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ISA Convention Reveals Gap Between Research and Policy Communities for Atrocity Prevention


Members of the Simon-Skjodt Center research team recently attended the 58th Annual International Studies Association (ISA) Convention in Baltimore, MD. This event convenes scholars, researchers, and other practitioners from around the world to share ideas, reconnect, and forge potential new collaborations. The wide variety of attendees from a number of different areas of expertise created a robust environment of intellectual engagement and discussion.

The sessions spanned an array of topics including peacebuilding, transitional justice, civil wars, computational methods, non-state actors, human rights, and many more. 

Several takeaways from the convention:

  • The conference highlighted a gap between the research and policy communities. Such a gap suggests a role to play for the Simon-Skjodt Center, where our research and policy divisions work closely together in promoting atrocity prevention.
  • The exposure to varied ideas and perspectives was one of the hallmarks of the conference, as it provided a healthy respite from the potential trap of confirmation bias or homogenous thinking.
  • Many political scientists believe there has been too much focus on criminal investigations in transitional justice studies (as opposed to other areas like restorative justice).  
  • And finally, one panel explored international courts’ role in deterring future human rights abuses. A few hypotheses were offered on factors that increase deterrence, though one panelist explained that researchers remain in the early stages when it comes to comprehensively understanding the role of the ICC in deterrence.

Tags:   atrocity prevention

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