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Dickinson speaks at University of Pennsylvania Law School

January 28, 2011

Laura A. Dickinson, Faculty Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, spoke on “Outsourcing War and Peace” at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on Thursday, Jan. 27.

The speech highlighted Dickinson’s new book, Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs, which was published in January.

The book examines the increasing privatization of military, security, and foreign aid functions of government, considers the impact of this trend on core public values, and outlines mechanism for protecting these values in an era of privatization.

Dickinson argues that, while many privatization critics seek to halt the practice of outsourcing, it is not a realistic solution. Instead, she seeks to identify a variety of potential oversight and accountability mechanisms that could be built into the privatization process. Although some of these mechanisms involve strengthening criminal law regimes, Dickinson argues that additional oversight and restraint mechanisms can be found by focusing on tort suits, better contractual drafting and monitoring, increased feedback mechanisms for affected populations, and key changes to the organizational structures of contract firms.

Dickinson’s work focuses on human rights, national security, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law.

Staci McCabe,
Office of Communications, College of Law