Johanna Mendelson Forman

Distinguished Fellow

Johanna Mendelson Forman is a Distinguished Fellow with the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at the Stimson Center, where she works on security and development issues, including regional multilateral engagement, civil-military relations and stabilization and reconstruction. She is also a scholar-in-residence at the School of International Service at the American University. An expert on the Caribbean, and Brazil, she also has worked extensively on foreign assistance and humanitarian programs in Haiti. A former Co-Director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mendelson Forman has written extensively on security-sector reform in conflict states, economic development in postwar societies, gender and conflict, and the role of the United Nations in peace operations.

Mendelson Forman also brings experience in the world of philanthropy, having served as the Director of Peace, Security and Human Rights at the U.N. Foundation. She has held senior positions in the U.S. government, helping create the Office of Transition Initiatives, and serving as a senior adviser for Humanitarian Response at the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as at the World Bank’s Post Conflict Unit. She served as a senior advisor to the U.N. Mission in Haiti.

Mendelson Forman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the advisory boards of the Latin American Security Network, and RESDAL and she co-chairs the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy. She holds a J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University, a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Master’s of International Affairs, with a certificate of Latin America studies from Columbia University in New York.

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Stimson in the News
Podcast with Johanna Mendelson Forman on food and conflict

How does food both create conflict and provide a foundation for cultural integration and inclusion? American University professor and Stimson Center Distinguished Fellow Johanna Mendelson Forman and Foodhini founder Noobtsaa Philip Vang join hosts Debb…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman quoted on the cost and affordability of breakfast around the world

‘Breakfast Club is Cheapest for Swiss, Most Expensive in Africa – by Shelly Hagan, Lee J. Miller and Wei Lu Whether scrambled, sunny-side up or as part of an omelet, eggs are a global breakfast staple. But not all eggs are equal when it comes to cost a…

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Joy Mitra about India’s Retaliation Options after Pulwama

After Pulwama: What Are India’s Retaliation Options? A Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) suicide attack conducted and claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway (NH-44) in Pulwama District in Kash…

Impact
Exploring the Nexus of Food Security and National Security

A collaborative process with policymakers in identifying challenges and opportunities to address food insecurity.

Report
In Defense of Food Security Roundtable Reports

On the eve of the first anniversary the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) of 2016, the Schar School of Public Policy and George Mason University and the Stimson Center convened a group of over fifty experts representing the U.S. Department of State (DOS)…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman Op-Ed on Haiti

Read article here.

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman Op-Ed on Gastro-Diplomacy

Two years ago, the world came close to ending the hamburger wars. Burger King, of Whopper fame, offered a truce to rival McDonalds’ Big Mac by suggesting that the fast food giants create a McWhopper to celebrate and raise funds for the Intern…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s Op-ed in Newsday on Saving Lives in Venezuela

The unraveling of the last democratic institution in Venezuela came with the recent fraudulent election of a new constituent assembly whose members include the wife and son of President Nicolas Maduro and cronies of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. This i…

Impact
Educating the Next Generation of Military Leaders on Food Security

Increasing the military’s understanding of the connection between global threats and achieving U.S. security objectives.

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s Op-Ed in The Hill on the Consequences of Trump’s Travel Ban

Today’s revision of a draconian executive order that bans travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is an attempt to sanitize an earlier attempt to close our doors to immigrants and turn off the lamp of hope for refugees seeking to reach our shores….

Commentary
Making Food Security a National Security Priority

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of Presidential Inbox 2017 — an ongoing Stimson Center series examining the major global challenges and opportunities the Trump administration faces during its first 100 days in office. Click here to read the full s…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman quoted in Quartz on the death of the creator of General Tso’s chicken

Peng Chang-kuei (彭長貴), who created General Tso’s Chicken, one of the US’s most famous mystery dishes, died in Taipei this week (Nov. 30) following a bout of pneumonia at the age of 98, according to Taiwanese media reports. -snip- “I think what’s i…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman op-ed in U.S. News & World Report on food as a tool for peace

The Syrian civil war continues to highlight one of the most tragic dimensions of warfare: using food as a weapon. More than 80 percent of deliveries of food and humanitarian aid to Aleppo were blocked as of the end of September by Syrian…

Policy Paper
Foreign Policy in the Kitchen

We are witnessing a revolution in food. New technologies will change the way the world eats, expand access to food, and improve the quality of what is produced.  But we are also living at a time when dramatic advances in the reduction of global po…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman quoted in Energy Advisor on Brazil’s energy sector

Q: Michel Temer was sworn in as Brazil’s president on Aug. 31, replacing ousted President Dilma Rousseff. How will the change in government, which puts Temer in power until 2018, affect Brazil’s struggling energy sector? Will the Temer administration b…

Report
Kitchen as the New Venue of Foreign Policy

Conflict Cuisine examines the nexus of food and war.  Included in this study is the practice of culinary diplomacy and gastrodiplomacy by governments and citizens of countries that have experienced war or conflict.  In diplomatic terms, Confl…

Press Release
Stimson Center Experts Analyze President Obama’s Nuclear Legacy

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2016 Contact: Jim Baird; [email protected]; 202.478.3413 Experts from the nonpartisan Stimson Center analyze President Obama’s nuclear legacy in light of the conclusion of the final Nuclear Security Summit in Washin…

Commentary
Obama’s Nuclear Legacy

Experts from the nonpartisan Stimson Center analyze President Obama’s nuclear legacy in light of the conclusion of the final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. The summit  — which brought more than 50 world leaders to Washington…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson-Forman In The Kojo Nnamdi Show On Conflict Cuisine

The Washington region is home to a number of communities displaced by violent conflicts that took place in other countries – from Ethiopia to El Salvador. Kojo explores how food builds bridges between those people and the countries they left – and the…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s Op-ed in The Hill on Syrian Refugees

It is time to have a national conversation about identity. And there is no better place to have this conversation than at the table. It is, after all, that time of year. On Thanksgiving, we customarily gather with family and friends to celebrate a holi…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s Op-ed in World Politics Review on Food Security

Expo Milan, a World’s Fair whose central theme was feeding the planet, officially closed its doors on Oct. 31, after six months that saw 20 million visitors pass through this once swampy area on the outskirts of the city’s industrial center. For Italy,…

Commentary
Good Governance Is the Only Real Way to Provide Food Security

Expo Milan, a World’s Fair whose central theme was feeding the planet, officially closed its doors on Oct. 31, after six months that saw 20 million visitors pass through this once swampy area on the outskirts of the city’s industrial center. For Italy,…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson-Forman quoted in Eater on Conflict Cafes

In an underground skate park housed beneath London’s Waterloo station, there lies a pop-up restaurant. It’s not a literal underground supper club or temporary home to a rogue chef in need of kitchen space. This is Conflict Café, a month-long pop-up res…

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Johanna Mendelson Forman in The Hill on US-Cuba Relations

When Secretary of State John Kerry raises the American flag at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Aug. 14, he will officially mark the end of an era of failed foreign policy. Kerry’s official actions this Friday will be historic not only for ending the more…

Commentary
The New Atlanticism or a Wider Atlantic?

The notion that the Atlantic Ocean connects North America to Europe is ingrained in the geographic DNA of most Americans by the time they finish grade school. Certainly for a generation of baby boomers who saw their security tied to a coalition of stat…

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Johanna Mendelson Forman in ISN ETH Zürich on the ‘Wider Atlantic’

The notion that the Atlantic Ocean connects North America to Europe is ingrained in the geographic DNA of most Americans by the time they finish grade school. Certainly for a generation of baby boomers who saw their security tied to a coalition of stat…

Commentary
Should Food Security be a National Security Issue?

By Johanna Mendelson Forman and Levi Maxey:  Food security as a policy issue has evolved to reflect the dynamism of global events. The increasing attention paid to food’s impact on poverty, humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate change all sug…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s op-ed in World Politics Review on Energy Security in the Caribbean

U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of $20 million in financing for private investment in Caribbean clean energy projects at a meeting yesterday with the region’s leaders in Kingston, Jamaica, comes at a good time: After a lost decade…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman op-ed in The Hill on US-Mexico relations

More than Christmas, Three Kings Day on Jan. 6 is the holiday to celebrate if you come from Latin America. Starting in Mexico and going south, the holiday — the Dia de los Reyes Magos — commemorates the New Testament story in Matthew that des…

Report
Beyond Boundaries in Brazil: Innovating for Proliferation Prevention

Co-written by Managing Director Brian Finlay, Senior Advisor Johanna Mendelson Forman, and Scoville Fellow James McKeon,the newest report from the Stimson Center’s Managing Across Boundaries initiative, entitled Beyond Boundaries in Brazil: Innovating…

Chapter
Managing Transnational Border Threats, Brian Finlay and Johanna Mendelson Forman

Brian Finlay and Johanna Mendelson Forman have written a chapter on Managing Transnational Border Threats: Brazil as a Global Mentor, which is included in a new publication, “Multilateral Security Governance.” Get the full pdf here.

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman op-ed in The Globalist on Human Rights Day

Did you notice the irony this week? On the one hand, the world celebrated International Human Rights Day on December 10, a commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It states every human being anywhere and at all times is en…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s column marking 100 years of the Panama Canal published in VOXXI

One hundred years after the opening of the Panama Canal, the waterway is again the subject of a new controversy as Chinese investors seek to create an alternate path between the seas through Nicaragua. Ironically, the original 1897 plans to construct t…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s op-ed on Haiti’s ongoing earthquake recovery published in Foreign Policy

On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Shoddy construction compounded the scale of the devastation; many buildings collapsed on their occupants. Government figures put the dead at…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s op-ed on Brazil in the aftermath of the World Cup published in The Hill

Two routs of Brazil in one week, first with the German soccer team and then with the Dutch, can only be viewed as a metaphor for the limits of soft power. The final blow this past Saturday was the Netherlands team trouncing Brazil in a poorly defended…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman’s column on Chilean President Michelle Bachelet published in VOXXI

What is immediately apparent when you meet Bachelet is a warmth and sense of humanity that captures even the most serious audience of Washington policymakers. She smiles and laughs easily. This is a woman who delayed her departure to Washington for her…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman, Brian Finlay op-ed on aroused indignation in Brazil published in The Hill

Brazil’s World Cup ennui The mood in Brazil is sour. With the much-coveted World Cup games less than a month away, it is hard to find the joy among Brazilians about this upcoming global event. The absence of visual displays promoting the games in citie…

Commentary
Brazil’s World Cup ennui

The mood in Brazil is sour. With the much-coveted World Cup games less than a month away, it is hard to find the joy among Brazilians about this upcoming global event. The absence of visual displays promoting the games in cities like Rio de Janeiro fur…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman column on the role of women in security sector published in Building Peace

This year, the United Nations declared “inspiring change” as the theme of its activities for International Women’s Day (March 8) in order to commemorate the evolving role of women globally. It is especially appropriate since it is time to change the na…

Stimson in the News
Johanna Mendelson Forman interviewed on Radio New Zealand National on culinary diplomacy

How countries are using their cooking to promote their interests on the world stage. Johanna Mendelson Forman’s set up a course in culinary diplomacy at American University in Washington DC. To reach the full audio, click here

Commentary
Is NAFTA Prepared to Manage Cross Border Threats?

By Johanna Mendelson Forman and Brian Finlay — In the 20 years since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, by President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, much of the…