Seminar Series

Academic Year 2016 - 2017 | 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.

2 - 3 March, 2017: Theorizing (Dis)Order: Governing in an Uncertain World

The seminar brought together a diverse group of scholars who study how unpredictability, disorder, and turbulence are produced, performed, invoked, and allocated as a means of shaping—or even constituting—strategies of governance. Scholars from anthropology, economics, and political science with expertise in regions including Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the Middle East discussed theoretical frameworks for understanding the relationship between (dis)order and governance. Scholars explored the question of disorder in a number of contexts, including in relation to the formal and informal security sector, financial markets, decentralization, governing borderlands, and elite pacts. The seminar identified different frameworks and avenues of inquiry into how various combinations of order and disorder constitute and shape governance strategies. The seminar topic was the winning student seminar proposal for the academic year 2016- 2017, led by Fletcher students Akua Agyan, Protiti Roy, Benjamin Spatz, Juan Taborda and Rebecca Tapscott.


Seminar Briefing note, "Theorizing (Dis)order"

Blog Contributions from:

Previous Years

17-19 February, 2016: Transforming Violent Masculinities

black and white image side view of man's head pressed against a grey wall with mirror image on left The winning student seminar proposal for the academic year 2015-2016, “Transforming Violent Masculinities", brought together a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to explore the links between violence and notions of masculinity.   Drawing on cases from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America the topic was explored from several different angles within the contexts of gangs, violent extremism, youth in armed conflict, and mass shootings.



Blog contributions from:


25 - 27 June, 2015: Corruption, Protest and Militancy

This seminar was jointly sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Justice and Security Research Programme, and the World Peace Foundation, was held 25 – 27 June , 2015 at St. George’s House, Windsor, UK. It brought together twenty specialists—academics and practitioners—all of whom had been concerned with issues of corruption, especially as it relates to conflict, popular protest and the emergence of militant political movements, for two days of discussion on a series of case studies and related cross-cutting issues. The seminar was an opportunity for a confidential and in-depth reflection on these issues, in the wake of Sarah Chayes’s seminal book Thieves of State, published earlier this year, and the ongoing work of the Justice and Security Research Programme into the contending logics of the ‘political marketplace’ and ‘moral populism’ in Africa.


4-6 March, 2015: Water and Security in the 21st Century 

Water drop imageThe March Water and Security seminar brought together a multi-disciplinary group of leading scholars and practitioners the field of trans-boundary water resources, with a particular focus on the dynamics of water conflict and cooperation. This seminar was organized by the 2014-2015 Student Seminar Competition winners on the topic of water and peace: Kathia Havens, Leonardo Orlando, Anna Schulz, Lisa Tessier and Andreas Wendl. 



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.


19-20 August, 2014: The Militarized Political Marketplace: Challenges to Security Sector Governance

Crew Chief pulls security from ramp of helicopter over Paktika Province, AfghanistanThis seminar brought together academics and practitioners working on the politics and policy of security sector governance (SSG) and reform (SSR). The use of the “governance” was intended to take the security sector conversation beyond “reform”, which has become a field principally focused on how western donors apply policy tools to countries that they identify as in a post-conflict transition. Instead, we shift our focus to the politics of the security sector.


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