Six Ph.D. students in peace studies, along with John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding, have authored Somalia: Creating Space for Fresh Approaches to Peacebuilding (66 page pdf). The report, a collection of articles proposing fresh approaches to the country’s decades-long civil war, has been published by the Life and Peace Institute in Sweden in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Policymakers inside and outside of Somalia often make decisions based primarily on global and regional security concerns while overlooking local complexities and the potential for conflict transformation, Lederach said. The new publication presents alternative perspectives that could encourage the design of an inclusive peace process in Somalia.
In March, faculty, staff, and a representative Ph.D. student will present the report and its findings at educational forums in Washington, D.C., and New York to officials at the U.S. Department of State, congressional offices, think tanks, and the United Nations.
The writing of the articles emerged as part of Lederach’s recent class, “Strategic Peacebuilding: A Practice Relevant Doctoral Seminar,” which linked the Kroc Institute every other week via Skype with the Life and Peace Institute office in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the report’s introductory article, “Addressing Terrorism: A Theory of Change Approach,” Lederach proposes a counter-terrorism approach that goes beyond the policies of isolation and outlines the benefits of engagement with blacklisted groups in Somalia.
Other articles in the report include:
“Al-Shabaab, part of the solution to the problems faced by Somalia?” by Ryne Clos, Ph.D. student in history and peace studies
“Civilian support and the foundations of al-Shabaab expansion,” by Douglas Ansel, Ph.D. student in political science and peace studies
“Rethinking Somalia national identity: Nationalism, state formation and peacebuilding in Somalia,” by Ashley Lyn Greene, Ph.D. student in history and peace studies
“US Engagement in Somalia: frames, missed opportunities and alternative options,” by Laura Weis, Ph.D. student in history and peace studies
“Impact of international media in Somalia,” by Jessica Brandwein, Ph.D. student in political science and peace studies
“Criminalising peace or containing violence? The impact of the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case Holder vs Humanitarian Law Project on peacebuilding in the Somali context,” by Shinkyu Lee, Ph.D. student in political science and peace studies
The Life and Peace Institute is an international and ecumenical center that supports and promotes nonviolent approaches to conflict transformation through a combination of research and action.
The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is a leading center for research and teaching on violent conflict and peace. The Kroc Institute offers doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate programs in peace studies.