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About SARR

SARR States at Regional Risk (SARR) began as an initiative of Emory’s Institute of Critical International Studies to address state instability and civil strife in five world areas: West Africa, Central-East Africa, Inner Asia, the Himalayas and the Andean countries of South America. SARR cultivates dialogue between policy makers, humanitarian practitioners, and scholars. By means of conferences and workshops convened within these world areas and on the Emory campus, the project facilitates informed understanding that can help reduce state fragility and increase effective governance and development in troubled world areas. A larger component of SARR is the assessment of global factors that augment or reduce instability across different world areas.

SARR receives generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. (

What are States at Risk?

As stated on the Carnegie Corporation web site, “More than a quarter of the world’s states are considered at risk of instability and collapse. Such states–in regions of the developing world where national borders are particularly porous and under constant stress–not only imperil lives at the local level, but also threaten security, stability and prosperity around the world. . . A new generation of experts is needed to deal with this daunting but crucially important problem.”

What are States at Regional Risk?

Instability in one country often has a substantial impact on crisis or threat in neighboring nations. Globally, the distribution of “states at risk” is highly concentrated in certain areas of the world. The SARR project foregrounds this fact by addressing the causes and consequences of state fragility in four key world regions. This diversity illuminates the distinctive features that characterize and also link states at risk across different world areas.

What is SARR’s history to date?

SARR was preceded by a “States at Risk” pilot project in 2006 and 2007 that was also supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. That initiative included major conferences and symposia at Emory concerning inequity and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, in South Asia, and in the Northern Andes. These programs included: “Intervening in Africa: Interrogating International Operations in West Africa” (March 2007); “Subaltern Citizens and Their Histories” (October 2006 and December 2007); and “Off-Centered States: Political Formation and Deformation in the Andes” (September 2007).

SARR has already held major States at Regional Risk conferences in West Africa, East Africa and the Andes.

What is the future of SARR?

Further program work and conferences are planned in Inner-Asia, especially Mongolia, and the Himalayan region, including Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and northern India. A final conference at Emory University concerning states at regional risk in comparative global perspective is also planned.