Melissa Labonte is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. She received her A.B. in International Relations from Syracuse University and her A.M. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University.
Her research and teaching interests include the United Nations system, humanitarian politics, peacebuilding, multilateral peace operations, conflict resolution, human rights, and West African politics. She is co-editor (with Kurt Mills) of Human Rights and Justice: Philosophical, Economic, and Social Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2018) and Accessing and Implementing Human Rights (London: Routledge, 2018); and is the author of Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms, Strategic Framing, and Intervention: Lessons for the Responsibility to Protect (London: Routledge, 2013). Her research has appeared in leading journals in international relations, including African Affairs; Disasters; Global Governance; the International Journal of Human Rights; International Studies Perspectives; and Third World Quarterly.
Dr. Labonte served as Interim Dean (Jan 2019-June 2020) and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives (Jan 2016-Dec 2018) in Fordham's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She also served as sub-Saharan Africa Advisor to Freedom House from 2013 to 2019, and as a member of the Advisory Committee responsible for publishing the official papers of UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. She is a past UN-NGO Liaison for the International Studies Association; Board Member and Vice Chair of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS); and Core Planning Committee member of the Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General. She has conducted research with the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly on issues including Security Council reform, the Global Financial Crisis, and the Responsibility to Protect; and has also carried out fieldwork analyzing the international community's peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone, as well as post-conflict transitions in West and East Africa.
Dr. Labonte was the recipient of the 2013 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Social Sciences, and the 2013 Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal’s Faculty Mentor Award in the Social Sciences.