Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Edward J. Laurance

Professor and Gordon Paul Smith Chair in International Policy and Development

I Believe:

One of the most critical challenges to development and indeed humanity is armed violence, especially in fragile states. This violence leads to death and injury, violations of human rights, lack of justice and the rule of law, lost productivity, lowering of already inadequate health budgets, and psychological costs. In short, development cannot proceed alongside such violence. I believe that this violence can and must be prevented, reduced and eventually eliminated. I have devoted most of my professional life to this end.

What excites me:

Teaching at a professional school such as MIIS allows me as a faculty member to help students prepare for a career in security and development work. It means that I get to make a difference, not just my graduates. It also means that I will have these students as colleagues when they graduate. I continue to be involved in mutual projects with them. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than this.


Armed violence reduction, research methods for development practitioners, global governance, international organizations, proliferation and effects of conventional weapons and small arms, program evaluation and project management

Recent Activities

In the past several years I have:

  1. Led a team of students in observing the final negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations in New York.
  2. Created and developed software that allows national government to track their progress towards complying with the UN’s International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS). http://www.smallarmsstandards.org/isacs-news/
  3. Published two articles in Arms Control Today on the international arms trade.
  4. Served as Coordinator of Veterans Affairs at MIIS
  5. Conducted a major study for the UN Development Program on how security and development are integrated in UNDP programming.
  6. Worked with the Small Arms Survey in Geneva in developing and implementing a program evaluation of a weapons marking project in East Africa.
  7. Placed students in security and development organizations in MIIS Immersive Professional Learning programs.
  8. Since 2009 have served as an expert for the United Nations project ISACS, developing global standards for controlling the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
  9. Advised the City of Salinas, California, on gang violence reduction and prevention.


PhD, International Relations, University of Pennsylvania; MA, International Relations and Public Administration, Temple University; BS, United States Military Academy

Careers in Security and Development

Students who concentrate on security and development can do so as a specialization within the MPA program or the Human Security and Development Track in IPD. They normally take courses in conflict and conflict resolution, human security, human rights, and a full range of development courses. They also spend at least six months as a junior professional with an S and D organization while at MIIS. Graduates who entered this field have served as program managers for conflict management in South Sudan, field analysts for international governmental organizations as well as NGOs and think tanks, staff officers developing public security education and training for the UN, survey researchers in areas fraught with insecurity and conflict, and evaluators of programs designed to reduce armed violence and enable development.

For an excellent in-depth look at this field see the World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development. Washington: The World Bank

Selected Publications

The Small Arms Problem as Arms Control“The Small Arms Problem as Arms Control: A Policy-Driven Research Agenda” in The State of Arms: Consolidation, Innovation and Relevance in Small Arms Research: Essays in Honour of Pablo Dreyfus, Eds: Kai Michael Kenkel and Peter Bachelor. London: Routledge, Summer 2013.

“Exposing the Arms Trade. A Book Review of The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade,” by Andrew Feinstein. In Arms Control Today, June 2012.

“1991 Arms Trade Control Efforts and Their Echoes" in Arms Control Today, July-August 2011.

The UNDP Role in the Comprehensive Approach to Security in Fragile StatesThe UNDP Role in the Comprehensive Approach to Security in Fragile States: An Assessment, Edward J. Laurance Version 5.1 10 June 2010.

Managing the Tools of War and Violence"Managing the Tools of War and Violence: Global Governance or State-centric Realpolitik?" In Michael Brzoska and Axel Krohn (eds.) Overcoming Armed Violence in a Complex World: Essays in Honor of Herbert Wulf. Budrich UniPress Ltd. November 2009.

Managing the Global Problems Created by the Conventional Arms TradeWith Hendrik Wagenmakers and Herbert Wulf. "Managing the Global Problems Created by the Conventional Arms Trade: An Assessment of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms." Global Governance, Vol. 2, Spring 2005.

With Rachel Stohl. Making Global Public Policy: The Case of Small Arms and Light Weapons. Occasional Paper No. 7. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, December 2002.

The United Nations Conventional Arms Register (UNCAR): Present Challenges, New Directions.

"Light Weapons and Human Development: The Need for Transparency and Early Warning." In Jeffrey Boutwell and Michael T. Klare, Light Weapons and Civil Conflict: Controlling the Tools of Violence (Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1999), pp. 185-196.

"Monitoring the Flow, Availability and Misuse of Light Weapons," in Arms Watching: Integrating Small Arms and Light Weapons Into the Early Warning of Violent Conflict. Edward J. Laurance (Ed.) (London: International Alert, May 1999).

Arms Watching: Integrating Small Arms and Light Weapons Into the Early Warning of Violent Conflict(Ed.)(London: International Alert, May 1999).

Light Weapons and Intra-State Conflict: Early Warning Factors and Preventive Action. (Washington: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, July 1998).

"Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Conflict Prevention: The New Post-Cold War Logic of Disarmament" in Barnett R. Rubin Cases and Strategies for Preventive Action (The Century Foundation Press, 1998), pp. 135-168.

"Moratoria on Small Arms and Light Weapons: Conceptualization and Application to Central America" in Sverre Lodgaard and Carsten F. Ronnfeldt, A Moratorium on Light Weapons in West Africa (Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 1998), pp. 69-83.

"A Conceptual Framework for Arms Trade Transparency in South-East Asia." In Bates Gill and J.N. Mak (eds.), Arms Transparency and Security in South-East Asia. SIPRI Research Report No. 13. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 10-24.

With Sarah E. Meek. The Role of Conventional Arms Buildups in the Outbreak of Conflict: Developing Early Warning and Preventive Measures. Report submitted to the United States Institute for Peace in fulfillment of grant SG-94-113. July 1996.

With Sarah E. Meek. The New Field of Micro-Disarmament: Addressing the Proliferation and Buildup of Small Arms and Light Weapons. Brief 7. (Bonn: Bonn International Center for Conversion, September 1996).

"The Role of Arms Control in Coping With Conflict after the Cold War." in Roger Kanet and Edward Kolodziej (Eds.), Coping With Conflict after the Cold War. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 331-362.

"Addressing the Negative Consequences of Light Weapons Trafficking: Opportunities for Transparency and Restraint." in Jeffrey Boutwell, Michael Klare and Laura Reed, Editors, Lethal Commerce: The Global Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. (Cambridge: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995), pp. 140-57.

"The UN Register of Conventional Arms: Rationales and Prospects for Compliance and Effectiveness," The Washington Quarterly , (Spring 1993).

"Reducing the Negative Consequences of Arms Transfers Through Unilateral Arms Control." in Bennett Ramberg (Ed.) Arms Control without Negotiation: From the Cold War to the New World Order. (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1993), pp. 175-198

With Siemon Wezeman and Herbert Wulf. Arms Watch: SIPRI Report on the First Year of the UN Register of Conventional Arms. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, November 1993).

The International Arms Trade. (New York: Lexington Books, 1992).

"The Political Implications of Illegal Arms Exports From the United States." Political Science Quarterly, 107, 3 (Fall 1992), 501-533.

"Events Data and Policy Analysis: Improving the Potential for Applying Academic Research to Foreign and Defense Policy Problems." Policy Sciences , 23,1(1990).

"The New Gunrunning." Orbis (Spring 1989), 225-237.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

DPPG8626 - SemEvalArmedViolencReductnPgms      

Evaluation of violence reduction programs

This seminar presents three bodies of knowledge: Violence, Violence Reduction Programs, Programs , and Evaluation methods and tools used to evaluate these programs, to include program design. Participants will have access via Skype and in person to real programs taking place in local, national and global contexts. The main requirement of the course is an evaluation of a violence –reduction program. There are no prerequisites for this seminar and it counts as the MPA evaluation requirement.

Fall 2015 - MIIS

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DPPG8633 - Devlpmnt:GloblActors,Norms&Pol      

Development: Global Actors, Norms and Policies

The recent US Presidential campaigns brought to light a basic question. In this age of globalization, how dependent is the United States (and any country) on global institutions and collaboration to solve problems that affect their citizens? Can a country really go it alone? Are there truly global problems that can’t be solved by a single country?

This course explores the various sectors/issue areas of international development (broadly defined) found in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics).Development takes place at the local level but is significantly shaped and managed at the global level. Development sectors/issue areas addressed include public health, rule of law, access to justice, refugees, violence and conflict, corruption, poverty, climate change, gender equality, global finance, human rights, and others (there are 17 SDGs and 167 specific targets being addressed by the full range of actors, from local NGOs to international government organizations such as the UN Development Program –UNDP).).

Key questions addressed in the course are: What is a global problem? Who are the actors at the global level? What are the norms that influence national behavior? Which governments do/do not comply with these norms and why? Which development sectors are more “globally governed” than others? How do development issues get on the global agenda? The course also addresses the role of international governmental organizations (IGOs)- their structure, influence, level of autonomy, etc.(e.g., World Bank, UN Development Program, etc.) The main course requirement is a group assessment of a development sector/problem of the group’s choosing, using the concepts introduced in the course. Guest speakers will appear from the various development sectors/issue areas. Each student is required to give several oral presentations throughout the course.

For first or second semester students, this course serves as an introduction to the substance of development work and can help narrow your career focus. For third and fourth semester students, the course is an opportunity to research in depth a development issue related to your selected career path.

Spring 2016 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS

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DPPG8634 - SEM: Security & Development      

The international community through a United Nations process has established a set of concensus Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be reached by 2030. The specific targets for SDG16 will be addressed in this course. Sustainable Development Goal 16


The overall goal of SDG16 is to Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Specific targets include:


Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere


End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children


Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all


By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime


Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms


Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels


Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels


Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance


By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration


Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements


Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime


Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

Fall 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS

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DPPG8657 - EvalMethods&DevlpPracticeTools      

Evaluation Methods and Tools for Development Practice

The world of development is now an evidence-based world. Practitioners are using observable and measurable indicators to design and evaluate development programs. This course provides the student with those tools and methods used in development work. The tools will include practical work in using surveys, interviews (key informant and data generation types), focus groups, and use of secondary sources (archival data), direct observation, and comparative case studies for program design and evaluation. Emphasis will be on both the consumer role (accurately interpreting and reporting on studies using data generated by these tools) as well as actually using the tools in program design.

There are no pre-requisites for the course. The first weeks are spent introducing the principles of program design, in essence, applied social science research. This involves developing a theory of change, i.e., what is the social condition that your program wishes to change or improve, and what are the causal variables that are reflected in the activities of the program. Other names for this are a logical model or program theory. Students then learn and practice how to use data-generation tools (above) to develop measurable indicators for program activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG8686 - Adv Program Eval Practicum      

This course is entirely practical field work. The prerequisite for this course is previous coursework at MIIS on program design, monitoring and evaluation-(DME) (at least one credit). Admission to the program is by instructor permission. It is a 4 credit course. This course is for those students who have determined that their proposed career trajectory requires the skills required to design, monitor and evaluate a program. The final deliverable is “resumé-able.”

It begins with a brief refresher on the basic elements of program design, monitoring and evaluation (DME), to include the logic model, theory of change, developing indicators for activities, outputs and outcomes, and integrating the concepts of social justice, complexity and systems thinking into DME.

The course participants will be formed into small teams to conduct an actual evaluation of a program designed to change a social condition. Previous evaluations have been conducted on a violence prevention program in Chicago and a food security program for Afghan Refugees run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sacramento. Every project will likely involve mutli-day fieldwork at the site of the evaluation. This is not an online exercise. The final deliverable is a report to the client organization with the primary goal of determining if their program “worked,” that is, change occurred as a result of the program. In some cases the program will be an “experiment” and the purpose of the evaluation is to assist the organization in their planning to scale up the program. Should the program fail to achieve the desired outcomes, it will be the task of the MIIS team to inform the organization of process and implementation failures that need to be improved.

May satisfy the DPP requirement for a SEMINAR; or, an Evaluation Course; or, Practicum (for second year students); or, elective. May not satisfy more than one of these basket requirements.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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