Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Jo-Anne Hart

Jo-Anne Hart

+1 617 686 7616

Jo-Anne Hart

Visiting Scholar in International and Public Affairs


Jo-Anne Hart is adjunct professor at the Watson Institute and a professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

She graduated from UCLA and received a fellowship to study Persian language at NYU, where she also received a PhD in political science. In addition to Lesley, she has taught at Brown, the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and Barnard College / Columbia University.

Hart also works as a practitioner in international conflict resolution: she is active with the international peacemaking NGO Search for Common Ground. Hart is a convener of a US-Iranian working group on avoiding incidents at sea in the Persian Gulf and she regularly participates in trainings with the US Army on mutual threat reduction. Hart has years of experience in security decision making exercises both as a participant at the national level and in designing simulations to support her own teaching. She briefs senior military leaders and lectures widely in the US and abroad. At Lesley, she teaches Contemporary Middle East History and global interdisciplinary studies.


Domestic Sources of Iranian Foreign Policy and US-Iranian Security

My academic research has been on understanding the internal politics behind foreign policy behavior. I have written on the application of deterrence theory in Persian Gulf security politics and on the role in foreign policy of perception and misperception.

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation in the Middle East

My applied work has allowed me to participate directly in a series of hands-on negotiation projects centered on the Middle East, dating from 1988 to the present. I also conduct a series of briefings for military leaders on conflict avoidance with Iran. I work with the US Army’s red team effort, University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies focusing on mutual threat reduction with Iran.

Teaching Political Literacy

I am the creator of a civics literacy project for pre-voters called GrowingVoters.org designed to teach empowerment to participate in American political life, including voting when eligible. Since the presidential election of 2004, GrowingVoters.org materials have been downloaded by teachers in every US state. The project produced its fourth edition for the 2016 election. 


Growing Voters and the Presidential ElectionProject Creator, New 4th Edition, 2016. Online GrowingVoters.org

“Democracy in America’s Backyard,” Opinion piece. Common Ground News Service, October 2012. Re-published Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, France, England, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco. Translated into Arabic, French, Urdu, and for Indonesia.

Growing Voters and the Presidential Election. Project and Website creator, New 3rd Edition, 2012. Online GrowingVoters.org

“Perceptions and Courses of Action Towards Iran,” Military Review, Sept/October 2005.

Translated and published abroad:

"Newidiodd barddoniaeth fy mywyd i!" (Poetry Changed Me First: Understanding Place Through Poetry.) 
Barddas, Winter 2020. In Welsh. English translation here.

“Percepciones y Cursos de Acciόn con Respecto a Irán.”(translated)  Hispano American Military Review, February, 2006.

“تصورات ومسارات العمل تجاه ايران” (Perceptions of Iran), (translated) Arabic Military Review

 الطبعة العربية, 2006.

“Percepções e Linhas-de-Açao para o Irã” (translated) Brazilian Military Review, 2006.

Talks & Media

Boston's FoxNews25 for a live interview on ISIS in Iraq, June, 2014

Boston FoxNews25 interview on "the Right to Be Forgotten" on the internet, June 2014

Hardball with Chris Matthews, debating Ambassador John Bolton. Watch a clip.

Quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times

Invited talks:

  • West Point - US Military Academy
  • Harvard University
  • UC Davis
  • Kuwait University
  • Columbia University
  • Univ Southern California (USC)
  • Univ of Virginia (UVA)
  • One-on-one discussion with Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Commander US 5th Fleet, Washington, D.C.
  • Briefing for Admiral and Senior Command Leadership, Carrier Strike Group 10, aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (underway in the Atlantic)