Jennifer Staats is the director of East and Southeast Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she oversees USIP’s work on Burma, China and North Korea. She joined USIP in 2016 as the director of the China Program, and she continues to lead USIP’s work on China and its impact on peace and security around the world.
 
Dr. Staats previously spent several years working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she concentrated on policy issues related to Asia.  At the Pentagon, she led the teams that coordinated the Department of Defense’s implementation of the U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and developed long-term strategies for the Department. She also served as a director in the Cyber Policy Office and managed the Asian-Pacific Security Affairs portfolio for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Staats received several awards for her work at DoD, including the Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.
 
Before entering government service, Staats was a fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard’s Belfer Center and a research assistant with the Preventive Defense Project chaired by Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry.  
 
She received her PhD from Harvard University, her MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and her BA from the University of the South (Sewanee). She has been named a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, Fulbright Scholar, NSEP Boren Fellow, Javits Fellow and NCAA Postgraduate Scholar.

Publications By Jennifer

A Primer on Multi-track Diplomacy: How Does it Work?

A Primer on Multi-track Diplomacy: How Does it Work?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

By: Jennifer Staats ; Johnny Walsh; Rosarie Tucci

If you asked someone to define diplomacy, chances are they would describe two governments meeting, shaking hands, sitting at a table, and negotiating an official agreement. But that more traditional view of diplomacy is only one iteration, often called track 1 diplomacy. Diplomacy can occur in a number of forms, or “tracks,” that engage various participants, from academics to policymakers to heads of state. In an increasingly complex global environment, peacebuilders and diplomats looking to address difficult policy challenges are increasingly incorporating track 1.5 and track 2 dialogues—often referred to as “back channel” diplomacy—into their strategies.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Hong Kong’s Turn to Violence Divides the Movement

Hong Kong’s Turn to Violence Divides the Movement

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

By: Jacob Stokes; Jennifer Staats ; Rachel Vandenbrink

The weeks of peaceful protests by millions of Hong Kong residents opposed to the erosion of their civil liberties turned violent Monday. After days of aggressive police crackdowns that injured protesters and drew criticism from international human rights groups, hundreds of protesters bashed through doors into the city’s legislature yesterday. USIP specialists discuss the escalation of the conflict between residents and the city’s authorities—and the implications for one of the territory’s largest protest movements since Britain handed it over to Chinese control two decades ago.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

Where Does China’s Belt and Road Initiative Stand Six Years Later?

Where Does China’s Belt and Road Initiative Stand Six Years Later?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

By: Jennifer Staats

Few projects illustrate the risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) better than the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. In 2017, unsustainable debt loads drove Colombo to give China a 99-year lease and controlling equity stake in the Hambantota port, while local communities protested the loss of sovereignty and international observers worried about China’s strategic intentions. The Hambantota case may be an outlier, but it has become a “canary in the coalmine,” and a warning sign to other BRI participants about what their future may hold. Increasingly, countries around the world are taking steps to reassert their influence over BRI projects—and Beijing has taken note.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Global Policy

India-Pakistan Tensions Test China’s Relationships, Crisis Management Role

India-Pakistan Tensions Test China’s Relationships, Crisis Management Role

Thursday, March 7, 2019

By: Jacob Stokes; Jennifer Staats

The latest India-Pakistan crisis has put China in a difficult position, as it tries to balance its relationships with both countries, while helping to stave off a conflict and demonstrate its ability to manage and resolve crises. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke to leaders in both Pakistan and India last week, urging them to practice restraint and find a way to deescalate the situation. Despite Pakistan’s request for China to play a more active role, competing priorities constrained the degree to which Beijing could lead—highlighting a chronic challenge for Chinese diplomacy in South Asia. China’s decision to keep a low profile is likely deliberate and in keeping with longstanding practice, but it is inconsistent with Beijing’s aspirations to lead in Asian crisis diplomacy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

As Military Ties Deepen, China Advances its Ambitions in Africa

As Military Ties Deepen, China Advances its Ambitions in Africa

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

By: Kerry A. Moore; Jennifer Staats

China’s Africa strategy has experience two shifts beyond its traditional emphasis on trade, investment, and resource extraction: promoting improved security relations to help protect China's interests on the continent and enhancing China's reputation as a reliable security partner that is invested in Africa's future.

Type: Blog

Global Policy

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