News and Events

Media: SiriusXM: The Michael Smerconish Program

May 2022

Live radio interview with Michael Smerconish on accountability for the war in Ukraine and complementarity of domestic, regional, and international courts.

Explainer: The International Criminal Court is a Court of Last Resort.

April 2022

On Smerconish.com, with Nathaniel Liu, Daniel Posthumus, and Zoha Siddiqui

Trying atrocity crimes by Russia in Ukrainian courts will be important, even with the ICC investigating.

Media: The Resistance Bureau

April 2022

Participant in the broadcast "Resisting Injustice: Are prosecutions necessary to right past wrongs" with speakers Anta Guisse, John Githongo, and Zenzele Ndebele, facilitator Nic Cheeseman, and hosts Mantate Mlotshwa and Jeffrey Smith.

Analysis: "The Council of Europe expelled Russia. That hurts people, not Putin."

April 2022

In The Washington Post, with Zoha Siddiqui

What is the Council of Europe, and why does expulsion matter?

Media: Vox

April 2022

Interviewed by Ellen Ioanes and quoted in "Here’s what the ICC can actually do about Putin’s war crimes."

Media: CNN Newsroom

April 2022

Live television interview with Fredricka Whitfield on evidence gathering for possible international criminal prosecutions of Russian personnel for abuses in Ukraine, including the airstrike on a Kramatorsk train station, which killed dozens.

Media: Here & Now, by NPR

April 2022

Podcast interview with Peter O'Dowd on the challenges of prosecuting war crimes.

Media: Forbes

April 2022

Write-up in Forbes Ukraine of my #GlobalMinds4Ukraine solidarity lecture at the Kyiv School of Economics.

Media: ABC News Live

April 2022

Live television interview with Diane Macedo on prospects for international accountability for Russian president Vladimir Putin for abuses in Ukraine.

Media: NPR special series "Ukraine invasion — explained"

April 2022

Interviewed by Bill Chappell and quoted in "Charging Putin for potential war crimes is difficult, and any penalty hard to enforce."

Invited Talk: #GlobalMinds4Ukraine Solidarity Lecture Series

March 2022

It was a privilege to be part of the Kyiv School of Economics solidarity lecture series. I am inspired by colleagues in Ukraine who are continuing the mission of the university amidst war.

Media: Vox

March 2022

Interviewed by Jen Kirby and quoted in "The impossible task of truth and reconciliation," on lessons from the world for U.S. truth commissions and transitional justice.

Analysis: "The ICJ ordered Russia to stop military operations in Ukraine. What comes next?"

March 2022

In The Washington Post, with Daniel Posthumus

Both Russia and Ukraine have accused the other of committing genocide.

Media: CTV News (Canada)

March 2022

Live television interview with Marcia MacMillan on Ukraine's case against Russia at the International Court of Justice.

Media: ABC News Live

March 2022

Live television interview with Diane Macedo on Ukraine's case against Russia at the International Court of Justice.

Argument: "Putin won’t end up at The Hague — but war-crimes prosecutions of Russia still matter"

March 2022

In The Washington Post, with Nathaniel Liu

Three courts are investigating Russia’s conduct during its war in Ukraine.

Explainer: "Could Putin Actually Face Accountability at the ICC?"

March 2022

In Foreign Policy, with Zoha Siddiqui, Nathaniel Liu, and Daniel Posthumus

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into Ukraine. Here’s what you need to know.

Invited Talk: "Race in the development of the international relations discipline"

February 2022

Participated in the Global Racial Foundations of Public Policy speaker series at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy, convened by John Ciorciari.

Analysis: "How the Real World Shows Up in the IR Classroom"

February 2022

In Foreign Policy

A recent survey shows how a gender and generational divide influences how professors teach about history-making events.

Panel: Getting at the Root: Perspectives on Global Justice, Truth Telling and Accountability

January 2022

Participated in a panel discussion on global and local transitional justice, organized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Argument: "The ICC Doesn't Look So Interventionist After All"

December 2021

In Foreign Policy, with Genevieve Bates

Serious domestic efforts at justice in Colombia have led the court to suspend its longest-running examination to date.

Analysis: "The ICC’s Flawed Afghan Investigation"

November 2021

In Foreign Affairs

Why the court shouldn’t let America off the hook.

Feature: "Racial Reckoning in the United States"

October 2021

My article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice (with Daniel Posthumus) was featured in a research report by Ashley Quarcoo and Medina Husaković for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Feature: "Forming a San Francisco Truth Commission"

October 2021

My work with truth commission practitioner Eduardo González was featured in a research report by UC Berkeley's International Human Rights Law Clinic exploring possibilities for a truth commission to address anti-Black violence in San Francisco.

Invited Talk: "Transitional Justice for Racial Injustice"

October 2021

Christopher Newport University,
Newport News, VA

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Feature: "Truth in Los Angeles"

Summer 2021

My work was featured in a research report by a task force commissioned by the Los Angeles Mayor's Office to explore possibilities for truth seeking and truth telling in the City.

Analysis: "Did America’s Racial Awakening Reach IR Professors?"

June 2021

In Foreign Policy

Nearly half of international relations scholars spent more time in class on race and racial justice—but with key demographic differences.

Media: Radio Times, by NPR

June 2021

Podcast interview with Marty Moss-Coane on prospects for a national truth commission in the United States.

Roundtable: Transitional Justice and Lynching in Maryland

May 2021

Participated in a roundtable discussion on restorative and transitional justice with colleagues from the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, International Center for Transitional Justice, and Reginald F. Lewis Museum. “If we don’t document it, others will revise it.”

2021 USC Ph.D. Achievement Award Winner

May 2021

I am one of six winners of the 2021 USC Ph.D. Achievement Award, "the university’s highest honor conferred on a graduating Ph.D. student ... given based on the student’s record of success, job offers that stem from outstanding doctoral work, major awards earned and other indications of excellence relevant to the student’s field of study."

Inducted into the Order of Arête

May 2021

"Members of the Order of Arête have distinguished themselves above their peers through ... outstanding work within their individual programs and their dedicated service to the campus community." This honor is bestowed on less than one percent of graduating master's and doctoral students.

USC Dornsife News: "Graduating Ph.D. candidate examines how we can right the wrongs of the past"

May 2021

Featured in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences 2021 Commencement Series.

Media: Foreign Policy

April 2021

Interviewed by Christina Lu and quoted in "Does America Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?," on truth commissions and transitional justice in the United States and abroad.

Feature: "Biden’s Policy Must Center Racial Justice"

April 2021

Reprint of our essay in the Foreign Policy spring 2021 print issue, "Joe Biden's 100-Day Report Card."

Argument: "Justice for George Floyd Has Only Just Begun"

April 2021

In Foreign Policy

Finding Derek Chauvin guilty of murder provides Americans with accountability—not justice. Now lawmakers need to make sure the system actually changes.

Analysis: "Biden reversed Trump’s sanctions on International Criminal Court officials. What happens now?"

April 2021

In The Washington Post, with Kyle Rapp

Past U.S. administrations supported the court’s work — when it aligned with U.S. interests.

Feature: "From Building Bombs to Building Futures"

March 2021

My work with Stephen Chaudoin on the International Criminal Court was featured in a research report by Win Without War.

Argument: "As America Seeks Racial Justice, It Can Learn From Abroad"

March 2021

In Foreign Policy, with Eduardo González

Other countries offer good lessons for acknowledging and redressing past wrongs.

Analysis: "The International Criminal Court just elected a new chief prosecutor. Here’s what you need to know."

February 2021

In The Washington Post, with Nastaran Far and Hailey Robertson

The ICC’s future will rest on the prosecutor’s success in opening, trying and closing cases — and being fair.

Media: The World, by PRX

February 2021

Podcast interview with show host, Marco Werman on truth commissions in the United States.

Analysis: "The ICC says it can investigate Israel’s alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories. Netanyahu and Biden object."

February 2021

In The Washington Post, with M.P. Broache

Israel and the U.S. don’t think the ICC has jurisdiction over nonmember states. Here’s when it does.

The Brookings Institution webinar: "Reconciling and healing America: How civil society can help the country overcome divisions"

February 2021

I was one of eight experts invited by the Brookings Institution to explore sources of American divisions and policy solutions with the potential to take the country on a path toward healing and shared prosperity. Dr. Fiona Hill moderated my panel.

Feature: ICTJ Report

January 2021

My article, "Demanding Truth" (International Studies Quarterly, 2020) was featured in an International Center for Transitional Justice report on measuring results and monitoring progress of transitional justice processes.

Media: Bloomberg TV

January 2021

Live TV interview with Bloomberg's Daybreak Asia hosts, Shery Ahn and Haidi Stroud-Watts, on human rights, race, and U.S. foreign policy under the Biden-Harris administration.

Argument: "Put Racial Justice at Center of the Biden-Harris Transition Plan"

January 2021

In Foreign Policy, with Alexandra Byrne and Bilen Zerie

The new administration doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel—it can learn from South Africa’s experience with transitional justice.

Media: The Atlantic

January 2021

Interviewed by Quinta Jurecic and quoted in "Don't Move on Just Yet," on prospects for truth (and reconciliation) in the United States after the Trump presidency.

Presentation: US Movement for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation

January 2021

Presented my research findings at a leadership meeting of the US Movement for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, which is lobbying lawmakers to support Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Cory Booker's twin bills in the US House and Senate to create a national truth commission.

Essay: "Foreign Policy Begins at Home"

January 2021

In the 50th anniversary special issue of Foreign Policy

The best way for Biden and Harris to build better partnerships abroad is to get America’s own house in order—and that begins with human rights.

Argument: "‘This Is Not Who We Are’ Is a Great American Myth"

January 2021

In Foreign Policy

The crisis at the U.S. Capitol shows that Americans lack a shared understanding of their political past and present. Transitional justice can help.

Argument: "Not a Moment but a Movement: The Case for Transitional Justice in the U.S."

December 2020

In Ms. Magazine, with Colleen Murphy

In 2020, the U.S. can and should learn from abroad. The U.S. needs transitional justice.

Analysis: "Some people want a U.S. truth commission. But truth commissions have limits."

October 2020

In The Washington Post, with Claire Crawford

Our research explains what these commissions can and cannot do.

Invited Talk: "Truth Commissions and Transitional Justice"

October 2020

Occidental College,
Los Angeles, CA

The New School Scholar Panel: "Race, Racism and International Relations"

September 2020

I was one of four scholars invited to The New School to discuss race and racism in International Relations, from the field's intellectual foundations to its service to Western imperial projects to its implications for how we recruit, train, and mentor the next generation of scholars.

American Society of International Law: Expert Panel: "US Sanctions and the International Criminal Court"

September 2020

I was one of five experts invited by the American Society of International Law to discuss the new US sanctions regime against the International Criminal Court. We deliberated how the sanctions will work and their potential consequences for US domestic and foreign policy.

Media: Politics Politics Politics Podcast

September 2020

Interview with show host, Justin R. Young on truth commissions in the United States.

Research Explainer Video: "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights"

September 2020

In this animated video produced by the USC Security and Political Economy Lab, I explain findings from a newly-published article with Benjamin Graham, "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights," out now in the Journal of Human Rights.

Bridging the Gap webinar: "What to Do When Your Research Gets Disrupted"

August 2020

I was one of five political scientists invited by American University and the Bridging the Gap Project to discuss how scholars using interview, focus group, and archival research methods can continue to conduct meaningful research amidst disruptions like Covid-19.

Argument: "Kamala Harris for the People"

August 2020

In Foreign Policy, with Claire Crawford

As vice president, Harris would be ready to go toe-to-toe with adversaries, both foreign and domestic.

Feature: "Why Race Matters in International Relations"

July 2020

Reprint of our essay in the Foreign Policy summer 2020 print issue, "Will This Time Be Different? Transformation after the Pandemic."

Argument: "Why Race Matters in International Relations"

June 2020

In Foreign Policy, with Meredith Loken

Western dominance and White privilege permeate the academic field of International Relations, with little awareness or discussion. It’s time to change that.

Analysis: "Despite U.S. sanctions, the International Criminal Court will keep investigating alleged war crimes in Afghanistan"

June 2020

In The Washington Post, with Stephen Chaudoin

The U.S. public may not agree with Trump's move.

Analysis: "Some lawmakers are calling for truth commissions on racial violence. How do these work?"

June 2020

In The Washington Post, with Carla Winston

These factors help commissions create effective solutions.

Analysis: "Why the International Criminal Court will investigate possible U.S. war crimes – even if the Trump administration says it can't"

March 2020

In The Washington Post

My research suggests Americans may support the investigation.

International Justice Lab Public Launch Event

January 2020

Thank you all for joining us for our launch! William & Mary Provost Peggy Agouris exhorted us to engage the challenges facing international law and justice, Wayne Sandholtz, Tanisha Fazal, and Layla Abi-Falah shared their insider insights, and I discussed my vision for IJL.

Truth Commission Experts Meeting at Auschwitz Institute

December 2019

Convened by the Auschwitz Institute, the truth commission experts meeting brought together a dozen scholars and practitioners to explore how commissions may support atrocity prevention by reducing social fragmentation and governance risk factors.

Pomona College Alumni Career Story

November 2019

Five years after graduating from Pomona College, I share what I've been up to since.

Introducing the International Justice Lab

October 2019

The International Justice Lab brings together faculty and students from across the United States to conduct research on human rights, transitional justice, and international law and courts. We aim to produce high-quality social science research that is relevant to policy makers, practitioners, and civil society advocates.

Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission

September 2019

Joined a group of distinguished guests to publicly launch the commission and participated in a roundtable with Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Maryland House Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (21st District), the primary sponsor of the enacting legislation.

Visit of the Comisión por la Memoria to William & Mary

September 2019

La Comisión is an independent and autonomous public body established in Argentina in 1999 to promote and implement public policies of memory and human rights. Some advocates' work on human rights and transitional justice issues dates back to the junta and the transition to democracy in 1983.

American Political Science Association 2019 Best Human Rights Paper Award

August 2019

Received the 2019 Best Paper Award from the American Political Science Association's Human Rights Section on behalf of myself and my coauthor, Wayne Sandholtz for "Reserving Rights: Explaining Human Rights Treaty Reservations."

Analysis: "Maryland has created a truth commission on lynchings – can it deliver?"

June 2019

In The Conversation

Reprinted in the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Blavity, theGrio, and others.

Analysis: "The Trump administration opposes the International Criminal Court. Do Americans agree?"

April 2019

In The Washington Post

In short, it's complicated

Invited Talk: "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights"

April 2019

Occidental College,
Los Angeles, CA

International Studies Association 2019 Best Human Rights Paper Award

March 2019

Received the 2019 Best Paper Award from the International Studies Association's Human Rights Section on behalf of myself and my colleague, Benjamin Graham for "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights."

Invited Panel: "Research Ethics in Political Science"

February 2019

Organized by William & Mary's Social Science Research Methods Center (SSRMC), the panel – featuring Dr. Paula Pickering, Dr. Phil Roessler, and me – engaged the ethics of conducting political science research, notably where subjects are recovering from repression and conflict.

Analysis: "Human rights workers are getting killed in Colombia. Here’s what could help save the peace."

February 2019

In The Washington Post, with Shauna N. Gillooly

Our research shows that these things encourage former combatants to testify in truth and reconciliation hearings.

USC Special Guest Workshop, feat. Beth Simmons

February 2019

Facilitated a workshop with Dr. Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Hosted by the USC Center for International Studies, participants helped workshop Simmons' new project on border orientation in a globalizing world.

UC Santa Barbara 2018 Human Rights Roundtable

November 2018

Convened by the Mellichamp Chair, Dr. Alison Brysk, and the Orfalea Research Hub in Global Governance and Human Rights, this roundtable tracked emerging frontiers in human rights scholarship, including struggles over institutions for accountability, new frameworks such as water rights, the role of advocacy, and global migration.

Invited Workshop: "Journeys in World Politics"

October 2018

Organized by Dr. Sara Mitchell and Dr. Kelly Kadera at the University of Iowa, the 12th Journeys workshop brought together junior and senior women scholars in International Relations for research presentations, sessions on career and gender topics, and oral autobiographies by senior scholars.

Workshop: "Building Undergraduate Research Labs in the Social Sciences"

October 2018

Co-organized a workshop at the USC Center for Excellence in Research with my colleagues, Megan Becker and Benjamin Graham. Workshop presenters included Michael Findley from UT-Austin and Michael Tierney from William & Mary. Pictured is our featured student panel.

International Studies Association West Region 2018 Best Faculty Paper Award

September 2018

Received the 2018 Best Faculty Paper Award from the International Studies Association-West on behalf of myself and my colleague, Benjamin Graham for "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights."

Reflection: "Eddison Zvobgo and the Struggle for Zimbabwe"

August 2018

In Africa is a Country

Eddison Zvobgo was both implicated in and a critic of Mugabe's rule. He paid for it. His niece remembers him.

Commentary: "Why Governance Will Go from Bad to Worse in Zimbabwe"

August 2018

In Africa is a Country

Events around the recent election in Zimbabwe are evidence that transitional justice is needed before true political reform can take place.

USC Graduate School Social Sciences Ph.D. Student Spotlight

August 2018

Spotlighted in the USC's new promotional video for graduate studies. Video also features four of my undergraduate research assistants and SPEC Lab PI, Benjamin Graham.

Third-Annual USC POIR Predoctoral Institute for First-Generation and Diverse Scholars

July 2018

Helped advise 35 first-generation and BA and MA students of color from across California on pursuing a Ph.D., writing applications, building research skills, securing mentors, and navigating the Ivory Tower.

Invited Talk: "Reserving Rights: Examining Human Rights Treaty Reservations"

July 2018

William & Mary,
Williamsburg, VA

Invited Speaker: "Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP) Conference" at William & Mary

July 2018

Taught first-generation and high school students of color from across Virginia about transitional justice in South Africa and lessons for the US. Spoke alongside local and state politicians on issues of truth and justice for our communities.

Invited Talk: "The World Bank as an Enforcer of Human Rights"

February 2018

Pomona College,
Claremont, CA

2018 USC Graduate Research Symposium Best Paper Award Winner

February 2018

For the Best Paper in the Social Sciences, "Exceptionalism and Exemptionalism: Framing US Public Opinion on the International Criminal Court".

Guest Lecture: "Justice in the Aftermath of Repression"

February 2018

Georgetown University,
Washington D.C.

Lecture for the Government Department's seminar on race, rights, and reparations. Juxtaposed experiences of transitional justice in South Africa and my native Zimbabwe.

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2018 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Closing Meeting

February 2018

Shared key insights from the Disciplinary Curriculum and Assessment track at the final meeting of the APSA Teaching & Learning Conference. I also presented a paper during the weekend on pedagogical innovations in the SPEC Lab.

Commentary: "The Uncertain Future for Transitional Justice in Zimbabwe"

November 2017

Commentary for the Africa is a Country Politics Section

Chief among the political obstacles to transitional justice in Zimbabwe is the president's own role in the 1980s violence.

USC 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in Teaching

November 2017

Recipient of a USC Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nominated for the University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

APSA 2017 Recap: Presidential Address, Opening Reception & Keynote

September 2017

Feature in PSNow: Political Science Now

APSA Undergraduate Research Highlights

April 2017

Feature on the SPEC Lab

Guest Lecture: "'Mighty Be Our Powers': Women’s Peacebuilding in Liberia"

April 2017

Pomona College,
Claremont, CA

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Invited Talk: "From Victims to Peace Builders"

April 2017

Pomona College,
Claremont, CA

24 Trojans, the most ever, win National Science Foundation research fellowships

March 2017

Received top billing

USC Graduate School Fellowship Boot Camp Profile: Kelly Zvobgo

August 2016

Feature on my research and advice for external fellowship applicants

Summer institute helps first-generation and minority students apply for PhD programs

June 2016 ​

Feature on POIR diversity initiative