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Reed College Professor Rejali Awarded Prestigious USIP Grant


Portland, Or, (April 30, 2012)-- Darius Rejali, Reed College professor of political science won a United States Institute of Peace Grant. Rejali will use the grant funding to find patterns of torture in Iraq over the 30-year period before, during, and after the Iraq war. He hopes to find how the use of torture spreads, and develop better means of prevention.

The United States Institute of Peace is our country's global conflict management center. Created by Congress to be independent and nonpartisan, USIP works to prevent, mitigate and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means.

As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a significant portion of its budget to grant-making in the fields of peacebuilding and conflict management. Over 20 years, the Institute's Grant Program has awarded more than 2,100 grants in 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in 87 foreign countries. The Grant Program increases the breadth and depth of the Institute's work by supporting peacebuilding projects managed by non-profit organizations including educational institutions, research institutions, and civil society organizations. Rejali was awarded $141,602 of 29 recipients to share from a pool of $3,228,382. He was allotted the largest sum to conduct his research.

A possible outcome of Rejali’s research is evidence-based anti-torture training that could be applied in battlefield conditions. Most militaries model torture prevention based on peacetime conditions. Rejali will study how existing policies are employed and where they fail during wartime. By mapping torture techniques against known prevention policies over time in a given area, he will identify how torture becomes routine and how groups of serial torturers form, develop, and disappear, as well as how torture subcultures are created. He will generate proposals to improve monitoring strategies for sites-of-confinement in war. Ultimately, with the aid of this grant, Rejali hopes to identify patterns that will improve torture prevention strategies.

Rejali is an internationally recognized expert on government torture and interrogation. He has spent his scholarly career reflecting on the causes, consequences, and meaning of modern torture. He was awarded the 2009 Danish Distinguished Chair in Human Rights and International Studies by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. In 2003, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named Rejali a Carnegie Scholar and awarded him a grant of $100,000. His book, Torture and Democracy (Princeton, 2007), is an unrelenting examination of the use of torture by democracies in the 20th century. It won Human Rights Book of the Year Award from the American Political Science Association in 2007.

Rejali is also the author of Torture and Modernity: Self, Society and State in Modern Iran (Westview, 1994), as well as many articles on violence, including “Masculinity and Torture,” “Media Representations of Torture,” “Political Thought of Osama bin Ladin,” “History of Electric Torture,” “Practice of Stoning in the Middle East,” “Treatment of Refugees Who Have Been Tortured,” and “Theories of Ethnic Rape.”

Rejali has been a member of the Reed faculty since 1989. He earned a PhD in political science from McGill University and a BA in philosophy from Swarthmore College.