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Faculty Research Forum features Dr. Aart Holtslag April 2

ISSUED: 26 March 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Dr. Aart Holtslag, assistant professor of political science at Shepherd University, will present his talk “Diffusion of Conventional Arms Norms: NGOs, Landmines, Small Arms, and Cluster Munitions” Wednesday, April 2 at noon in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies auditorium.

In the last 20 years a silent revolution has taken place in the area of arms control. International campaigns established regimes outlawing the use of landmines, curtailing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and limiting the utilization of cluster munitions. The negotiations establishing these international regimes have all been concluded in a relatively short timespan, all included non-state actors, and all were based on principles of international humanitarian law. Holtslag will describe the process by which the principles of humanitarian laws were accepted as applicable to landmines, cluster munitions, and small arms and light weapons. He contends that the acceptance of the principles of humanitarian law is determined by the proportionality of the military advantage gained and the humanitarian cost of employing the weapon in question. In this equation the security calculation carries more weight than the humanitarian cost calculation.

Holtslag is a native of the Netherlands. He earned a doctoral degree, similar to a master’s degree, in political science from the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, now Radboud Universiteit, and a Diplome in international human rights law from the International Institute of Human Rights of the University of Strasbourg, France.

He used his degree to work with several non-governmental and international organizations researching human rights situations throughout the world. While working with Haitian refugees in Miami he started his Ph.D. in international relations at Florida International University working with Susan Waltz, the former chair of Amnesty International’s International Executive board, and Nicholas Onuf. His dissertation, “Against Small Arms: An International Network Analysis,” explored the role of non-state actors in the quest to create a treaty to limit the trade in small arms and light weapons. Holtslag’s academic experience prior Shepherd includes teaching at Florida International University, the New Bulgarian University, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His research interest can be described as the role of the individual in global politics and includes work on human rights, international law, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

The Faculty Research Forum is a monthly lecture series implemented by the faculty and designed to highlight the current scholarship of Shepherd University faculty members. Presentations are drawn from across the campus community and are presented free of charge to faculty, staff, students, and members of the community. The purposes of the Faculty Research Forum are to bring together committed scholars from all disciplines, to highlight the scholarly accomplishments of Shepherd University faculty, to encourage collaborative relationships both within and across academic disciplines, and to contribute to the spirit of research and inquiry that defines what it means to be an institution of higher education.

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