Barbara F. Walter

Bucknell Forum to Present Barbara F. Walter '86

March 27, 2023

by Mike Ferlazzo

Barbara F. Walter '86 is author of How Civil Wars Start (and How to Stop Them). Photo by Delmar Photographics

Barbara F. Walter '86 — one of the world's leading scholars on civil wars, political violence and terrorism, and author of the New York Times bestseller How Civil Wars Start (and How to Stop Them) — will be the final speaker in this year's Bucknell Forum Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Vaughan Literature Building's Trout Auditorium (Room 100). She'll join University President John Bravman for a discussion on her expertise as it relates to the series theme, "The State of American Democracy."

"We are proud to have one of our prominent alumni close this year's Bucknell Forum series," Bravman says. "As a leading scholar on civil war, Barbara can assess where the U.S. stands amid the political polarization in recent years."

About Barbara F. Walter
Walter is the Rohr Professor of International Affairs at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. How Civil Wars Start (and How to Stop Them) (Crown/Penguin Random House, 2022), her newest book, explores whether the U.S. is heading toward a second civil war.

She is also author of the award-winning Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars (Princeton University Press, 2002), Reputation and Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention (Columbia University Press, 1999).

Walter is the recipient of the 2022 National Peacemaker Award, the Susan Strange Award — given to the scholar of international studies "whose singular intellect, assertiveness and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and international and organizational complacency" — and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS NewsHour, and has served as a consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations, the Departments of Defense and State, and the January 6th Committee. She occasionally writes for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Her research has been showcased in The New York Times and The New Yorker, among others. In 2012, she founded the blog Political Violence @ a Glance, with Erica Chenoweth. Walter has been invited to present at the prestigious 2023 TED Conference in Vancouver, B.C. in April.

In addition to earning her bachelor's degree from Bucknell, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral positions at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University and the Arnold A. Saltzman War and Peace Institute at Columbia University.

Event Information
All Bucknell Forum events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required for this event.

Questions regarding this event may be directed to the Division of Communications at 570-577-3260 or

About The Bucknell Forum
Walter is the fifth nationally renowned speaker who participated in this year's Bucknell Forum — a speaker series that since 2007 has featured national leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multidisciplinary and diverse viewpoints. Condoleezza Rice — the first female African American secretary of state and first woman to serve as national security adviser — appeared via Zoom to kick off the series Sept. 13. Jake Tapper, lead Washington anchor for CNN, spoke in-person Nov. 30; while John Kasich, former Republican governor of Ohio; and David Axelrod, former Democratic chief strategist and senior adviser to President Barack Obama, appeared together Feb. 28.