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UC Blue Ash Professor Earns Fellowship to the Famous Nobel Institute

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A professor from the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College spent part of this spring researching, writing and lecturing at the prestigious Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway.

John McNay, an accomplished professor of history, was invited to the institute as part of the Visiting Fellows program. He spent nearly a month there in April and May advancing his research on U.S. presidents who chose peace when faced with mounting pressure to launch war. On April 21, he presented his lecture at the institute, titled “I would rather have peace than be president”: American presidents choosing peace, from Truman to Obama.

McNay, a Cold War scholar, is one of only nine researchers and educators worldwide invited to the institute this year. It’s recognition for the work he has done on the history of U.S. foreign relations throughout his career. He teaches courses on World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War at UC Blue Ash; he has also published two books and numerous articles on the subjects.

The Nobel Visiting Fellows program started in the early 1990’s and since then has brought over 200 of the world’s leading historians and social scientists to Oslo to conduct research. “It was a particular pleasure to have Professor McNay accept our offer of a Visiting Fellowship; his research on American presidents choosing peace chimes with much of the other research being carried out here at the home of the Nobel Peace Prize,” says Asle Toje, director of research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

During his stay, McNay was also interviewed by Norwegian radio about his research and the current American presidential election. His research project covers the administrations of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama, documenting important foreign relations issues and presidential responses to crises when faced with increasing pressure at home or from allies to go to war.
“These incidents include the Berlin Airlift, Eisenhower’s decision not to intervene in Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In each case the president wanted to keep control of a situation; you tend to lose control when a war begins,” says McNay. “These are presidents who, in these cases, thought independently and made their own decisions, often in opposition to their foreign policy advisors. There has been an enormous amount of historical research devoted to presidential decisions for war. Similar analysis should be applied to the patterns and strategies that have led to peaceful resolutions.”

McNay will continue to develop his research into articles and possibly a book. Along with his teaching responsibilities, he also serves as chair of the History, Philosophy & Political Science Department at UC Blue Ash.

About UC Blue Ash College

UC Blue Ash College is a regional college within the University of Cincinnati. It offers one of the best values in higher education with access to a nationally recognized UC education in nearly 50 degrees and certificates, as well as tuition that is about half of most colleges and universities. The college is located on a scenic 135-acre wooded campus in the heart of Blue Ash, Ohio.

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