the Palestinian relief experience with humanitarianism over seven decades and across five fields of assistance (Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria).

As I conducted this research, I was struck by just how vibrant and complex humanitarian spaces are. The scholarly literature on humanitarianism, aid providers’ own definitions of their missions, and recipients’ evaluations of this assistance all often emphasize the limits of humanitarianism—the limits of its mandate, the limits of its capacity to engage recipients as full human beings, and the limits of its ability to meet people’s multidimensional needs. Even as these limits are real, they only partially define the humanitarian experience. I was struck by the range of things that people are able to do with humanitarian tools. They press political claims, they work to alter their present and future conditions, they build complex relationships in and through categories that are meant only to manage aid delivery.

In a global political environment in which concern for refugees and migrants seems in short supply, the long Palestinian experience with displacement that I explore in Life Lived in Relief has much to teach us. It shows that humanitarian compassion—responses that address people primarily as suffering subjects and that focus on alleviating that suffering—is not an adequate alternative to a politics of hate and xenophobia. As Palestinians have insisted for seventy years, displaced persons also have political claims on us. Refugees will pursue these claims whether we recognize them or not, but their actions do not relieve us of our obligations.”

Ilana Feldman

Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs

Ask the Author with Marlene Laruelle 

Understanding Russia


With their new book, Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation, Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laruelle and co-author Jean Radvanyi offer readers what reviewers are calling a “timely,” “well-researched,” and “erudite” guide for understanding the geostrategic factors that drive today’s Russia. To celebrate the book’s launch, Professor Laruelle offered insight on Understanding Russia's origin and import:

"In a post-Cold War context, Russia’s image in the US has never been so negative. Western pundits seem happy to rekindle fear of Russia. But at the same time—and this is a key point of this book—Russia is fearful too. More than twenty-five years after the end of the Soviet Union, multiple ghosts haunt both the Russian elites and the greater society—from concerns about demographic and economic decline, to worries about the country’s vulnerability to external intervention. We thought it was important to ‘deconstruct’ Russia as a threat and show the deep, structural reasons that explain Russia’s behavior in and perceptions of the world.

When we apply analytical frameworks that social sciences have developed for other parts of the world to Russia, we do not see Russia as an 'other.' We do not see it as fundamentally and radically different from 'us.' We do not see it as an 'exception.' On the contrary, we see it as part of a continuum with the West. It’s important to recognize that, despite conventional descriptions, today’s Russia is a much more 'normal' country than it is perceived to be. Its social and ideological changes are in fact in tune with those happening in the rest of the world—especially those taking place in Europe."

Marlene Laruelle

Research Professor of International Affairs

Ask the Author with Paul Heer

Ask the Author with Paul Heer


With his new book, Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia, veteran East Asia analyst and Elliott School Adjunct Professor Paul Heer sheds new light on Kennan’s legacy. Before his book launch, Heer took a moment to discuss the book that critics call "meticulously researched," "necessary," and "fascinating”:

"As a Cold War-era student of diplomatic history, I was a longtime disciple of George F. Kennan’s realist perspective on the Soviet Union (and his own work as a historian). My subsequent professional experience as an intelligence analyst on East Asian affairs led me to a greater appreciation for Kennan’s involvement with US policy in the Far East—and a realization that this aspect of his career had largely been overlooked by other scholars. So when I returned to academia for my doctoral studies at GW, I combined my academic and professional interests into a subject that would also fill a gap in the historical record.  

As I researched the dissertation that eventually became the book, I was surprised at how narrowly Kennan applied his famous doctrine of 'containment' within East Asia—and especially by his persistent dismissal of the strategic importance of China. I was also surprised that no other scholar had 'stolen my thunder' by recognizing that the depth and extent of Kennan’s involvement with the Far East merited a book-length examination!

The key takeaway from Kennan’s experience with East Asia is that Washington needs to recognize the limits on American influence, power, and interests in the Far East, and should calibrate and rationalize its engagement and strategic objectives there accordingly."

Paul J. Heer

Adjunct Professor of International Affairs

Elliott School Research Centers and Institutes Win Prestigious Title VI Grants

Elliott School Research


September 2018

The Elliott School of International Affairs’ Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS), and Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) have been awarded approximately $3 million in grant funding under the US Department of Education’s prestigious Title VI program over the four-year life of the grant.

The Sigur Center and Institute for Korean Studies together received the highly regarded designation of National Resource Center (NRC) for East Asian Studies. The designation—the first time these two centers have received NRC status—enhances the institutes’ ability to engage the broader public community, including students, K-12 educators, HBCUs, policymakers, military veterans, journalists and the general public on regional and global issues of importance. With this award, GW joins a handful of other world-leading universities, including Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, which have likewise been recognized with this honor.

“The recognition of our programmatic excellence significantly enhances our reputation and funding resources. It demonstrates the scholarly excellence and will increase public outreach which have long been hallmarks of the center’s collective intellectual life,” Sigur Center Director Ben Hopkins said.

Additionally, the Sigur Center, GWIKS and IMES have been awarded over 90 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships which support undergraduate and graduate students studying modern foreign languages and related area or international studies. 

"The Elliott School is a place where learning and leadership come together,” said Reuben E. Brigety, II, dean of the Elliott School. “These awards reflect the serious commitment we have made to enhance our regional area studies and foreign language acquisition. The Title VI grants underscore the importance and relevance of research at GW.”

About Title VI
Title VI is a provision of the 1965 Higher Education Act, funding centers for area studies that serve as vital national resources for world regional knowledge and foreign language training. National Resource Centers teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels and conduct research focused on specific world regions, international studies, and the teaching of less commonly taught languages. The FLAS fellowship program complements the NRC program, providing opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to engage in area studies and world language training.

About the Sigur Center for Asian Studies
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies is a university research institute and the academic home of the Asian Studies Program of the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. Its mission is to increase the quality and broaden the scope of scholarly research and publication on Asia, promote US-Asian scholarly interaction, and educate a new generation of students, scholars, analysts, and policymakers.

About the GW Institute for Korean Studies 
Founded in 2016, the GW Institute for Korean Studies is a university wide institute housed in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. The establishment of the GWIKS in 2016 was made possible by a generous grant from the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS). The mission of GWIKS is to consolidate, strengthen, and grow the existing Korean studies program at GW, and more generally in the greater DC area and beyond. The institute enables and enhances productive research and education relationships within GW, and among many experts throughout the region and the world.

About the Institute for Middle East Studies 
The Institute for Middle East Studies was founded in 2007 as part of a broad, university wide initiative to support academic work on the Middle East. IMES faculty represent a breadth of disciplines from political science and history to anthropology, art history, and media and public affairs.

Ask the Author with Melani McAlister

Melani McAlister

Dr. Melani McAlister 


Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

Professor Melani McAlister’s latest book, The Kingdom of God Has No Borders, is a groundbreaking, transnational study of American evangelical politics. Critics laud the monograph as “meticulously researched,” “deeply absorbing,” and, quite simply, “an enthralling work of stunning originality and ingenuity.” Prior to her book launch, McAlister took the time to discuss her book’s beginnings and conclusions:

"I am generally interested in how ordinary people become invested in international issues. My first book was on American perceptions of the Middle East, and I knew that US evangelicals were an important component of US support for Israel. I followed that thread and discovered the very broad range of ways that US evangelical Christians, both black and white, were invested in international issues regarding the Middle East and also Africa. That led me to this broad history of American evangelicals in a global context, starting with debates about decolonization in the 1960s and ending with the debate over anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda.

I was surprised at how vigorous the debates have been among evangelicals, about issues including racism, gender politics, global poverty, religious oppression, and the US war in Iraq. This is a conservative movement, but not monolithically so, and not always in ways we expect. I was also surprised at just how global evangelicalism is. Americans tend to be a bit narrow in our understandings of the world, and this is true for evangelicals too, in general. But increasingly American evangelicals have had to start taking seriously the fact that Christianity is a global religion, numerically stronger in the global South, and that has led them to become more aware of the issues facing people outside the US, from HIV-AIDS to debt relief. Being more global isn't always a liberalizing force for evangelicals—sometimes it can strengthen conservative arguments about gender and sexuality or about conflicts between Christians and Muslims—but once we scholars pay attention to transnational realities, it changes how we see the politics among Americans. As I say in the book, the profound political differences that exist among evangelicals are easier to see if your vision encompasses both Kinshasa and Kansas.

Going forward, it’s important to pay attention to the evangelical world beyond white American evangelical conservatives. They are certainly very important, and they were a major force behind the election of President Trump, but both in the US and internationally, there are key political divisions to consider. People of color constitute 25-45% of the US evangelical community, and they are a clear majority globally. They share some views with white Americans and they disagree strongly on others. We need to pay attention to the complexity, diversity, and debates that characterize American evangelicals and their global context."

Melani McAlister

Professor of American Studies and International Affairs


Rollie Lal analyzes: "China, India, and the Slippery Business of Oil."

Elliott School Research

Dr. Rollie Lal

Visiting Associate Professor

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

The latest edition of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation's China-India Brief features Elliott School Visiting Associate Professor Rollie Lal. In a guest column, Lal analyzes China, India, and global oil and energy markets, noting, "China and India’s rapid economic growth in the past few decades has been fueled (pun intended) by rising levels of energy consumption, and the global implications of these heavy-weights as players in the oil market cannot be underestimated." To learn more, read her complete column: "China, India, and the Slippery Business of Oil."

Ask the Author with Associate Professor Paul D. Williams

Elliott School Research

Dr. Paul D. Williams (third from the left) on a research trip to Mogadishu.

In his August 2018 publication, Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017, author and Elliott School Associate Professor Paul D. Williams offers the first comprehensive analysis of the African Union's longest running mission. In advance of his book launch, Professor Williams reflected on research incentives, insights, and implications:

"AMISOM is now the world’s largest and most dangerous peace operation. I wanted to understand how it could stabilize one of the world’s most failed states and whether it could defeat one of the world’s most deadly insurgent groups, Harakat al-Shabaab. As well as being the African Union’s longest, largest, and most costly operation, AMISOM also exemplifies the complex challenges of 'partnership peacekeeping,' the process by which multiple international organizations and states try and work together to stabilize the host country.

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity and brutality of the war against al-Shabaab as well as by the continual sacrifices made and hardships endured by the peacekeepers. I was also struck by the large gap between the capabilities given to AMISOM and the expectations placed upon it to deliver peace in Somalia.

The key takeaway is that politicians should not expect peacekeepers to deliver peace in Somalia in the absence of a viable political strategy to resolve the country’s multiple armed conflicts."

Paul D. Williams

Associate Professor of International Affairs


GWToday: Putin Uses ‘Divide and Rule’ Tactics against His Hardline Allies

Elliott School Research

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained power for almost two decades. (Colette Kent/Elliott School of International Affairs)

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian president has maintained power for almost two decades.

September 10, 2018

By Tatyana Hopkins


Though Russian President Vladimir Putin may find his exercise of power gratifying in some ways, he probably also finds it “increasingly exhausting” but fears what would happen to him if he steps down, said George Washington University Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Peter Reddaway.

“I think he has similar feelings about retirement to what a lot of us have—that it's time to do different things,” Mr. Reddaway said. “But I think it is very difficult for him to resign or to retire at the end of a term in office because he doesn't feel safe doing it.”

Read the full article here.

Jonathan Chaves on Poetry Spoken Here

Elliott School Research

Dr. Jonathan Chaves

Professor of Chinese

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

Congratulations to poet, Elliott School professor, and master translator of classical Chinese poetry Jonathan Chaves for his recent two-part feature on the Poetry Spoken Here podcast. Host and poet Charlie Rossiter interviews Chaves in episodes 72 and 73 of this bi-monthly poetry discussion. To explore more, check out Jonathan Chaves' latest book: Cave of the Immortals: The Poetry and Prose of Bamboo Painter Wen Tong (1019-1079).


Dr. Albert Teich: In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy

Elliott School Research

Dr. Albert H. Teich

Research Professor

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

With the publication of his latest monograph, In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP, Dr. Albert Teich tracks the evolution of US science policy research largely as it has been conducted in universities and supported by the National Science Foundation, from its beginnings in the early 1960s to the present time, from reliance on expert opinion to more systematic, empirical studies. It examines how a community developed, the growth and decline of federal support, the emergence of the SciSIP (Science of Science and Innovation Policy) program and the ways in which that program has fostered new approaches to science policy. It concludes that the tools and data sets being created by program researchers can have significant impacts on policy, not just in science and technology, but in other fields as well.

Dr. Teich is a research professor of science, technology, and international affairs with the Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy. He came to the Elliott School in February 2012, following a distinguished 32-year career with the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Ask the Author with Professor Emeritus Peter Reddaway

Elliott School Research


In his latest publication, Russia's Domestic Security Wars: Putin's Use of Divide and Rule Against His Hardline Allies, Peter Reddaway draws on extensive research to construct a detailed study of Russian President Putin's methods of staying in power. Reviewers herald the book as, "gripping," "brilliant," and, "a must read." In conjunction with his book launch, Professor Reddaway took the time to discuss research ideas, surprises, and takeaways:

“I was led to this topic by President Putin's chronic instinct for secrecy and deception. He assiduously promotes an image of the ruling Russian elite as being, with rare exceptions, united and harmonious. So I dug into his relations with his support groups and found a very different picture: in fact, he encourages and secretively promotes feuds between them, so that they will use their spare energies on these and not on devising ways to gain influence and limit his power (and ultimately perhaps take his power away from him).

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity of the warfare between the two hardline groups I chose to focus on. They hardly hesitated to murder key supporters of the other side, nor to attack each other viciously in the media.

The key takeaway is that Putin has to resort to such measures because he is much less powerful, and potentially more vulnerable, than he pretends to be.”

Peter Reddaway

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs