Peace Research at Notre Dame Cited in Congress

Author: Joan Fallon

In an impassioned speech before the U.S. House of Representatives in early June, Rep. David Price (D-NC) defended federally funded social science research and mentioned “research by the University of Notre Dame on third-party peace-making” as an example of support for “valuable, practical research that informs policymakers and government agencies on issues as vital as natural disaster response, environmental regulation, and foreign policy.”

In mentioning Notre Dame, Price was referring to a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to the Kroc Institute (in 2009) that supported research by Erik Melander, the late John Darby, and Peter Wallensteen to examine how third parties can help end civil wars.

Price also referred to NSF-funded research on the public’s response to Hurricane Katrina (at Rice University) and to the BP oil spill (at Louisiana State University); on the causes and consequences of terrorist attacks (at Penn State and UNC-Chapel Hill); on competition for natural resources as a force in international conflict (at University of Georgia and University of Colorado); and on dispute resolution mechanisms that lead to lasting peace (at University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa).

Price said NSF funding “taps the best minds in the country to help us better understand and address some of the most vexing policy dilemmas we face. The body of work it has produced informs the decisions of America’s first responders, military leaders, regulators, diplomats, and policymakers.”

The NSF-funded “third-party peace-making” project emerged from a collaboration between the Kroc Institute’s Peace Accords Matrix and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program in Sweden.

The full statement (text and video) to Congress is on the website of Duke University, where Rep. Price, a political scientist, is on the faculty.

Contact: David Cortright, 574-631-8536,