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Grace Wins Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship

Political Science PhD student Rob Grace was recently awarded the Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship for his research on the politics of humanitarian action, with a particular emphasis on humanitarian access obstruction.

“As a researcher who seeks to produce work relevant to both academic and policy audiences, this opportunity will support my efforts to speak to these two sometimes disparate worlds,” says Grace.

Later this month, he will travel to the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC to attend the organization’s annual workshop, where he will share his research project with experts and policy makers from the U.S. Government and non-governmental as well as international organizations.

Grace’s dissertation examines how and why international humanitarian actors sometimes succeed, and sometimes fall short, in their efforts to effectively negotiate humanitarian access during armed conflicts. 

“As I push forward through the sometimes daunting and ponderous process of researching and writing my dissertation, receiving an opportunity like this, although indeed humbling, certainly offers welcome validation of the path that I'm on and the work that I'm doing,” says Grace.

He is a Senior Associate at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), where he has contributed to humanitarian negotiation workshops convened with humanitarian practitioners across the globe. Previously at HHI, he served as the lead researcher on a project focused on the practices of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding missions mandated to examine alleged violations of international law. The project culminated with the publication by Cambridge University Press of the HPCR Practitioner’s Handbook on Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding. For the 2019-2020 academic year, he will also be a Graduate Research Fellow at the Harvard Program on Negotiation.

Grace is also an affiliated fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, through the Watson Institute. In this role, he leads research that examines the contemporary challenges of civil-military coordination in humanitarian response. His writing has been published by the Journal of Conflict & Security Law, World Health & Population, the European Society of International Law, Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection, the Foreign Policy Association, and Foreign Policy in Focus.

This award, from the United States Institute of Peace provides non-residential fellowships to doctoral candidates who are researching a variety of topics that contribute to a deeper understanding of how to manage conflict and effectively build sustainable peace. The scholarship spans 10 months, beginning in September.