Constructing peace

Date published: 2008-08-28 2:47:39 PM

Janice Gross Stein has spent her career researching conflict resolution against the backdrop of a world many believe is becoming increasingly violent. Through it all, Stein has never lost her optimism.

Stein was one of the first academics to question the assumption that rational choice drives decision-makers’ actions. Funded by SSHRC, she swam against the current, examining how culture, ideas and psychological processes shape people’s choices and their understanding of the world. Stein asked such elemental questions as: Why do enduring conflicts become so bitter and persist over time? What are the obstacles inside and outside the policy process? What do interveners have to do to be effective?

Stein’s work has progressed steadily over 20 years and contributed greatly to the development of Canadian foreign policy. She has demonstrated, for example, that international conflict resolution cannot be met by a single department acting alone, by reliance on a single instrument or by framing the problem within the perspective of a single discipline.

Janice Gross Stein, political science, University of Toronto