Abbigail Denner

Abbigail Denner, Undergraduate student, International Relations

Dissects diplomacy that ends wars

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa
Faculty mentor/advisor: Professor and Department of Political Science Chair Brian Lai
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I am majoring in International Relations, minoring in French and Arabic, and plan to graduate in May of 2021.
Please describe your research: My research focuses on the processes and dynamics related to ending civil wars. This includes how to bring actors to the negotiating table, how to structure negotiation processes, which actors to include in the process, and how to design the most successful peace agreements. My current projects involve women’s participation in peace processes, demobilizing actors after an agreement is reached, and mapping negotiation attempts throughout conflicts.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? Communities all over the world are impacted by civil war. Increasing in frequency and duration, these conflicts are resulting in longer, more violent, and progressively internationalized wars. Identifying which factors are most effective for ending these conflicts and preventing them from recurring can inform how states, intergovernmental organizations like the UN, and peacebuilding institutions go about resolving civil wars and contribute to a more peaceful world in the future.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? My first introduction to research was through an experiential course called Diplomacy Lab in my 3rd year at Iowa, and I dove in headfirst after that.
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has allowed me to connect with and work alongside several incredible professors in the UI political science department which has opened so many doors for me. It has also provided me with valuable experience and improved my critical-thinking and writing skills, making me a better student.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I hope to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in international relations and political methodology after graduation to continue my education in social science research.

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