1307 Events

A Ground-Based Interceptor missile launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Sept. 12, 2021.

AP/Matt Hartman

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

The Eternal Promise of Missile Defense

Thu., Mar. 21, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Sanne Verschuren, Assistant Professor of International Security, The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Despite nearly seventy years of research and development in the United States, missile defense continues to face high, if not insurmountable, technological challenges, is financially burdensome, and has resulted in negative outcomes for strategic stability. Hence, the speaker asks: What explains the continued and widespread support for missile defense among U.S. policymakers? Contrary to arguments about American cultural features, public appeal, and organizational politics, she examines two conditions that can explain the persistence of missile defense: technological malleability and patterns of ignorance.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

U.S. President Gerald Ford and Soviet Communist Party Chief Leonid Brezhnev sign the joint communiqué at the conclusion of their two days meeting near Vladivostok, Nov. 24, 1974.

AP/CB

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Escaping MAD: Technology, Politics, and U.S. Nuclear Strategy

Thu., Mar. 14, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: David Kearn, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

The book project seeks to explain the divergence of views of within the strategic community after the signing of the SALT I Accords and the subsequent shift in U.S. strategic nuclear policy away from "assured destruction" to "nuclear warfighting" throughout the 1970s and culminating in the Reagan administrations "prevailing strategy."

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

A woman puts a scarf on a statue of a comfort woman sitting in a installation of empty chairs symbolizing the victims in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 27, 2017.

AP/Lee Jin-man

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Legacies of Gender-Based Violence: Evidence from World War II 'Comfort Stations'

Thu., Mar. 7, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Sumin Lee, ACES Assistant Professor, Department of International Affairs, The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

What are the long-term effects of wartime sexual violence on trust? Rape is an old feature of warfare, but the intergenerational transmission of such trauma in communities remains poorly understood. Scholars theorize how wartime sexual violence has disparate effects on social and political trust. While sexual violence sours public opinion of the state for its security failures, it forces affected communities to turn to private kinship and social bonds as a coping mechanism, increasing social trust in the long run.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

 In this June, 27, 2017 file photo, rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, wave white peace flags during an act to commemorate the completion of their disarmament process in Buenavista, Colombia. The Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a new U.N. political mission in Colombia to focus on reintegrating leftist rebels into society after decades of war.

AP/Fernando Vergara, File

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

How Does the United Nations Affect Former Foot Soldiers' Attitudes? Evidence from an Ex-Combatant Survey in Colombia

Thu., Feb. 29, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Michael Weintraub, Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes 

Since the end of the Cold War, the United Nations (UN) has increased its involvement in countries emerging from conflict. Most work on UN peacekeeping focuses on how it decreases the odds of conflict relapse by reassuring elite and mid-level commanders. Yet understanding the attitudes of former rank-and-file fighters—low-ranking recruits who primarily do the soldiering—is a pressing task. The speaker and his co-authors conducted an original phone-based survey of 4,435 former combatants of the FARC-EP, Colombia’s largest rebel group, which demobilized following a 2016 peace agreement.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

Kang Yun Sok, center right, vice-chairman of North Korea's Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly and Chinese Ambassador to North Korea Wang Yajun, center left, look around the Friendship Tower as they attended a wreath-laying ceremony on the 73rd anniversary of the entry of the Chinese People's Volunteers into the Korean front at the tower in Pyongyang, North Korea, Oct. 25, 2023.

AP/Jon Chol Jin

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Strategies of Security Cooperation: External Balancing in Chinese Foreign Policy, 1949–Present

Thu., Feb. 22, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Eleanor Freund, Research Fellow, International Security Program

What factors explain variation in China's security cooperation with other states? Why has China formed alliances or deployed troops to fight alongside partners in some cases, while in others it has limited itself to the transfer of weapons or the signature of neutrality agreements? More generally, how can scholars measure and explain the range of security cooperation behaviors that states exhibit in both peacetime and war?

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

Focus group discussion with women who fled Boko Haram's insurgency, 10 May 2018.

Courtesy of Antonia Juelich

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Civilian Rebels: Power, Protection, and Turbulence Inside Boko Haram Strongholds

Thu., Feb. 15, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Antonia Juelich, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program

What happens when civilians in conflict zones from Somalia to Syria find themselves in rebel strongholds? It is often assumed that they either cooperate or resist insurgents in such contexts. The messy reality, however, is that people rarely fall in just one category. . Narratives from former Boko Haram associates, collected during extensive fieldwork in Nigeria, reveal that they executed and refused orders, provided labor from domestic chores to high-risk military support, were enslaved and empowered in the group's forest camps. This seminar describes a broad spectrum of civilian engagement, from collusion to compliance to resistance, and explains what gives rise to such unexpected turbulence in highly controlled settings. The offered framework introduces the concept of militarized rebel governance and demonstrates how noncombatants adapt by engaging in power struggles to survive or even thrive in the system.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee & Tea Provided.

South Sudanese girl at independence celebration, 9 July 2011

Public Domain/Jonathan Morgenstein/USAID

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Reviving the Spirit of South Sudan

Thu., Feb. 8, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

This seminar is cancelled.

Speaker: Peter Biar Ajak, Fellow, Middle East Initiative

On July 9, 2011, a momentous occasion unfolded as hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese converged at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum to witness the birth of their newfound nation. However, just two years later, this optimism was eclipsed by a power struggle between the president and vice president, sparking a devastating civil war. Tragically, this conflict swiftly assumed ethnic dimensions, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, the displacement of millions, and the severe deterioration of the economy. The initial euphoria of independence was soon replaced by profound disillusionment. Today, South Sudan finds itself languishing at the lowest rungs of international indicators. The question that begs an answer is: What precipitated this unfortunate turn of events, and is there still hope for South Sudanese to rekindle the unity and sense of purpose that characterized their proclamation of independence?

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee & Tea Provided.

President Jimmy Carter along with George M. Seignious, right, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency briefs community leaders on SALT II at the White House in Washington, Oct. 12, 1979.

AP/Charles Tasnadi

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

A Strange Arms Debate: Legitimation, Essential Equivalence, and Carter's Nuclear Strategy

Thu., Feb. 1, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Colleen Larkin, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

President Jimmy Carter entered office committed to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. foreign policy. He espoused the logic of mutually assured destruction and hoped for major arms control progress. Yet by the end of his presidency, he had embraced a competitive nuclear posture and accelerated the arms race. What explains this shift in Carter’s strategy? 

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

A phone screenshot with notifications from a Ukrainian air raid app.

Mariana Budjeryn

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Impressions from a Journey to Ukraine

Thu., Jan. 25, 2024 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Mariana Budjeryn, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

What is it like living in a country at war? How does the war imprint itself on everyday life, on holidays and celebrations, on work and art, even far away from the active front line, in the deep rear? Mariana Budjeryn traveled to visit her family in Lviv, western Ukraine, over the holiday break. She shares her impressions and reflections on life amid Christmas carols and air raid sirens and on how ordinary people contribute to the war effort and cope with the losses and grief it inflicts, amid uncertain prospects for its conclusion.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.

French troops evacuate the Coblenz Zone of the demilitarized Rhineland in 1929.

Wikimedia CC/Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-08810

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

The Strategic Logic of Pacification Agreements

Thu., Dec. 7, 2023 | 12:15pm - 1:45pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Anatoly Levshin, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program

Why do states conclude treaties restricting the use of military power in particular geographical domains or against particular states? Across the past two centuries, states have concluded over seventy such pacification agreements. Examples include the neutralization of Belgium (1839–1919), demilitarization of the Rhineland (1919–1936), and renunciation of the right of war under the League of Nations (1920–1946) and United Nations (1945–). In this seminar, Anatoly Levshin will argue that pacification agreements should be understood as strategic solutions to the risk of inefficient escalation of interstate wars and that variation in their institutional design should be understood as deliberate adaptation to shifts in the perceived distribution of that risk. This argument will be validated using case studies composed with original archival research.

Open to Harvard ID Holders Only: Admittance will be on a first come–first served basis. Coffee &Tea Provided.