Taylor B. Seybolt is an Associate Professor of International Affairs at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh. His expertise includes humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect (R2P) and the protection of civilians in conflict zones. In particular, he seeks to understand the process of violence that can lead to mass killing of civilians, in order to identify ways to prevent atrocities. He is the co-editor of Counting Civilian Casualties: an Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Oxford University Press 2013) and author of Humanitarian Military Intervention: the Conditions for Success and Failure (Oxford University Press 2007).
Seybolt holds a BA in sociology from Haverford College and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT. He was the Director of the Ford Institute for Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh, 2009-2011. From 2002 to 2008, he was a Senior Program Officer at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, where he established grant-making programs in Nigeria and Sudan. While in Washington, he served as an advisor to the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen. He continues to be involved in efforts to build governmental capacity to prevent and respond to mass atrocities.
Dr. Seybolt served as an instructor at AIPR’s Lemkin Seminar in November 2011, Global Edition. He told AIPR:
Research shows that the vast majority of mass atrocities are planned and organized by political leaders who rely on “willing killers,” such as militiamen and special military units, to drive the process forward. Often, the willing killers coerce wider segments of society to participate or to stand by silently. In the long term, it is much less likely that there will be a critical mass of willing killers and silent bystanders in countries with capable governing institutions that can implement policies that encourage social integration, including but not limited, to: de-emphasize ascriptive identity; encourage tolerance of difference, especially with regard to religious beliefs; protect freedom of speech; and offer free public education for every child.