Scholars have struggled for decades to understand why certain civil conflicts persist over time and how best to effectively end them. In her doctoral dissertation, CISSM Graduate Fellow Nancy Hayden took a new approach to this challenge, applying dynamic systems modelling to better understand a number of persistent African conflicts and identifying how, if applied judiciously, certain international interventions can transform conflicts.
Upon successfully defending her dissertation, “Balancing Belligerents or Feeding the Beast: Transforming Conflict Traps,” this spring, Hayden was awarded the Yamamoto-Scheffelin Endowment for Dissertation Research’s 2016 dissertation prize.
In announcing the award, CISSM interim director Nancy Gallagher and CISSM Senior Fellow I.M. “Mac” Destler praised Hayden’s “innovative” approach to the challenge of persistent civil conflicts and noted the dissertation’s significant policy implications. School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr, who chaired Hayden’s dissertation committee, also lauded Hayden’s research as productively uniting two scholarly communities—the civil conflict and system dynamics community—that typically don’t interact much.
The Yamamoto-Scheffelin Endowment for Dissertation Research was founded by former School of Public Policy doctoral student Marianna Yamamoto and her husband Cliff Yamamoto in honor of their parents. Past winners of the endowment’s dissertation prize include CISSM Research Scholars Jaganath Sankaran, Charles Harry, and Ebrahim Mohseni.
Hayden, who in addition to being a doctoral student at the School of Public Policy is also a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, will maintain a research affiliation with CISSM even after returning to Sandia.