John Tirman


Non-Resident Fellow


U.S. foreign policy, human cost of war, migration

John Tirman was the executive director and a principal research scientist (until his sudden death on August 19, 2022) at MIT's Center for International Studies.

Tirman is author, or coauthor and editor, of fourteen books on international affairs, including, most recently, Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash (MIT Press, 2015) and The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars (Oxford University Press, 2011). Earlier work includes The Fallacy of Star Wars(1984), the first important critique of strategic defense, and Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America's Arms Trade (1997).

In addition, he has published more than 100 articles in periodicals such as the The NationBoston GlobeNew York TimesWashington PostEsquireWall Street Journal, and Boston Review. Before coming to MIT in 2004, he was program director of the Social Science Research Council.

From 1986 to 1999, Tirman was executive director of the Winston Foundation for World Peace, a leading funder of work to prevent nuclear war and promote non-violent resolution of conflict. In 1999–2000, Tirman was Fulbright Senior Scholar in Cyprus and produced an educational website on the conflict. He has been a trustee of International Alert, Mother Jonesmagazine, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, and the Center for Contemporary Art at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


"Democracy remains the most effective way to tackle terror, stop bloodshed and political violence in Arab countries."

- JAMAL KHASHOGGI, Al-Arabiya, June 12, 2016