Ciorciari awarded Carnegie Fellowship to examine shared-sovereignty agreements

April 22, 2015

This morning, in advertisements in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle of Philanthropy, New York Review of Books, and other print and online publications, the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced 32 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship recipients--among them, the Ford School’s own John Ciorciari.

"One of the major challenges faced by the United Nations as well as the U.S. government is how to work productively with states with unstable governments," says University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. "Professor Ciorciari's research on the effectiveness of "shared-sovereignty" agreements in this setting should inform more effective policies to promote global economic development, peace, and enhanced human rights."

The newly launched fellowship program, which is intended to address threats to U.S. democracy and the international order, will allow Ciorciari to closely examine the strengths and shortcomings of such agreements and to issue guidance for how these arrangements can be better designed to enfranchise national partners while meeting their broader objectives. “My aim is to develop a more systematic understanding of the forms such agreements take, as well as their power and pitfalls, to inform more effective engagement by UN-family institutions going forward,” Ciorciari wrote in his research proposal.

"We're so grateful to the Carnegie Corporation and equally proud of John,” says Susan M. Collins, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy at the Ford School. “The new Andrew Carnegie Fellowship is a terrific way to foster vitally important connections between academic researchers and real-world policymakers and practitioners."

Professor Melvyn Levitsky, former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil and Bulgaria, explains that shared-sovereignty “is an area which is much talked about but rarely explored in depth. Understanding shared-sovereignty forms, impacts, and practices is critical to international stability and order.” 

Professor Susan Waltz, the first American to chair the governing board of Amnesty International and current co-chair of the Quaker United Nations committee, says Ciorciari’s project, “goes straight to the heart of the most pressing contemporary problem of global governance: identifying the options available to the international community to assist, shore up, and help rebuild polities that in various ways are unable to function as sovereign states.”

“I see both important theoretical insights from the project but also important lessons for policymakers on how to learn from seemingly unconnected shared sovereignty arrangements," says Professor Steven Ratner, a member of the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. "In a world where more and more states face immense internal challenges to their capacity to govern, a systematic appraisal of the promises and pitfalls of such arrangements is overdue.” 

Ciorciari plans to begin his work this summer, and to spend his sabbatical year conducting in-depth research in the U.S., Cambodia, East Timor, Lebanon, Liberia, the Netherlands, and Sierra Leone. All told, he will conduct more than 100 interviews with UN agency officials, officials from partnering national governments, and civil society experts over the course of 2016.

Professor Robert Axelrod, winner of the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the understanding of international conflict and cooperation, says that “Bolstering weak states is a global challenge with massive implications for international peace….Professor Ciorciari’s project is just the kind of focused, policy-relevant research that offers excellent prospects of helping to make a real difference on the ground.”

Ciorciari will share his research findings broadly through a variety of vehicles including a book, a policy paper, an op-ed or magazine article, and a number of public talks and private meetings.   

"What impressed me most was the quality of the proposals," says Susan Hockfield, MIT president emerita, who chaired the prestigious juror panel for the fellowship. "They seek to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our times with innovative and forward-looking ideas from a wide range of high-caliber candidates. Solutions to the complex issues of today and tomorrow will not emerge simply through technology and science, but require humanistic and social science scholarship to use lessons of the past to devise paths to future peace and progress." 

A second University of MIchigan faculty member will also be honored with an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship--Arthur Lupia, professor of political science, will explore ways to improve the public value of social science. President Schlissel says that Lupia's project will bring, "an impressive array of social science tools to bear on questions of how institutions and individuals make decisions in the setting of uncertainty. In an era in which the value of social science research has been called into question, Professor Lupia's award-winning research has shed light on the shaping of public opinion, elections, and the relationship between elected officials and government bureaucracies amongst many other timely topics." 

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911, is dedicated to promoting the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. To learn more about the new Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Program, visit the Carnegie Corporation's interactive fellowship site

John Ciorciari is an assistant professor of public policy at the Ford School and co-director of the Ford School’s International Policy Center. His interests include international law, politics, and international finance, and his current research projects focus primarily on the Asia-Pacific region, examining foreign policy strategies, human rights, and the reform of international economic institutions.