From the Drug War to Peaceful Markets


An exciting event coming up! If you’re in the NYC area, I hope you’ll join me as I present my research at the New York Peace Institute on Friday, October 26th. Flyer and a link to RSVP below. I hope to see you there!


New York Peace Institute and PACT invite you to a PeaceTalk

What is Peace Economics? From the Drug War to Peaceful Markets

with Talia Hagerty

Ojuelos de Jalisco, México, September 2012

Friday, October 26th 2012 (6-8pm)

Do markets build peace? Can economic structures support ongoing violence? The emerging conversation about peace economics explores these and other timely questions. New York Peace Institute and the Center for Global Affairs Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation (PACT) group cordially invite you to add your voice to the conversation and debate, “What is Peace Economics” on Friday, October 26th 2012. Talia Hagerty, a Masters candidate at the Center for Global Affairs, will lead the talk and present her provocative research on peace economics in México.

The PeaceTalk will include an overview of the most recent work in the emerging concept of peace economics and a presentation of Talia’s research in México. In addition to México’s complicated economic history, approximately 50,000 lives have been lost to the drug war since 2006. In light of both the violence and poverty experienced there, México makes an important and fascinating case for understanding peace economics. Without specific warring parties, but with large-scale and organized violence, México’s conflict is difficult to understand and address. Talia argues that México is experiencing violence as market activity – a new framework with significant implications for economic policy, development and human rights work, and peacebuilding. The event will include ample time for discussion of this timely issue.
RSVP Required:

This PeaceTalk is free and open to the public; however, because space is limited, please be sure torsvp here.

Please email Chantal Kim at if you have any questions about the event.

Date & Time: Friday October 26th, 2012 (6:00PM – 8:00PM)

Location: New York Peace Institute, Brooklyn Mediation Center

210 Joralemon Street, Suite 618, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (located between Court and Adams Streets)

Conveniently located near Subways 2,3,4,5 to Borough Hall, M,N,R to Court Street; G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street; A,C,F to Jay Street


Speaker Bio:

Talia Hagerty is a Masters candidate at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, with a concentration in peacebuilding and peace economics. Her research focuses on informal and illicit economies globally, and the drug trade in Latin America specifically. After completing her master’s thesis – an exploration of economic opportunity and markets in México – Talia aims to work toward peaceful economic structures and opportunities in the Americas. Talia earned a BA in Economics from Eckerd College in 2008, and spent two years working in fair trade at the Center for Cultural Interchange and Greenheart in Chicago. Since moving to New York City in 2010, Talia has worked on violence containment research at the Institute for Economics and Peace and collaborated with regulators, civil society, and the private sector at the environmental consulting firm Matthiessen Strategies.


It’s September – Back to Work!


Summer is definitely my favorite season – it’s play time! But fall feels like the most productive time of year. In the next few months, in addition to writing my thesis and finishing my master’s degree, I have a lot of good work coming up. A few exciting updates for the fall:

I’ve begun an exciting partnership with the social justice organization Disarm to keep all of our readers updated on peace, justice, and economic development in México. Disarm has generously supported my current trip, during which I’m investigating the status of economic opportunity in a small part of central México. Huge thanks go out to the Disarm team for making this possible! During and after my travels, you can read updates and see photos on the From the Field section of Continue reading

México ahora: “A widespread youth movement similar to what happened in the Arab countries.”


Angela Meléndez shared this video on Twitter. Professor John M. Ackerman from Universida Autonoma de México speaks about the protests in reaction to México’s July 1 elections:

Peña Nieto protesters take over Mexico City

Worth taking a look. Angela correctly noted that “this is how BBC and CNN should have reported.”

Do you think we, as a global community, should respond to the protestor’s sign “United Nations Help Us!” If so, how?

Visionistas: Building Peaceful Economies in the Americas

ojuelos de jalisco mexico

Visionistas is dedicated to building peaceful economies in the Americas by identifying what economic structures and business models build peace and working to implement them.

Visionistas is the organization I’m working to build, and the above is our mission statement. As I embark on the first Visionistas research project this summer and fall – my masters thesis, on economic opportunity in México – I want to introduce the organization this work will serve to create.

Continue reading

More Than Money: Support for my thesis project in México


Yesterday was a big day for me. I officially launched my fundraising campaign for my thesis project in México:

And within 24 hours, before I even had a chance to post it here, I raised nearly half of what I need to fund this project! Contributions large and small have come in from my closest family members, old friends I haven’t seen in years, and people I’ve never even met. I’m shocked, flattered, excited, and inspired.

Continue reading

Hello world!


Welcome to Theory of Change.

To begin – credit where credit is due.

First, WordPress offers us new users quite a fitting title with their automatically-generated first post. When you first launch a WordPress blog, a generic post, titled ‘Hello world!’ with instructions in the body for changing the title and content, posts itself to your blog. I decided to keep it. That’s pretty much what I want to say!

Second, I must credit the title of this blog – it is not original – to the field of Peacebuilding and Mr. John Paul Lederach. (I don’t know that Lederach was the first to use the phrase, but his work is where I first became familiar with it.)

A Theory of Change, simply, is a statement or explanation of why we believe a particular action will bring about the desired result. ToC’s, as a practical tool, are derived from slightly complex frameworks and form the foundations of change related programming – peacebuilding initiatives, development projects, and the like.

This blog is certainly intended to be change related, and seeks to explore these Theories of Change by asking how and why we can expect the changes we seek to be in the world – be they social, political, economic, environmental, or other. (Again, credit where its due: Ghandi. But you knew that.)

About your author, and why I’m writing: At the time of this first post, I’m a Global Affairs and Peace Economics graduate student pursuing the simple task of change for the better. What’s Peace Economics, you ask? You’ll have to keep reading to find out, but I think it really represents a new paradigm in our understanding of global relationships. Both of these fields recognize that there’s more to global affairs than inter-national relations and there’s more to economics than personal enrichment. That’s the philosophy I’m trying to advance. I’ve started this blog as a workshop for my theories of economic activism – a place to test drive my ideas about how our economic choices make the world we live in, and to hear feedback on how much you agree, or don’t.

I’m going for a few categories of change – building safer neighborhoods and better schools, tackling global poverty, ending violent conflict, making the world’s economic and political systems work for the people of the world (not just the people of the West) – and I’m surely not the only one out here working on these things. But we’ve been trying many different strategies for many, many generations, and we still have half the global population living on less than $2 per day. Why isn’t global development aid working? Or is it? Why do we have less wars between states, but more wars inside states, and just as many lives lost? And what ever will we do about pollution, energy, climate change, and the daily impacts these have on our lives whether we know it or not? We all want change in all of these areas, but we need to talk about how we’re going to make it. No doubt there are many paths, and we need every single one, but there’s one level where I think we aren’t doing nearly enough. Too often, we aren’t even talking about it. That level is the simplest one, and the largest – it’s 7 billion people big. It’s the level of our very own lives – our day to day choices, from the things we buy (or don’t buy) to how we talk about our political and economic systems. Our conception of the world we live in, and our choices within that self-made paradigm, add up to something, and it is something we can change. It might feel hopeless, like our vote and our one little bit of impact doesn’t matter, but I just don’t believe that. My Theory of Change is simple: that we create the world we live in, and that each of us can make simple choices (even choices not to change a thing!) that result in the creation of the world we want. I mean the world we live in and experience every day and the world we only see on TV or read about in the newspaper. Its all connected, and we’re creating it right now. By reading this blog, and by passing it on, you’re helping to create a world where we recognize and talk about our individual power. That’s the first step. Thanks for taking it with me. And if you aren’t convinced we can all make some change, keep reading – I’ll try to change your mind.