24 November 2009

Harvard Book Store. Photo: flickr/digitalismo

In August 2009 I took up the position of Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  In the coming year I will lecture, write, organise debates and film screenings and put up blog entries also from Cambridge.

I will continue to work on the Caucasus (upcoming ESI reports on Georgia and Azerbaijan), on the Balkans and on Turkey (where ESI is going to publish a whole series of reports).  I will participate in the weekly brainstormings of the large Afghanistan-Pakistan project, which has become the current flagship project of the Carr Center.  And I will work with my friend Rory Steward, the director of the Carr Center, on a book on intervention and state building.

The students in Rory’s class on state building (more on this later), where I am lecturing on the experiences from the Balkan interventions, are excellent; colleagues and other fellows very stimulating; and the 24 hour-open libraries in the Harvard Yard a pure pleasure.  If you want to get a flavour of the intellectual atmosphere – and the overall focus – here at the Center I propose the following:

Get Rory’s book The Places in Between on his walk through Afghanistan. There is a recording of a lecture Rory gave in San Francisco. Finally an excerpt from a recent testimony in the US Congress on Afghanistan.

Read Ali Allawi’s excellent book on The Occupation of Iraq, where he was minister of finance and of defence. He is one of the fellows here this year. Here is David Mansfield’s empirical field work on drug cultivation in Afghanistan. And finally, an article by another Carr Center fellow, Gerard Russell, on mistaken international visions in the war in Afghanistan.

This is a critical group, committed to Afghanistan but sceptical about the knowledge and ability of outsiders to reshape foreign societies.  It certainly makes for many interesting debates, as the US discussion on the intervention heats up.  What is the relevance in this debate of lessons from the Balkans, or the recent Turkish experience?  Well, this is one of the questions I will try to answer here in the coming months …

PS: If anybody tries to reach me, my email has not changed (g.knaus@esiweb.org).  And if you are around you can find me in an office overlooking the Charles River in the Kennedy School.  It is not the Bosporus, admittedly, but Harvard has other attractions.  Being able to cycle to the office is certainly one of them.  I have yet to try that in Istanbul.

Cambridge view of Boston. Photo: flickr/Chaval Brasil

Cambridge view of Boston. Photo: flickr/Chaval Brasil

Harvard library. Photo: flickr/jrgcastro

Harvard library. Photo: flickr/jrgcastro

View from Charles River in Cambridge. Photo:flickr/Amy the Nurse

View from Charles River in Cambridge. Photo: flickr/Amy the Nurse

This is not the Bosporus

Filed under: — Gerald @ 5:38 am
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