Research Projects

Below you will find a chronological list of research projects in the Studies Program. You can search by issue or region by selecting the appropriate category. In addition to this sorting control, you can search for specific subjects within the alphabetical, regional, and issue categories by choosing from the selections in the drop-down menu below.

Each project page contains the name of the project director, a description of the project, a list of meetings it has held, and any related publications, transcripts, or videos.

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Center for Preventive Action Project on Nigeria

Directors: Barnett R. Rubin, New York University, and Peter M. Lewis
Chair: Pearl T. Robinson
January 1, 1996—March 1, 1999

Nigeria has recently undergone sudden changes in leadership and is now struggling to consolidate the gains from the return to elected government. Nonetheless, ethnic, religious, and regional tensions as well as economic malaise continue to contribute to the potential for conflict. Due to Nigeria’s dominant position in West Africa and its vast oil reserves, an eruption of conflict would have substantial regional and international repercussions.

CPA’s Project on Nigeria concentrates on the role of Nigerian civil society in preventing conflict and pressing for sustainable democratic reform. CPA sent a study mission to Nigeria in January 1997 to evaluate developments in civil society and identify opportunities for partnerships between organizations in the United States and Nigeria. Drawing on both the mission and subsequent meetings, the Nigeria project recently released the third volume of CPA’s Preventive Action Reports, Stabilizing Nigeria: Sanctions, Incentives, and Support for Civil Society (1998).

Capitol Hill Roundtable: Trade

Director: Bruce Stokes
September 1, 1996—December 1, 1997
The Capitol Hill Roundtable sought to help Congress adapt to a more polarized environment where questions of trade, U.S. financial commitments abroad, and the deepening U.S. engagement in the global economy have become particularly contentious. The goal was to provide a forum for a regular, informal, bipartisan exchange of views about U.S. foreign economic policy. This roundtable has been folded into the Council's broader Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program

Capitol Hill Roundtable: Asia

Director: Bruce Stokes
April 1, 1997—October 1, 1997
The Asia-Capitol Hill Roundtable, launched in conjunction with several congressional offices, facilitated interaction between experts in the field and Hill staff aides responsible for framing legislation on Asia issues. The roundtable sessions dealt with a range of Asia-related concerns on the Washington policy agenda, including the U.S.-Japan alliance and China's bid to join the World Trade Organization. These roundtables have been folded into the Council's broader Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program.

Culture and Development Roundtable

Director: Alberta Arthurs
November 1, 1996—May 1, 1997
The concept of "culture and development" is surfacing today at the World Bank, the British Council, UNESCO, SIDA, and other agencies within the development community. At the base of this concept is the recognition that cultural factors--ranging from religion to artistic expression--fortify or impede movements toward democratization and modernization. This project aimed to find and examine the best definitions and ideas, to produce a conceptual framework for the subject, and to determine the best practices in the field. Speakers addressed the issue through the lenses of religion, anthropology, identity, and the arts.

Culture and Foreign Policy Roundtable

Director: Michael J. Sandel
March 1, 1996—December 1, 1996
Some of the most important developments in world politics today are neither military nor economic but more broadly cultural. This roundtable sought to redress the balance among these imperatives by examining the way in which civic, moral, and political culture--including currents in religion, civil society, literature, the arts, and the media--shape the forces with which foreign policy contends. Highlights included discussions on modernity in the Middle East and the evolving nature of citizenship and political and social identity.

CFR Sessions for 2014 Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship

In May 2014 CFR hosted a series of workshops for participants in Humanity in Action's inaugural Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship. This transatlantic program, which brings together twenty-four graduate students in foreign affairs, is designed to increase awareness of the importance of diversity in diplomacy in the next generation of foreign policy leaders. CFR held a workshop for the participants on op-ed writing, along with discussions on foreign policy issues such as U.S. policy in Africa, the future of Latin America, and instability in Ukraine.

These workshops were made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation.

China and India as Emerging Powers Project

Director: Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies

The Japan studies program is excited to announce a new project initiative, China and India as Emerging Powers: Challenge or Opportunity for the United States and Japan? This project examines the rise of China and India in global affairs and study the economic, security, and environmental implications of global governance. Particular focus will be given to the implications for the United States and for Japanese policymaking. Envisaged policy discussion topics include: the global consequences of Chinese and Indian economic growth and the effect of the countries' simultaneous rise on global economic management; how the countries' growth will shape their global and regional military influence; the international coordination needed to manage competition for energy resources and to ameliorate the environmental consequences of global warming; and the types of influence the world might expect to see emanate from these two new globalizing power centers.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Conflict in a Connected World Roundtable Series

Director: Paul B. Stares, General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of the Center for Preventive Action

Contemporary conflict is being increasingly shaped by information technology. The Internet has become a vital new battleground while social media and other mass communication tools now comprise a valuable virtual arsenal for waging war—not only for the immediate combatants, but also for interested parties beyond conflict zones. How is social media shaping and being shaped by conflict? How are repressive regimes taking advantage of these platforms to censor, surveil, and repress their citizens? And, how can governments use these tools to empower activists working in dangerous and draconian environments? CFR's Center for Preventive Action, in partnership with Google Ideas, convened a series of roundtables with technical experts, high-level policymakers, and those with first-hand experience leveraging technology in conflict settings to explore these questions.

Meeting Notes:

The Syrian Conflict in a Connected World (PDF)

Smarter Sanctions (PDF)

The Future of Digital Repression (PDF)

Conflict in a Connected World Series Summary (PDF)


Dual Use Research: Repercussions for Security

Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health
January 18, 2013—Present

The Dual-Use Research: Repercussions for Security roundtable series examined issues of dual-use research of concern, synthetic biology, do-it-yourself biology, and international governance and oversight. These meetings brought together experts in the fields of synthetic biology dual-use research, and laboratory safety and regulation, to broaden the debate beyond the controversy surrounding the publication of two H5N1 flu-transmission studies in 2011–2012 and to discuss various aspects of the dual-use research of concern conundrum.

This roundtable series is made possible by the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Video: Staying Safe in a Biology Revolution

Working Paper: H5N1: A Case Study for Dual-Use Research


Director: Manuel Hinds, Former Salvadoran Finance Minister
January 1, 2005—Present

This project will lead to a book where the author will examine the desirability of dollarization for emerging market economies, the possible contributions to international financial stability it could bring, and suggest ways the U.S. can help foreign governments address political objections they may face in trying to implement this policy.

Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship 2014

June 15, 2014

CFR hosted sessions for the Diversity and Diplomacy fellows during the Washington, DC component of the program in 2014. Sessions at CFR covered a variety of themes, including:

• Youth politicization in North African states
• Perspectives on NATO and the Ukraine
• Turkey, the United States and European Union
• Op-ed writing

While in Washington, DC, the Diplomacy and Diversity fellows also met with many other speakers and organizations.  They spent two weeks in Paris and Brussels following the sessions in Washington, DC.

For more information on Humanity in Action, please visit their website.


ExxonMobil Women and Development Series

Director: Rachel B. Vogelstein, Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program
November 20, 2009—Present

The ExxonMobil Women and Development Series explores the ways in which governments, companies, and NGOs can promote economic development by focusing on women. With the generous support of the ExxonMobil, the series has so far examined such topics as women's role as change agents in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the potential of new technologies to promote women's economic empowerment in developing countries. Transcripts, audio, and video recordings of meetings in this series are available below.

Emerging Issues in Africa Roundtable

Director: Michelle D. Gavin, Adjunct Fellow for Africa
May 27, 2008—Present

This roundtable series will meet periodically over the course of 2008 to explore changing political and security dynamics on the African continent, often with a special emphasis on U.S. policy options and responses. Extra effort will be devoted to drawing in new voices and perspectives on critical African issues.

Education for Children of Conflict

Staff: Gene B. Sperling, Senior Fellow for Economic Policy and Director of the Center for Universal Education
September 27, 2007—Present

As part of its research and policy work, the Center focuses on examining how education can be a vital part of a comprehensive humanitarian strategy for conflict, post-conflict and refugee settings. Education can provide a healing and safe place for children of conflict; it can provide a sense of much needed normalcy in a chaotic conflict environment, it can teach non-violence and understanding, and most importantly, it can give young people who have been through the worst misfortune and even horrors, the tools to build a better life for themselves and a better future for their nations. Yet education in emergencies and post-conflict situations too often falls through the cracks; overlooked because it is not seen as “life-saving” or because donors do not trust the governments in which these children live. The Center's work seeks to address this gap by

(a)   studying and promoting best practices and model programs including those standards developed by the INEE, and

(b)   drafting and delivering new analyses and recommendations on international financing of education in conflict situations to major stakeholders including G-8 development agencies, the United Nations, and World Bank

(c)   creating support, understanding and momentum for the design and implementation of high-quality education projects for children of conflict