Nicholas Sambanis Named Presidential Distinguished Professor

August 15, 2016

Nicholas Sambanis has been named a Presidential Distinguished Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science. Sambanis, who joined the department effective July 1, is among the world’s leading scholars of violent civil wars, secessionist conflicts, and strategies for conflict resolution and peace-building. 

Sambanis came to Penn from Yale, where he was the Phillip R. Allen Professor of Political Science and director of the Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Prior to his position at Yale, Sambanis served as a World Bank Consultant. He is the author of three influential books, as well as more than 20 articles in top academic journals.  

“As is only too evident in today’s world, the need to resolve and whenever possible prevent large-scale political violence is of fundamental concern to citizens of every country,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Nicholas Sambanis, whose work and valuable insights can help direct policy in making a difference between war and peace, has joined the Penn community at the perfect time. His arrival reflects our commitment to growing Penn's political science faculty and helps launch the grand opening of Perry World House, Penn's new hub for international research and engagement. Professor Sambanis' groundbreaking work on political violence, civil wars, and peacemaking will animate one of Perry World House's inaugural research themes, The Future of the Global Order: Technology, Power, and Governance. We are thrilled that Nicholas is here to help bring together resources from across our University in powerful new ways.”

Working in collaboration with Perry World House and the School’s Browne Center on International Politics, Sambanis will be establishing a new program on civil conflict that will draw on and enhance Penn’s strengths in comparative politics and international relations, in order to generate path-breaking research on how to understand and address many of the most destructive forms of political violence that are being confronted by nations all over the world.

“Nicholas Sambanis’s work has brought new clarity to issues of what defines and drives civil wars, upending much conventional wisdom and pointing to new ways to reduce and end violent conflicts,” said Penn Arts and Sciences Dean Steven J. Fluharty. “His studies of ethnic and religious conflicts are particularly crucial for understanding crises in many parts of the world today.”