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Sié Center Receives Renewal for Carnegie Grant to Expand Work on Promoting Ethical Approaches to Policy Engagement

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Korbel Communications

Grant-funded project aims to educate a new generation of scholars and policymakers about the dilemmas of responsible engagement and how best to navigate them.

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The Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver has received a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to extend and expand its work on promoting ethical approaches to policy engagement. The project, funded by the Carnegie Corporation since 2018, is designed to make ethical considerations an integral part of policy-relevant research and engagement in the field of international affairs.

“Inspired by what we saw in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, our project highlights dilemmas around advising policy makers on urgent concerns when scholars don’t have a complete picture,” explained Sié Center Director, Deborah Avant. “The project will explore how academic experts facing uncertainty and rapid change can nonetheless engage responsibly and constructively around a variety of policy issues increasingly related to peace and security, including public heath, racial and economic inequalities, political polarization, and climate change.

The Carnegie support will allow a continuation of the Anonymous Advice on Ethical Engagement platform and the new project will expand its Responsible Engagement Panel to include scholars studying public policy related to peace and security issues as well as those focused on decision making under deep uncertainty.
The project will also yield new data via a survey (in collaboration with the Teaching, Research, & International Policy Project at William and Mary) and vignettes reflecting on particular engagement moments that will also be hosted on the platform.

The project plans include expanding education on these issues via practicum courses at Korbel and post-graduate trainings in partnership with the Bridging the Gap Project and the Advancing Research on Conflict (ARC) consortium.

Nine faculty members from the Sié Center and the Korbel School will collaborate directly in this work, including Deborah Avant, Naazneen Barma, George DeMartino, Cullen Hendrix, Ilene Grabel, Rachel Epstein, Oliver Kaplan, Julia Macdonald, and Timothy Sisk.

Fostering responsible engagement between scholars and practitioners has become a central tenet of the Sié Center, which aligns with the Carnegie Corporation’s mission to bridge the gap between scholarship and practice on pressing global peace and security issues.

On behalf of the Carnegie Corporation, Aaron Stanley, Program Analyst with the International Peace and Security Program, states, “We've been truly impressed by the scholarly collaboration at the Sié Center—how the team has thought intentionally about building the center, engaging with a broad range of policy professionals at each step, and maintaining an intense rigor in their research. With this additional funding, we’re excited to see the Sié Center strengthen the bridge between academic and policy communities with a distinct focus on responsible and ethical engagement.”

The coronavirus pandemic and its wide-ranging impacts offer a unique opening to shape the trajectory of academic engagement in policy realms precisely because the pandemic both brings into sharp relief the dilemmas of responsible engagement and upends processes in the academy, opening avenues for change. Korbel Dean Fritz Mayer has high hopes, “Coming at a pivotal moment, this project will have enduring impacts on how scholars engage with the policy community.”

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


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 around 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, among 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.