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NSA Professor Jessica Piombo Awarded Minerva Grant

November 13, 2017

NSA Professor Jessica Piombo has been awarded one of the Minerva Initiative University Grants. It is part of the full grant program that OSD Minerva runs, rather than the defense institution program, which means that this is an award for three years for a project that she will conduct with Professor Pierre Englebert from Pomona College. The two will split the $780k grant between their two institutions. The basic topic asks why states respond to international intervention in different ways. More specifically, why do some states cooperate with international statebuilding interventions as passive recipients of external action, while others are much more controlling of the processes of international intervention, and yet others seem to go along with the goals and programs of international actors, yet undermine the implementation of programs.

The project will look at interventions in fragile and post-conflict states are often designed and implemented by outside actors as technocratic responses to situations of political disorder, state weakness, and civil unrest. The interventions, often built on international best practices, rarely unfold in the ways initially conceived by their designers, however, because in reality, these are highly political processes. The awardees propose to investigate how the ways that local actors and institutional environments engage with these projects during implementation significantly changes their nature, by proposing two related questions. First, how do local political dynamics explain variations in the degree and type of engagement of African regimes with outside actors, particularly in conflict-affected countries where international and local agents share sovereignty? Second, how do these variations condition the course of the intervention and the actions of the interveners?

For a fuller description of the project, click here.