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About Johanna Mendelson Forman

Johanna Mendelson Forman is a senior associate in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC

Articles by Johanna Mendelson Forman

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Beyond the middle class military coup

The situation in Egypt today rekindles the debate about middle class military coups in the 1960s and 1970s. Lessons must be learned from Latin America's experience of moving the military into the government.

Haiti beyond failure: ingredients of change

A year after the earthquake in Haiti, the tasks of reconstruction remain vast. A shadowy election and blocked political process reinforce the sense of drift. Yet a coherent international effort can still make a real difference, says Johanna Mendelson Forman.

Haiti's earthquake: a Port-au-Prince report

Six months after the catastrophe in Haiti’s capital, the realities of insecurity, displacement and poverty co-exist with opportunities and agents of reconstruction. Johanna Mendelson Forman offers a view from the ground.

Haiti’s earthquake: a future after mercy

The existing levels of human insecurity in Haiti make the country’s post-disaster recovery even more difficult. All the more important that the world gets the response right and makes a sustained commitment, says Johanna Mendelson Forman.

The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America

The massacre of United Nations employees in Iraq on 19 August 2003 was a dark moment in the organisation's history. It also carries lessons for the United States in the age of Barack Obama, says Johanna Mendelson Forman.

(This article was first published on 19 August 2009)

Open veins, closed minds

The “dependency theory” of the 1970s is no longer a relevant guide to understanding the needs of Latin America or how its relationship with the United States should develop, say Peter DeShazo & Johanna Mendelson Forman.

(This article was first published on 7 May 2009)

President Bush discovers the world is flat

The United Nations world summit suggests that the Bush administration is starting to understand its need for allies, says Johanna Mendelson Forman of the UN Foundation.

In Larger Freedom: Kofi Annan's challenge

Can the United Nations be reformed to make it a guarantor of human security and development in the 21st century? Johanna Mendelson Forman on the ideas and politics of a historic report.

A 21st century mission? The UN high-level panel report

How to ensure human security in an age of terrorism and pre-emptive war? As a United Nations think-tank publishes its proposals, two specialists map the international diplomatic minefield on which the UN, its friends and its enemies chart their course.

The nation-building trap: Haiti after Aristide

Haiti's elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was restored to power by international help in 1994. A decade on, this "success" appears tainted by his second overthrow. What went wrong, and can the international community get it right next time? 

The UN in 2003: a year of living dangerously

The crisis over Iraq has brought the United Nations to a crossroads. At the end of a year when diplomacy was felled by force, the institution can regain its influence only by rethinking its core security mandate.

From the ashes: a multilateral mission?

Johanna Mendelson Forman, recently returned from Iraq, knew well many of those killed and injured in the bombing of the United Nations mission in Baghdad. In mourning her colleagues, she reflects on the meaning and implications of this event for the UN’s future role in the country.

We cannot afford to fail

The Iraq Reconstruction Assessment Mission, an independent team of experts commissioned by the Pentagon, recently published a report of their ten-day Iraqi tour. After presenting evidence to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the authors draw on their report to challenge the Coalition’s masters of war to a gargantuan effort of peacemaking and society-building.

Things Kofi Annan can do now

The UN, centre stage in the prelude to the Iraq war, has been sidelined since its outbreak. But the organisation does not need to take its marching orders from sovereign governments. Its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, can seize the diplomatic initiative with five immediate, practical steps.
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