University of Ottawa professor Roland Paris has won the 2007 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. The prize is worth $200,000.

One of the members of the final selection committee outlined the main argument of Paris’ book in Tuesday’s local paper:

Charles Ziegler, chairman of U of L’s political science department, said Paris’ “institutionalization before liberalization” theory is an important contribution to international thinking about post-conflict peace missions.

“His proposal is for a new peace-building strategy,” Ziegler said. “It has real applicability to a lot of conflicts now,” including Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

The Chronicle of Higher Education added this:

Mr. Paris is being recognized for his scholarship on how to establish and maintain peace after warfare. In his 2004 book At War’s End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict (Cambridge University Press), he outlines strategy proposals that he says NATO must adopt if it hopes to keep Afghanistan from reverting to a terrorist haven. According to the proposals, NATO should place less emphasis on its efforts to destroy Afghan poppy crops and more on training police and military forces, eliminating government corruption, and stemming the flow of fighters entering the nation from Pakistan.

If NATO cannot meet those objectives, he says, then it should withdraw.

The Louisville Courier-Journal article includes a juicy quote about Iraq:

“The postwar stabilization mission in Iraq was lost the day after the United States entered Baghdad with too few troops,” said Paris,

That paper also describes a bit about his book:

Paris’ book said that establishing such institutions as the police, courts and a government that can run basic services are more important to a nation in the early period after a civil war than rushing to democracy and opening economic markets.

In his book, he examined 14 cases in the 1990s involving international missions attempting to stabilize nations after civil wars. Among them were Bosnia, Angola, Rwanda, Nicaragua and Cambodia.

The article has some additional quotes about policy failings in both Iraq and Afghanistan, so I encourage everyone to read it for a brief overview of the scholarship.

Disclosure: I chair the Department Committee that overseas the administration of this prize.

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