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Professor Avant Named President-elect of the International Studies Association

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Korbel Communications

Renowned security expert & director of Sié Center at Korbel School is recognized for her contributions to the field and set to lead interdisciplinary association, prioritizing diversity, inclusive processes, and collaboration.

Announcement  • Article  •
Deborah Avant

Deborah Avant, Ph.D., has been named the President-elect of the International Studies Association (ISA) effective April 2021. Professor Avant is director and chair of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

According to Korbel School Dean Fritz Mayer, “this a great honor for Dr. Avant and a testament to the high esteem in which she is held by the community of international affairs scholars.”

Avant is a renowned expert on security and global governance. She was one of the first to write extensively on the role of private security contractors and her work on non-state actors in security and governance has won recognition from academics and policy makers alike. Her efforts to support the governance of private military and security services led her to be a founding member of the International Code of Conduct [for private security providers] Association. Upon founding the Sié Center at the Korbel School, Avant parlayed her policy experience into a program to support and broaden efforts to “bridge the gap” between the academic and the policy worlds.

Avant also has a history of service. She was elected to the governing board of the ISA International Security Studies Section (ISSS) in 1998, served as vice-chair (2005-06) and then chair (2006-08) of ISSS, participated on ISA’s governing council (2007-08), and most recently was the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Global Security Studies (2014-2019). In this role, Avant encouraged engagement between distinct parts of the security field and sought to increase the diversity of voices weighing in on security issues. Recognized by her peers as an intellectual leader, institution builder, and a gifted teacher and mentor, they are confident that Avant will “position ISA to successfully respond to an era of great challenges to scholarly organizations to global politics alike.”

The International Studies Association was founded in 1959 and is “one of the oldest interdisciplinary associations dedicated to understanding international, transnational, and global affairs. ISA brings together over 7,000 members from around the world, including academics, practitioners, policy experts, private sector workers, and independent researchers. In addition to an annual convention and regional conferences, ISA is responsible for the publication of nine peer-reviewed journals and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies.

Avant’s commitment as ISA President will span three years: President-elect (2021-2022), President (2022-2023), and Past President (2023-2024). At any point in time, a team of three presidents works to manage concerns and contribute to the success of ISA. During her 2022-2023 term, Avant also can propose programs and policies to improve ISA and better serve its members.

Enhancing diversity and inclusive processes in the governance of the organization and encouraging conversation among its many parts are Avant’s twin goals for her presidency. These goals reflect her long-standing commitments. As the peers who nominated Avant put it, she “exemplifies the values of diversity and inclusion in the way she conducts herself professionally, in her institutional leadership, and in her scholarship itself, which has opened up the boundaries between fields and given voice to a diverse set of actors in world politics.”

For more information, please contact Gergana Kostadinova, Program Manager, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy:

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The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy (the Sié Center) at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies advances knowledge and practice in global security, prosperity, and social justice through innovative research, interdisciplinary education, and thoughtful engagement with others who strive for a more just, prosperous, and peaceful world. The Sié Center is committed to research that seeks to advance understanding by focusing on interconnections – between issues, between communities, and between theory and practice.

Founded in 1964, The Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the nation’s top-ranked schools for international relations and public policy at the University of Denver, one of the country’s premier private universities. The Korbel School challenges students to think critically about current affairs and take on the great challenges of our time in support of the common good.