The south end of the UVA Lawn at night

Why Leaders Fight

Date & Time

October 17, 2015 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am



In a rapidly changing world, it is easy to take the role of leaders for granted, seeing them as subject to the whims of fate. However, history has shown that individual leaders really do make a difference. Allan C. Stam, Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, will discuss how transformative leadership has served as a force multiplier and shaped world events. Stam is the co-author of the upcoming book, Why Leaders Fight, (Cambridge University Press) a major study of 2,400 world leaders and their decision to engage in armed conflicts.


Allan C. Stam

Dean, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Professor, Public Policy

Allan C. Stam is Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy. Previously he was the Director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the dynamics of armed conflict between and within states. Dean Stam has worked on several survey-based projects including surveys conducted in Russia, Rwanda, India as well as Web based surveys in the United States. To help support a household survey in Rwanda, Stam and his colleagues developed a GIS sampling system based on randomly selecting residences from known geographic points distributed randomly throughout the country space. Stam is currently assisting the Navsarjin trust that operates in Gujarat, India to help them conduct both a community attitude census as well as a household census in roughly 120,000 households in approximately 1,800 rural villages in Gujarat. In addition to tracking discriminatory behavior, Stam and his colleagues have been assisting the NGO design community surveys to allow the NGO to track violent behaviors directed towards members of the sub-caste population.

Dean Stam’s work on war outcomes, war durations, mediation, and alliance politics appears in numerous political science journals including the American Political Science Review, International Security, and the British Journal of Political Science. He has received several grants supporting his work, including five from the National Science Foundation. His books include Win Lose or Draw (University of Michigan Press, 1996) and Democracies at War (Princeton University Press, 2002), The Behavioral Origins of War (University of Michigan Press, 2004). He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2007 he was a residential fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the recipient of the 2004 Karl Deutsch award, given annually by the ISA to the scholar under the age of 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the study of international politics. Stam holds a US government Top Secret Clearance and has worked on several consulting projects for the Department of Defense and the US Navy’s Joint Warfare Analysis Center. Before completing his undergraduate degree, he served as a communications specialist on an ‘A’ detachment in the US Army Special Forces and later as an armor officer in the US Army Reserves.