Seminar Series

Academic Year 2014-2015 | Academic Year 2013-2014| Previous Years

Each year, the WPF hosts a number of closed-door research seminars that bring together leading experts from around the world to share their research and engage in focused discussion with a small group of colleagues. The WPF seminar structure is intentionally different from academic conferences. Whereas most conferences are designed to communicate established research through presentation and some questions and answers, we aim to enable extended conversations amongst experts with the goal of generating new avenues of insight and query. We therefore structure the seminars over two days, invite a small number of expert participants, and allow for shorter formal presentations and longer periods of discussion. Additionally, presentations and proceedings of WPF seminars adhere to the Chatham House rule of non-attribution.

However, to help bring the core discussions, debates and themes to a wider audience, we encourage all participants to consider allowing us to publish their presentation memos or seminar reflections on our blog, Reinventing Peace. Additionally, beginning in 2012, we published seminar briefings. These resources can be accessed below organized by the topic of each seminar, on our blog [insert link to blog], and in our collection of seminar briefings [insert link to seminar briefings].

One seminar a year is dedicated to a student competition.

 

Academic Year 2014 - 2015

17 October, 2014: "Researching Sudan Peace Processes"

This seminar arose from the World Peace Foundation project of creating the Sudan Peace Archive, which collected documents relating to the peace processes in Sudan and South Sudan. The main objective of the seminar was to introduce the archive to scholars working on Sudan and South Sudan and on African peace processes. A second objective was to examine the challenges of researching Sudan, South Sudan, with particular reference to their peace processes, and to extend the analysis to research into African peace processes more generally.

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Academic Year 2013 - 2014

12 – 13 June, 2014: “The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption

This seminar addressed the inadequacies of existing models for peace-making, state-building and stabilization, which assume that “fragile states” can move, under international tutelage and sponsorship, towards capable and legitimate states, are wrong. Drawing on cases of Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Egypt, Tunisia and Afghanistan, it suggested a new model of the political marketplace.

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September 27 - 28, 2013: Patterns of Violence in Somalia

This seminar approached the crisis in Somalia from a starting point concerned with political economy and historic patterns of violence, the societal impacts and accounts of violence, and comparative analysis of changing frameworks of governance and conflict associated with the end of the Cold War and the growth of global governance. 

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Previous Years

May 14 - 15, 2013: How Mass Atrocities End: Iraq

This seminar focused on Iraq's experiences of mass violence, from diverse perspectives - historical, political, sociological, demographic, statistical and environmental. Placing violence within the country's longer modern history, it explored the level, patterns, origins and endings of episodes of mass violence, especially against civilians under Saddam Hussein and into the U.S. occupation.

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February 28 & March 1, 2013: Advocacy In Conflict

Western organizations, governmental and non-governmental, have played important roles in advocating for international policies towards conflict-affected countries, but their role and impact often goes under-examined. Examining case studies of Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gaza and Uganda, this seminar explored how advocacy campaigns portray complex situations, their impact on conflict and foreign policy, and the ethical questions of their legitimacy and accountability. It questioned the goals, methods and consequences of Western advocacy and possibilities for its evaluation and improvement.This seminar was organized by the winners of WPF’s second annual student seminar competition<link to Student opportunities>, Jennifer Ambrose, Casey Hogle, Trisha Taneja, Keren Yohannes.

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October 29 & 30, 2012: New Wars, New Peace

This seminar was the second in a series analyzing Mary Kaldor’s New and Old Wars (first edition, 1999), which crystallized thinking about the changing nature of war in the post-Cold War era, in particular focusing on the proliferation of non-state actors and the systematic targeting of civilians, the importance of identity politics, and the inter-relationship between private and often criminal interests and political conflict. As this book enters its third edition, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on how scholarship on “new wars” has evolved, what new peace-building practices have emerged, and, in light of these changes, what challenges academics and policymakers face today. This seminar focused on a security studies approach to analyzing new wars.

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November 16 & 17, 2012: Libya in the African Context

This seminar aimed to document, analyze and reflect upon the neglected African dimensions of the Libya conflict of 2011. Discussions approached Libya’s policies towards sub-Saharan Africa,  the African Union’s peace initiative during 2011 and the reasons why it did not succeed, on the roles of Libya’s African neighbors during the conflict (notably Sudan and Chad), and the impact of the conflict on those neighbors, including especially Mali.

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November 17 & 18, 2011: How Mass Atrocities End

The existing conventional meta-narrative for genocide and mass atrocity against civilians is empirically and analytically strong on the origins and nature of such extreme violence, but takes a strictly normative turn when considering the endings of genocide or mass atrocity. The ‘ideal’ ending, which tends to preoccupy advocates and policymakers, consists of an international military intervention leading to a settlement that includes not only an end to genocide but also the establishment of peace and democracy along with an exercise in transitional justice that may include trials, assistance to the survivors, memorialization, compensation and reparation. What debates do exist generally focus on the legality and politics of international interventions to halt genocide and measures to bring perpetrators to justice. This series of research seminars and projects aims to explore the oft-neglected empirical study of how genocides and mass atrocities have actually terminated.

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January 12 & 13, 2012: New Wars, New Peace

Mary Kaldor’s New and Old Wars (first edition, 1999) crystallized thinking about the changing nature of war in the post-Cold War era, in particular focusing on the proliferation of non-state actors and the systematic targeting of civilians, the importance of identity politics, and the inter-relationship between private and often criminal interests  and political conflict. As this book enters its third edition, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on how scholarship on “new wars” has evolved, what new peace-building practices have emerged, and, in light of these changes, what challenges academics and policymakers face today.

Resources:

March 22 & 23, 2012: How Mass Atrocities End

The second seminar in the WPF series on ending mass atrocities expanded the cases to Indonesia and the former Soviet areas, looking at multiple locations and periods in which atrocities occurred. Examining continuities and differences between episodes, this seminar sought to expand our understanding of how historical and political legacies impact endings.

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April 20 & 21, 2012: Western & Non-Western Views on Conflict Resolution

This seminar was held association with The Fletcher School's International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program and under Prof. Nadim Rouhana's leadership.

 

May 7 & 8, 2012: Drug Trafficking and Organized International Crime: Re-framing the Debate

Drug-trafficking and transnational crime are identified consistently in international fora as a threat to international peace and security. Traditional policy responses have focused on the threat drugs and crime pose to the state, and subsequently, what law enforcement or punitive strategies should be adopted. This workshop explored how such an approach limits our understanding of these phenomena, their effects on citizen security, and thus possible solutions to the problem.

This seminar was organized by the winners of WPF's first annual student seminar competition, [insert link to student seminar competition] Mario Patiño, Jennifer Keene, Katharine Davis, Leah Greenberg, and Anne Wanlund.

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