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New SPP Professors Michael Woldemariam and Joshua Shifrinson Join CISSM

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Michael Woldemariam and Joshua Shifrinson

Dr. Michael Woldemariam and Dr. Joshua Shifrinson are joining the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and the School of Public Policy this fall term as senior fellows and associate professors, respectively. Before moving to University of Maryland, Woldemariam and Shifrinson were both faculty members at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies.

“Adding two new tenured security policy faculty to our ranks will take CISSM and the international policy side of SPP in exciting new directions,” said Nancy Gallagher, CISSM director and head of SPP’s International Security and Economic Policy specialization.

An Africanist by training, Woldemariam’s teaching and research centers on African security studies and armed conflict in the Horn of Africa. His interests extend into other policy relevant areas as well including economic development and democratic governance in the region. Woldemariam previously directed the African Studies Center at Boston University and served on the Democratic staff at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee through a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship, advising U.S. government officials on Africa policy. Woldemariam’s policy expertise and regional focus will augment CISSM’s research agenda by bringing new avenues of inquiry and a greater focus on the important African region to the ongoing Civil Violence and Human Security projects.

“I’m delighted to join SPP and CISSM, which have a proud tradition of producing cutting edge, policy relevant scholarship on international and security affairs, and training the next generation of practitioners in these domains,” stated Woldemariam. “I’ll continue my work around peace and security issues in Africa, while exploring new collaborations and directions in research and teaching. I couldn’t ask for a better place to begin this next chapter of my career.”

Shifrinson’s work covers a range of topics at the intersection of international security and diplomatic history. His current research explores how existing great powers try to stifle the rise of peer challengers by examining American foreign policy in the 1990s and 2000s toward emerging powers such as China. Shifrinson’s interest in the rise of China complements past CISSM research related to Chinese views on strategic stability and arms control. Additionally, Shifrinson’s previous work on NATO expansion and nuclear grand strategy and its implications for U.S.-Russian relations will provide CISSM with a new and important perspective on the war in Ukraine. Shifrinson will also play a key role in CISSM’s legacy project on U.S.-Russian Security relations, which aims to facilitate a cooperative and constructive security relationship despite deep ongoing tensions.

“I’m honored to join the SPP and CISSM at a time when international security issues - ranging from mounting tensions with Russia and China to ongoing concerns with domestic instability and nuclear proliferation - are ever more important to scholarly and policy debates,” said Shifrinson. Maryland has an exceptional reputation for bringing the best research into conversation with policy debates and vice versa, and I’m eager to add to the wonderful community on campus.”

This fall semester, Shifrinson will teach the graduate-level PLCY720: International Security Policy while Woldemariam will teach the undergraduate-level PLCY388V: Public Policy Challenges in Africa. In the spring, Shifrinson will teach another foundational ISEP course, PLCY 780: The Foreign Policy Process, while Woldemariam will offer a graduate-level course on security and governance in Africa, and a section of the recently added graduate-level core course PLCY699D: Examining Social Identity and Pluralism in Public Policy.

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