Responding to Catastrophe: Democratic Responses to Complex Humanitarian Emergencies


Date and Time

January 21, 2010 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Reuben W. Hills Conference Room

FSI Contact

Justin C. Liszanckie

Why do Western democracies respond militarily to complex humanitarian emergencies when and as they do?  Why do they send peacekeepers or combat forces to some conflicts and not others?  When they do so, how do they choose the political goals, military strategies, and military resources that they contribute to these operations?  I will explain what I mean by the term ‘complex humanitarian emergency,' and lay out the humanitarian implications of different kinds of military responses.  To illustrate, I will provide a few examples of complex emergencies and Western responses to them.  I will also offer some ideas about the factors that influence these policy decisions, and demonstrate their importance with a few comparative examples of Australian responses to complex humanitarian emergencies in its region.

Andrea Everett is a 2009-2010 CISAC visiting scholar. A Ph.D candidate in international relations at the Department of Politics at Princeton University, she is also a 2004 CISAC Undergraduate Honors Program graduate.  After graduating from Stanford but before arriving at Princeton, Andrea spent a year studying transatlantic relations in Berlin, Germany on a Fulbright scholarship.

Andrea's research interests include international security and comparative democratic foreign policy. She is especially interested in the role of domestic political influences on democratic states' foreign policy decisions in the security arena. Her dissertation, "Responding to Catastrophe: Explaining Democratic Responsiveness to Complex Emergencies," seeks to explain why Western democracies respond to complex humanitarian emergencies abroad when and as they do. She focuses on understanding when and how these states decide to use military force in pursuit of positive humanitarian outcomes, and investigates the roles of public pressure, characteristics of complex emergencies, military capabilities, and national interests in these decisions.

Kenneth Schultz is an associate professor of political science at Stanford University and an affiliated faculty member at CISAC. His research examines how domestic political factors such as elections, party competition, and public opinion influence decisions to use force in international disputes and efforts to negotiate the end of international rivalries.

He is the author of Democracy and Coercive Diplomacy (Cambridge, 2001), as well as a number of articles in scholarly journals. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2003 Karl Deutsch Award, given by the International Studies Association to a scholar under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the study of international relations and peace research. Schultz received his BA in Russian and Soviet studies from Harvard University and his PhD in political science from Stanford University.