Can Lectures Reduce Conflict? The Carnegie Corporation Thinks So

Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation, is showing some love to the Foreign Policy Association. (See Carnegie Corporation: Grants for Global Security).

The Corporation has long funded the Foreign Policy Association, primarily under its Dissemination Program — which, among other things, helps organizations publicize their work and stimulate public conversation. Carnegie's past funding for FPA supported its "Great Decisions" program, specifically secondary school programming. One grant given in 1994 focused on streghtening the FPA's network of discussion groups through assisting the group leaders. These past grants never exceeded $75,000.

Now Carnegie is stepping up its support of FPA, with a one-time $200,000 grant for the founding of the Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture in honor of president emeritus David Hamburg. The series will be a ten-year program meant to "provide a forum for nationally and internationally recognized leaders to explore issues related to the prevention of deadly conflict and the mitigation of its most dangerous consequences," and is in honor of Hamburg’s emphasis on "the role of the scientific and technical community both in advancing knowledge and understanding of human conflict, and in finding ways to reduce intergroup hatred and violence." Or, in Internet speak, How Not to Kill Each Other 101.

The first event is cosponsored by the United Nations. This time, Hamburg himself will be speaking with an introduction by Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning at the United Nations. This won't be the first time Hamburg has spoken at an FPA event; he discussed his new book, "Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps and Effective Action" in a 2008 lecture. 

The grant seems to have been awarded, in part, to tap into the FPA's outreach capabilities — such as its "Great Decisions" program, which includes a vast number of discussion groups across the country — and will also involve utilizing these networks to disseminate information and stimulate discussion on matters of genocide and violence prevention. 

Related: Deana Arsenian