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Graduate Research Assistance (Remote) on Lessons Learned in Preventing and Responding to Atrocities

The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum seeks one or more graduate student research assistants to contribute to its project on lessons learned in preventing and responding to mass atrocities.

Project Overview

It is inarguable that knowledge about the effectiveness of different policy options should influence how governments devise strategies to prevent and respond to atrocities. Beyond the general need to tailor strategies to the specifics of any given case, three interrelated problems impede the realization of this vision: (1) Extant knowledge is diffuse and rarely organized in ways that respond to policymakers’ key questions; (2) There are large gaps in the existing knowledge base; and, (3) Policy processes frequently fail to make use of policy-relevant knowledge, even when it exists in accessible forms. 

This project aims to improve atrocity prevention strategies by strengthening their linkages to an expanding and increasingly accessible body of policy-relevant knowledge. The first element of the project is to collect, distill, and organize existing policy-relevant knowledge—defined broadly to include theoretical and empirical research as well as the insights of experienced practitioners. Outputs of the project will include evidence briefs that will form the basis of an interactive online resource for atrocity prevention policy makers and researchers looking to fill gaps in atrocity prevention research.

Graduate Student Researcher Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct systematic literature reviews on a set list of atrocity prevention tools using an established research protocol. Systematic reviews attempt to “comprehensively identify, appraise, and synthesize all the relevant studies on a given topic” (Petticrew and Roberts 2006). Graduate student researchers will be responsible for reading all scholarly and gray literature uncovered in systematic searches and identifying policy-relevant findings to be included evidence briefs. Examples of atrocity prevention tools to be researched include broad-based and targeted sanctions, mediation, prosecution of suspected perpetrators, peacekeeping, and diplomatic sanctions.

  • Work with members of the research team to compile evidence briefs on each atrocity prevention tool.

  • Work with members of the research team to assess the strength of the evidence on each atrocity prevention tool according to a set of evaluative criteria.

  • Potentially participate in discussions of project findings and outputs with atrocity prevention policy makers and researchers.


  • Duration: The Simon-Skjodt Center is seeking graduate student researchers for 6 to 8 months, starting early April and going through Fall 2020.

  • Hours: Graduate student researchers will work 10 to 40 hours per week.

  • Compensation: competitive, based on experience.

Selection Criteria

Applicants should be in at least their second year of their Masters or PhD program at an accredited university. Applicants must have a strong interest in mass atrocities and their prevention or in related fields, such as conflict resolution, political science or international affairs, and in research methods used to assess the effects of policy tools. Excellent research, writing, and synthesis skills are required as well as a familiarity with cases of contemporary mass atrocities and the tools used by governments to respond.

How to Apply

Interested parties should submit the following materials to Kyra Fox at [](mailto: by Monday, March 16:

  • Cover letter

  • Resume or CV and contact information for two references

  • Two academic writing samples

About the Simon-Skjodt Center

The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide is dedicated to stimulating timely global action to prevent genocide and to catalyze an international response when it occurs. Our goal is to make the prevention of genocide a core foreign policy priority for leaders around the world through a multipronged program of research, education, and public outreach. We work to equip decision makers, starting with officials in the United States but also extending to other governments, with the knowledge, tools, and institutional support required to prevent—or, if necessary, halt—genocide and related crimes against humanity. For more information, visit