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Sarah Lischer - Wake Forest University. Winston-Salem, NC, US

Sarah Lischer Sarah Lischer

Associate Professor of Political Science | Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC, UNITED STATES

Lischer is an expert in humanitarian crises, military intervention, genocide and forced migration.


An expert in humanitarian crises, genocide and forced migration, Sarah Kenyon Lischer understands the causes of these complex and controversial events, as well as the long-term consequences once they have ended. Some of her recent work has focused on Syrian refugees, modern crises facing Africa, such as war in Sudan, and post-genocide politics in Rwanda.

Lischer has published widely on the topics of humanitarian crises, military interventions, refugees/migration and African politics. Shed is the author of Dangerous Sanctuaries: Refugee Camps, Civil War, and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid (2005). She has written for The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, The American Scholar and The Baltimore Sun among other news sources, and is currently writing a book on how memories of atrocity affect post-genocide reconciliation. She teaches courses on the politics of forced migration, international conflict resolution and the causes and consequences of civil wars.

Areas of Expertise (13)

Humanitarian Crises

Genocide Issues

Forced Migration

African Politics

Military Intervention in Humanitarian Crises

Civil Wars

Transitional Justice War Crimes Tribunals

Human Rights

Politics of Forced Migration

Civil Wars: Causes and Consequences

International Conflict Resolution

Politics of International Military Intervention

Humanity and Atrocity



Sarah Lischer Publication



Sarah Lischer poses for photo. loading image Sarah Lischer poses with book. loading image




Education (3)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., International Relations

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government: MPP., Public Policy

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service: BFFS, Foreign Service

Media Appearances (5)

Blocking Syrian refugees won’t make America safer



Sarah Kenyon Lischer, associate professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University, is an expert on humanitarian crises, refugees and migration. She can comment on the bill passed by the House to introduce new screening standards for Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to enter the United States...

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Sarah Kenyon Lischer: A national ethic of fear

Winston-Salem Journal  


In 1939, the passenger ship St. Louis left Germany carrying nearly a thousand refugees, most of whom were Jews. The St. Louis planned to dock in Cuba while waiting for the passengers’ American visas to arrive. Cuba instead refused entry and the St. Louis sailed up the Florida coast with its desperate cargo. The U.S. Department of State would not allow the ship to land without congressional legislation or an executive order from President Roosevelt. Congress idled...

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Panel on Syrian refugee crisis sparks conversation

Old Gold & Black  


The panel consisted of history professor Charles Wilkins, journalism professor Phoebe Zerwick and four Wake Forest politics and international affairs professors Sarah Lischer, Tom Brister, Helga Welsh and host Michaelle Browers...

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Deacon Profile: Sarah Lischer

Old Gold & Black  


Sarah Lischer received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. She went on to earn her masters in public policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard in Boston and Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT in Boston...

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Why western aid won't save Somalia

The Huffington Post  


If only we could blame drought and poverty for the famine in the Horn of Africa that would be so simple. Wealthy donor states could quickly send food, medicine, and tents to the starving, diseased, and displaced. Millions of people would be saved. Altruism would triumph...

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Articles (5)

Security and displacement in Iraq: responding to the forced migration crisis International Security

In such desperate circumstances, the refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have become susceptible to political manipulation by extremists. In Iraq, militant groups, such as that of Muqtada al-Sadr, have already capitalized on this opportunity, offering shelter and ...

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Military intervention and the humanitarian “force multiplier” Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations

Recent military interventions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq have sparked controversy by using humanitarian aid to further military goals. In 1999, NATO forces set up refugee camps for fleeing Kosovars, even as NATO fighter pilots attacked Yugoslavia. US planes dropped ...

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Causes and Consequences of Conflict-Induced Displacement Civil Wars

Violent conflict causes millions of people to flee their homes every year. The resulting displacement crises not only create logistical and humanitarian nightmares, these crises threaten international security and risk the lives of displaced people, aid workers, and ...

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Collateral Damage: Humanitarian assistance as a cause of conflict International Security

The conflict in Rwanda, and the resulting regionwide destabilization, traces its roots to ethnic polarization between Hutu and Tutsi that occurred at the end of the colonial period in 1959, which spurred thousands of Tutsi to flee the country. Over the decades, hundreds of ...

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Causes of communal war: Fear and feasibility Studies in Conflict and Terrorism

Communal war results from two types of change-increases in fear and increases in the feasibility of gaining aims by force. Fear, or insecurity, becomes a trigger of war when an oppressed group perceives a heightened threat to its cultural or physical survival. Fear of ...

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