Cortright Named Director of Policy Studies


David Cortright has been named director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. 

In his new position, Cortright will work to raise the visibility and strengthen the impact of the policy-relevant research of Kroc faculty and fellows among key decision-makers in government, the United Nations, and other national and international policy-making bodies. 

Cortright is a graduate of Notre Dame, an Army veteran, and a long-time scholar, professor, and advocate of nonviolence. He is an expert on nuclear weapons policy, prevention of conflict through economic sanctions, and counter-terrorism.

Cortright plans to expand work in these areas, while encouraging the development of new policy studies on issues critical to peace and human security. He will assume his new role at Kroc in July, and is already planning a major conference on nuclear nonproliferation, to be held in Helsinki, Finland, in October.

“I’m thrilled to take this position at Kroc at a time when faculty and fellows are generating so much new insight into the causes of war and ways to build peace,” said Cortright. “There’s never been a more important time to address the problems of armed conflict and nuclear danger. We have a real opportunity to make significant progress.”

Cortright is stepping down from his position as director of the Fourth Freedom Forum in Goshen, Indiana; he will become chairman of the Forum’s board of directors. He replaces Gerard F. Powers, who will become Director of Catholic Peacebuilding Studies at Kroc. 

Cortright will continue to teach his Notre Dame classes in peace studies and nonviolent social change for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Policy work enriches education, because students are hungry for teaching that is relevant to the real world,” he said. “They want to know: What’s going on at the UN? How are governments dealing with Iraq and Iran? What should we do in Afghanistan?  These are the topics of the most enthusiastic classroom discussions.”

At the same time, students enrich policy research, Cortright said. “When my students conduct research and write about issues such as training the military and peacebuilders  to prevent conflict in the Philippines, or the impact of natural resource extraction on the war in the Congo,  I learn as much from them as they do from me.”

Cortright is the author or editor of 15 books, including Uniting Against Terror: Cooperative Nonmilitary Responses to the Global Military Threat (MIT Press) and Peace: A History of Movements & Ideas (Cambridge University Press). He has advised various agencies of the United Nations, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, the International Peace Academy, and the MacArthur Foundation. Along with his research collaborator and Kroc professor George A. Lopez, he has provided research and consulting services to the Foreign Ministry of Sweden, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and the Foreign Ministry of Germany.

The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute is a leading center for the study of the causes of armed conflict and strategies for sustainable peace. 

Contact: David Cortright, (574) 298-8584 (international cell) or