Melissa Damico

The Grey Green Alliance collaboration between Ohio University and Ohio State University was recently featured in the new online science magazine The Athens Effect. Writer Anna Birk highlights the experience of Melissa Damico, the Ohio University Environmental Studies Honors Tutorial College sophomore who has served as a tangible bridge between the two universities. A member of the Dabelko Research Group in the Voinovich School, Damico spent summer 2019 embedded in Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County to conduct research on building climate resilience and more livable communities for older adults. Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County is a dynamic community advocate for older adults based in Ohio State University’s College of Social Work.

Melissa continues to conduct research and support applied efforts to bring together older adults and sustainability and resilience including growing efforts in Athens City and Athens County. Melissa will work on a range of Grey Green Alliance topics as a Voinovich Scholar with the Dabelko Research Group for the 2020-21 school year.

Check out The Athens Effect story to learn more about Melissa’s applied research experience.

The DC internship is almost a right of passage for students aiming to get into policy work. I was that student in 1990 and was thrilled to work as an Editorial Assistant at Foreign Policy and learn from what became a string of excellent mentors. I did not fully appreciate it at the time, but that first position at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was an influential step in showing me what I did (and didn’t) want to do in the Washington policy world. It also was the start of lifelong DC friendships.

National Capital and Scripps in DC interns touring the Senate Press Briefing Room
January 2019

Now I am on the other side of the table so to speak, co-directing Ohio University’s National Capital Internship Program that provides a valuable scholarship to make interning on Capitol Hill a reality for our students. As I lead a first week orientation for each cohort before they take up their positions, I’m taken back to that excitement of coming to work in DC for my first post-baccalaureate job. It is easy to get cynical in DC, especially these days and especially on the Hill. But the alums of this program have demonstrated that they learn invaluable lessons on the bottom rung of the DC ladder. It is now time for those OHIO students interested in spending fall 2020 in Washington to apply (March 1st deadline). More details about the program are available at here.

The United States and China are on the road to war, said Senior Advisor of New America’s Resource Security Program, Sharon Burke in this week’s Friday Podcast. “And if you’re an environmental peacebuilder and you’re not thinking about that, you might want to,” she added. She spoke with Geoffrey Dabelko, Professor at Ohio University and Senior Advisor to the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, at the first ever International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding in October 2019 at the University of California, Irvine. It’s a war we can’t afford, said Burke. “But we’re not doing anything to avoid it at the moment, in my opinion, other than deterrence.”

In a primarily adversarial relationship, said Burke, does environmental peacebuilding have the ability to be a bright spot on an otherwise bleak path toward a seemingly inevitable war?

To listen to the podcast and read the rest of Eliana Guterman’s story on New Security Beat, click here! This podcast is the first in a series produced by the Wilson Center’s New Security Beat in collaboration with the Environmental Peacebuilding Association.

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New Security Beat, Wilson Center
January 31, 2020

Beginning with the end of the Cold War, a relatively small but growing number of scholars began to investigate the connections between environmental change, conflict, peace, and changing notions of security. The recognition of these linkages wasn’t new, but as the heavy weight of superpower confrontation lifted and new foreign policy dynamics unfolded across the globe, an expanded range of research questions and tools emerged.

Thirty years later, the environment and security research arena has expanded even more to include robust research on conflict, peacebuilding, protests, and even assassinations of environmental leaders. The range of environmental issues, relatively limited at first, is more diverse and includes the context of a changing climate.

Despite this growth of topics, methods, and contributors, a question remains. Are there still significant gaps in the disciplinary or topical communities actively engaged in understanding the connections between environmental change and security?

This question is at the heart of a recent effort led by Geoff Dabelko, Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs and Senior Adviser to ECSP. With support from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Integrative Activities, members of the Dabelko Research Group assessed the relevance of traditional environmental science to national security communities.

To watch the video and read the rest of Winter Wilson’s story on New Security Beat, click here.


Good fun teaching up the 3rd cohort of Ohio University‘s National Capital Interns during the first week of the semester. We get in our steps as we range all over DC before they start their Capitol Hill placements. Great to be able to share some lessons from nearly 30 years working in Washington. Best part is connecting them with friends, colleagues, and OU Bobcat alums around town. Folks are so generous sharing insights, often I think because it reminds them of that feeling of wonder they had with their first jobs in DC. H/t to Steven Richardson, one of those OU alums who snapped this picture from the Library of Congress.

Since 1995, a book co-edited by Geoff Dabelko, professor of Environmental Studies and associate dean at the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, has led the conversation about international environmental politics.

Now, Green Planet Blues– Critical Perspectives on Global Environmental Politics is out in a newly updated sixth edition, published by Routledge(opens in a new window). The previous five editions were published by Westview Press, which was acquired by Taylor & Francis in 2017. 

“Routledge is a much bigger press and has a much bigger international distribution, so our hope is that the book will have a greater availability overseas,” Dabelko said.  

Click here for the complete article by the Voinovich School’s RaeAnn Ensworth.

The Fifth Al-Moumin Award on Environmental Peacebuilding, presented by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the United Nations Environment Programme, and American University, was recently awarded to Geoffrey Dabelko and Ken Conca for their contributions to the field of environmental peacebuilding, with special recognition of their book, Environmental Peacemaking.

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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program worked with U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation to produce this animated short on water conflict and cooperation. The animated short is designed to introduce new audiences to the multiple facets of the connected topics and kick off conversations among practitioners and stakeholders. It was done as part of the Resilience for Peace Project at the Wilson Center. The Dabelko Research Group was pleased to work with Cynthia Brady at USAID, Lauren Herzer and Meaghan Parker at the Wilson Center and Sean Peoples of Think Out Loud Productions on the effort.

Alex Dehgan of Conservation X Labs discusses his innovative and interdisciplinary work protecting wildlife at the Wilson Center. The 2019 event launched Alex’s book
The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation.

Check out Dr. Alex Dehgan from Conservation X Labs presenting his new book The Snow Leopard Project. Alex recounts his efforts with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Afghan partners to advance wildlife protection in war-ravaged Afghanistan, the habitat for the endangered snow leopard. At CXL, Alex and his team partner with an impressive array of public and private actors to use disruptive technology innovation and grand challenges to take fundamentally different approaches to conservation and biodiversity loss. Alex served as lead scientist at the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama Administration.

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