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

pdf icon“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.

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

pdf icon"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.

pdf iconWith 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

This course explores how the various sectors/issue areas of international development found in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics ) are managed at the global level. Development takes place at the local level but is significantly shaped 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).

Key questions addressed in the course are: 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.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG8634 - SEM: Security & Development      

In September 2015 the United Nations will formally announce the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),which will be the international development framework that will replace the current Millennium Development Goals. The seventeen proposed goals and associated targets are planned to run until 2030. Among them, Goal 16 focuses on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice, rights-based development and accountable institutions. Examples of targets include significantly reducing all forms of violence; ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children; promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all; by 2030 significantly reducing illicit financial and arms flows, strengthening recovery and return of stolen assets, and combating all forms of organized crime; and substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms.

This will be the approach of this seminar. The seminar meets 2 hours each week with a voluntary Friday morning session for those who wish to consult on their research. The main learning outcome will be understanding how security and development issues and institutions intersect, and then applying these concepts in a real world situation.

Fall 2015 - 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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IPSG8501 - Policy Analysis      

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of policy analysis. Students will be introduced to the stages of the public policy process, including agenda setting, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Students will also develop basic policy analysis skills, including problem structuring, stakeholder identification, summarization of current policy, development of policy options, elaboration of criteria for selection, and recommendation of course of action. These concepts are illustrated by examples policies that fall within students' range of interests. This course also introduces students to scientific methods that are used as a means for structuring policy inquiry. A series of research approaches and techniques are presented in the context of forecasting, monitoring, and evaluation for the analysis of domestic and international policies.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG8544 - Intro to HumanSecurity&Dvlpmnt      

The focus of this course is human security, the everyday security of individuals and the communities in which they live rather than the security of nation states. It is the gateway course into the field of human security and development. The key concepts of human security are freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom to live in a society of justice under the rule of law. Specific approaches and policies of human security covered in this course include conflict analysis, management and resolution, human rights, peacebuilding, legitimate institutions and good governance, rule of law and justice, and programs and policies designed to lower armed violence.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG8611 / NPTG9611 - Sem:ArmedViolence & Developmnt      

Armed violence resulting from internal conflict and criminal activity is posing a serious obstacle to political, social and economic development at the global, regional, national and local level. This seminar focuses on the reality of armed violence and its negative effects. The course addresses the global burden of violence, its impact on development, theories/risk factors/stresses of violence, and preventing armed violence. There are three main seminar research topics. The first is the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, to include women and child soldiers. The second theme is the instruments of armed violence, namely, small arms and light weapons (SALW), to include land mines. Topics include the sources and methods of illegal arms proliferation, diversion from legal to illegal arms possession, misuse or proliferation. A third general theme is the various policies and programs being implemented to reduce urban gang violence, with a special focus on the public health approach to armed violence reduction. The typical student research project is on which develops (or evaluates) a program to reduce or prevent armed violence and enhance development at the local, national or global level. Students must have read the book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined prior to the start of the seminar.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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