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Korbel professor on list of top global thinkers

Erica Chenoweth has been named to Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top Global Thinkers list. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

University of Denver associate professor Erica Chenoweth has been named to Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top Global Thinkers list. Chenoweth, a faculty member at the University’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is included in the “Healers” category.

The editors of the December issue of Foreign Policy Magazine indicate that Chenoweth received this honor “For proving Gandhi right.” They further explain, “She uses her data to show that nonviolent campaigns over the last century were twice as likely to succeed as violent ones. She also uses them to make arguments about current events: for instance, why U.S. strikes on Syria aren’t wise and why Egypt’s pro-government sit-ins over the summer were unlikely to work.”

“‘It’s incredibly humbling to be considered a healer in our world. I certainly share this honor with my colleagues, students, friends and family who have inspired me with their work and have been so supportive of mine,” Chenoweth says. “I am so grateful that I work at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School, which puts the well-being of people around the world at the forefront of its educational mission.”

Chenoweth is an affiliate of the Korbel School’s Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy and also is an associate senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Through her research, she takes on some of today’s key questions about political violence and its alternatives. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Economist and elsewhere. This year she received the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, a $100,000 prize that she shares with her co-author, Maria Stephan, in recognition of the ideas contained in their book, “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.” The book also won the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award.

Chenoweth’s current research projects include:

The Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO) Data Project. This multi-level data collection effort catalogs major nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns around the globe from 1900-2011. NAVCO is the first project of its kind to systematically explore how civil movements might sequence their tactics to successfully challenge their opponents without resorting to arms. The project is supported by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and the University of Denver.

Terrorism Network Project.  Here, Chenoweth is working with Philip Potter of the University of Michigan and Michael Horowitz of the University of Pennsylvania to collect data on how violent nonstate actor networks emerge, with whom these actors ally, and how these alliances induce or restrain violent behavior. The project assumes that understanding relationships between violent groups will help to understand how to reduce the capacity of these groups to inflict harm. The group received funding to support this research from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative.

Government Actions in Terror Environments (GATE) Data Project.  GATE regards the question of how best respond to violent nonstate actors. To this end, Chenoweth and criminologist Laura Dugan (University of Maryland) are collecting and analyzing data on conciliatory and repressive government actions toward terrorist groups and the populations from which they emerge. To date, GATE is the most comprehensive source of information on how governments respond on a day-to-day basis to terrorist violence. So far, Chenoweth and Dugan have found that conciliatory actions toward the general public often have far more promise in reducing terrorist violence than is commonly thought. The project is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian Ministry of Public Safety.


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