Hymans wins Grawemeyer world order prize

Jacques Hymans, associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, earned the prize for his 2012 book “Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians and Proliferation.”

At least half of the nuclear weapons projects launched in developing nations since 1970 have failed and even the successful ones have met with delays. In case studies of nuclear programs in Iraq, China, North Korea and other countries, Hymans learned that arbitrary management by dictatorial leaders had played a key role in project failures by undermining their scientific and technical progress.

Breaking tradition with conventional wisdom, Hymans also argues that U.S. and international efforts to curb nuclear proliferation often overlook internal obstacles in the countries trying to develop weapons, a practice that can lead to counterproductive policies such as military solutions.

The book offers “a highly original, convincing and policy-relevant take on the major international problem of our day—nuclear proliferation,” said Hymans’ award nominator.

Hymans, whose research focuses on international security, also wrote the 2006 book “The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions and Foreign Policy.” Currently, he is studying the political implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

UofL presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each.

About Jacques Hymans

How close is Iran to building a nuclear bomb? Could North Korea launch a long-range missile strike?

International security scholar Jacques Hymans ponders those issues every day. He is a recognized expert on nuclear proliferation, comparative foreign policy and national identity.

Hymans, who earned degrees in social studies and government from Harvard University, began working in the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations in 2008. He has conducted in-depth case study research in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America and is on sabbatical leave this year at the University of Tokyo.

Before joining USC, he taught and did research in Smith College’s Department of Government for five years. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and a predoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Hymans’ two books, both published by Cambridge University Press, have received extensive notice in his field.

His Grawemeyer Award-winning book also received the American Political Science Association’s 2013 Don K. Price Award and the National Academy for Public Administration’s Louis Brownlow Award, while his 2006 book, “The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions and Foreign Policy,” won the International Society of Political Psychology’s Alexander L. George Book Award and the Mershon Center’s Edgar S. Furniss Book Award.

Now an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow, Hymans also was a Social Science Research Council Abe Fellow (2008-2009) and a Luce Foundation-East Asia Institute Fellow on Peace, Governance and Development in East Asia (2006-2007).
He has published articles in Foreign Affairs, International Security, Security Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Journal of East Asian Studies and The Nonproliferation Review, where he also is an editorial board member.

Download a high resolution version photo of Jacques Hymans