The Strategies for Sustainable Peacebuilding: Implementation and Policy conference was held on Nov. 14-15, 2022 at Yale University.
A novel concept related to scholars, practitioners and peace accords took flight, thanks to the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Jackson School of Global Affairs at Yale University.
The partnering institutions created the Strategies for Sustainable Peacebuilding: Implementation and Policy conference, to foster enhanced teaching methods between scholars and practitioners.
Led by the Kroc Institute’s Josefina Echavarría Alvarez and Yale University's Ambassador (ret.) Bisa Williams and Catherine Panter-Brick, the two-day conference addressed design, monitoring and implementation of peace accords themed to such topics as languages of approximation, settlement design, engaged monitoring, and female leadership. Speakers reflected on their experiences in Mali, the Sahel region, Colombia,Guatemala, the Central African Republic and Northern Ireland.
For Echavarría, student participation was one of her key takeaways.
“The number of Yale students present showed a real hunger for scholar-practitioners,” she said. “Historically, in academia, it’s been one way or the other - you’re either an academic and you’re doing research on it, or you’re a practitioner.
“This conference was an opportunity to show that you can be both.”
The event kicked off with welcoming remarks from Jim Levinsohn, dean of the Jackson School of Global Affairs. The first day’s sessions featured a keynote from Alexander Thurston of University of Cincinnati on the dilemmas of making peace with or without extremists. Two panels followed centered on implementing, monitoring and observing peace agreements.
Day two’s keynote was delivered by Monica McWilliams of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition at Ulster University, followed by a panel event on integrating peace agreements into policy and fostering public participation and buy-in.
The conference attracted more than 60 attendees from Yale and featured 14 participants from across the globe, including Paige Alexander, key members of The Carter Center; the Kroc Institute’s Erin B. Corcoran, Jason Quinn, and visiting fellow, Roderick Brett; Victoria Holt, of Dartmouth College; Louisa Lombard, of Yale University; Enrica Picco, of the International Crisis Group; and Marlene Spoerri, of Independent Diplomat.
In addition to scholar-practitioner participation, five Yale students were tapped to report on the proceedings. A student from Notre Dame also covered the conference.
“I wanted to hear from voices outside of Notre Dame discussing peacebuilding and policy,” said Ph.D. student Patrick McQuestion. “As a prestigious institution, Yale attracted a big-name panel. I think the diversity of the panels showed a wide breadth of knowledge and approaches.”