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The University of Alabama

UA Political Scientists Receive $205,000 Grant to Study International Conflict Resolution

TUSCALOOSA — Two University of Alabama political scientists, Dr. Douglas Gibler and Dr Karl DeRouen, have received a grant of $205,000 from the National Science Foundation to analyze the effectiveness of political settlements in ending international conflict.

The research will examine how effective substantive political settlements are in ending international conflict. The investigators plan to analyze data on all negotiated settlements in the Correlates of War Militarized Interstate Dispute data set.

The data include conflicts between 1816 and 2001 – nearly 3,000 conflicts. The researchers hope to shed light on how lasting peace between warring nations can be wrought through negotiation rather than imposed settlements.

“The recent literature on peace agreements often concludes that treaty terms matter little in determining the durability of peace following interstate conflict,” Gibler says. “Our core argument is that settlements that incorporate substantive resolution of the contested issues can be more effective than imposed settlements for providing positive peace between belligerents.”

Gibler and DeRouen plan to carry out their study with the aid of two graduate and four undergraduate students. They plan to examine outcomes of a host of agreements, including those drawn by the combatants in a negotiated settlement and those imposed by greater powers.

Gibler and DeRouen stress the importance of learning more about negotiated settlements to militarized dispute as a key feature of political science scholarship.

“Resolving conflict represents a core value of political science, and ‘who gets what, when, and how’ is, quite literally, simply another way of defining the substance of negotiated settlements,” Gibler says. “This research project suggests that political settlements can have lasting effects for peace, which, if true, could alter the conclusions of a significant number of current research programs.”

For details about the study, contact Gibler at 205/348-3808 or

UA’s political science department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.