Shahin Berenji is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. From 2020 to 2022, he worked at Southern Methodist University where he served as the Colin Powell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs. He earned his Ph.D in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
In his research, he examines why, and under what conditions, leaders initiate conciliation in strategic rivalries. Of the many ways decision-makers can extend olive branches to their adversaries, he is particularly interested in studying their motivations for undertaking bold gestures. These are conciliatory acts or statements in which one state offers a large unilateral concession to its adversary that is unprecedented, irreversible, and noncontingent. Why leaders choose to initiate conciliation in such a risky manner when smaller, less radical avenues exist to engage adversaries is an interesting subject and has important implications for our understanding of decision-making, diplomatic signaling, and trust building. His research has appeared in International Security and has been accepted for publication in Security Studies.