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Kelsey Shantz
Program Associate
Mass Violence and Atrocities
563-264-6851
kshantz@stanleyfoundation.org

Kelsey Shantz is a program associate for the Stanley Foundation, where she focuses on strengthening societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities through inclusive, multilateral, and multistakeholder policy development and action. Her current work includes establishing, supporting, and strengthening prevention-focused regional networks and advocating for evidence-based investments in societal resilience. She holds a master of arts degree in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, a master of public policy degree from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany, and a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from the University of Evansville.

What do you do at the foundation and how long have you been here?

I joined the foundation in August 2017. What attracted me to the Stanley Foundation was its creative approach to solving global problems by asking crucial questions and creating networks of intelligent and driven people, connecting ideas with partners and designing effective strategies to prevent mass violence and enable cities, regions, national governments, and multilateral organizations to be better informed and more resilient in the face of the next attempt on lives.

As a program associate, I work as part of a dynamic team to build these networks and implement events for useful dialogue among important thinkers and doers. Together we develop programming activities that further our human protection policy objectives as well as the foundation’s larger mission to advance multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security.

What do you like most about your job?

I work with some of the most thoughtful and dedicated individuals to address the world’s most pressing problems and find not only solutions but ways to prevent the next major catastrophic event. I value the opportunity to bring the international community to the Midwest as well as the chance to bring the Midwest to international discussions.

Where are you from?

As a dual national of Canada and the United States, I grew up in southern Ontario, Canada, and—surprisingly—a small town in Iowa. My childhood in Iowa was deeply influenced by dedicated individuals who demonstrated a true investment in their communities, including providing incredible educational opportunities for young people. I left Iowa after graduating from high school and set my sights on Europe, never dreaming I would return. However, the foundation has provided an opportunity to do just that, and I have embraced the chance to return to my roots.

What are your hobbies?

I’m passionate about hiking, rock climbing, international relations, empowering individuals—and chocolate. I do my best to keep up with my baseball teams, which have truthfully become a strange amalgamation of the places I’ve lived and worked. Go Jays! And Nats! And Padres! (See what I mean?) When I’m not at work, you can find me traveling, cooking, or out on a trail somewhere.

Mass Violence and Atrocities

Large-scale and systematic violence are on the rise around the globe—disrupting societies, creating spillover effects, and stretching the international system thin. The consequences of failing to prevent such violence are too great to ignore.

Stakeholders at all levels are demanding new strategies for preventing, responding to, and recovering from mass violence. To overcome the threat to global peace and security, state and nonstate actors alike must work collectively to design fresh approaches to strengthening societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities.


Current Work

To ensure that diverse stakeholders at all levels create durable and inclusive institutions and mechanisms that strengthen societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities, the Stanley Foundation focuses on: 

  • Helping establish prevention-focused regional networks that support effective policy action at the national, regional, and international levels to build resilience.
  • Engaging different policy sectors to work effectively together to develop and promote a resilience agenda.
  • Promoting evidence of “what works” in building resilience at the regional, national, and local levels in global-reform processes.  

Building on the foundation’s work on genocide and mass atrocity prevention, this work draws on our strengths as a convener of key stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, national governments, civil society, and the private sector. We commission expert analysis to encourage innovative policy ideas and actively engage the media on policy issues related to strengthening resilience to mass violence and atrocities. 

Contact Jai-Ayla Quest for more information.