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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

October 2012 Symposium

Conferences & Events


The Sié Center hosts workshops throughout the year that complement its research programs. These workshops bring in subject-matter experts from around the world to collaborate and exchange ideas on a specific topic. 

2015 Workshops

VailForging a Social Contract: States and Societies Building Peace in Fragile- and Conflict-affected Countries
Project Working Group Symposium
November 2015

Of all of the new Sustainable Development Goals, number 16 – envisioning more "peaceful and inclusive societies" – may be among the most challenging to achieve, or even to evaluate progress toward. Forging a Social Contract is two-year research and policy dialogue project examining the utility of a more broadly inclusive concept, that of the social contract, as a strategic approach to peacebuilding and statebuilding in conflict-affected countries. The workshop is supported by the Oslo Governance Centre, United Nations Development Program, The Social Sciences Foundation at the University of Denver, and the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program of the New School.

JoGSSJournal of Global Security Studies Special Issue Workshop: The Future of Global Security (Studies)
May 2015

The Sié Center hosted a workshop with authors of articles being considered for the special issue of the Journal of Global Security Studies, the newest journal of the International Studies Association.

Nonviolent Strategies conferenceNonviolent Strategies in Violent Settings
April 2015

With support from the Carnegie Corporation, the Sié Center hosted a workshop to further research on nonviolent strategies employed by non-state actors that affect conflict

Research WorkshopResearch in Conflict-Affected Countries and Contexts: Ethics, Risks, and Practicalities.  A Capacity Building Workshop for Josef Korbel School Faculty, Students and Staff
March 2, 2015

Workshop Agenda

Social scientists across a wide range of disciplines are engaged in research on conflict-affected countries and in other contexts, such as research on community-level and interpersonal violence.  This workshop was designed to explore more fully the ethics, risks, and practicalities of conducting research in such environments.  The workshop featured presentations by invited presenters, University of Denver faculty, and advanced graduate students with experience researching in conflict-affected countries and contexts.

MSI WorkshopTerms of Engagement: How to better engage in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives
January 15-16, 2015

Workshop Agenda
Conference Report

The Sié Center, in cooperation with the Daniels College of Business, hosted a two-day workshop to explore how civil society, business, and government can contribute to multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) aimed at improving business behavior related to human rights. The Sié-Daniels workshop convened academics and practitioners to explore the most current empirical and theoretical work on MSIs and the business and human rights field. It focused particularly on the different roles civil society and business organizations play.

2014 Workshops

Religion, Peacebuidling and Social Cohesion in Conflict-Affected Countries
A Symposium to Present Research Findings
October 20, 2014

This was the final event associated with a 2-year research project, sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation’s Initiative on Religion and International Affairs. This symposium featured the presentation of the principal findings of the seven-country research project on religion and ethnicity, social cohesion, and peacebuilding in seven conflict-affected countries (Guatemala, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka). Partners from the University of Bielefeld presented findings on the United Nations and Iraq. The purpose of the workshop was to review and validate the policy-relevant findings and recommendations emanating from the research.

Shaping the State through the Social Contract in Situations of Conflict and Fragility
January 15 – 17, 2014

The Religion and Social Cohesion in Conflict-affected Countries research project at the Sié Center, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, co-sponsors, presents key project findings, and engages in policy dialogue with expert development practitioners at a conference in Glen Cove, New York. The meeting titled, "Shaping the State through the Social Contract in Situations of Conflict and Fragility" brought together practitioners from across the UN system, as well as international NGOs, development partners, and civil society groups, experts from the global south, academia and policy research centers to: 1) clarify the relevance of the Social Contract as an approach to guide responses in fragile and conflict affected contexts; 2) agree on principles that can guide a Social Contract approach; 3) identify implications of the Social Contract approach for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, and; 4) define methodologies and indicators to measure progress and results in this area of work. The practitioners' meeting provided a unique opportunity for a community of development and peacebuilding actors to question assumptions on how the international community links peacebuilding and state-building processes in conflict-affected contexts.

2013 Workshops

Religion and Social Cohesion in Conflict-affected Societies Project: Authors' Workshop at the International Peace Institute
October 18, 2013

The Religion and Social Cohesion in Conflict-affected Societies research project at the Sié Center hosted a Case-Study Author and Specialist Review Symposium at the International Peace Institute in New York. The Religion and Social Cohesion project is a six-country analysis of how international development partners interact with religious communities and actors in fragile states in efforts to build social cohesion. As the field research phase of the project came to a close, the symposium brought together the case study authors, along with outside experts from the International Peace Institute and the UN Development Program, among others, to move toward integrating the research findings for the forthcoming book project and policy report.

The Role of Non Violent Strategies in Violent Contexts
October 10–12, 2013

"The Role of Non-Violent Strategies in Violent Contexts" was a two-day conference to be held at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies exploring how non-violent groups in violent environments affect security outcomes. Non-violent actors—particularly local civilians, NGOs, and transnational corporations—affect stability in conflict zones and the prospects for post-conflict development and governance. The conference analyzed the behavior of these actors as a group so as to better inform U.S. efforts to shape security environments, reduce asymmetric violence, and create conditions for long-term peace and stability.

Read the conference report.

 The New Power Politics: Networks, Governance, and Global Security
March 1-2, 2013

The workshop series "The New Power Politics: Networks, Governance, and Global Security" examined how various associations of state and non-state actors addressing security issues might be thought of as networks or governance systems. Participants were an international group of scholars focused on a wide range of contemporary security issues, and each participant was responsible for a paper addressing the interaction between networks, governance and power. The final papers will be published as a special issue of a journal or as an edited volume at a top-tier university press.

The "New Power Politics" workshop was held in two parts; the first meeting on this topic was held March 31, 2012 at the International Studies Association Annual Conference in San Diego, California. In March 2013 the second part of the workshop was held at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center at the University of Denver.

The "New Power Politics" workshops were led by Deborah Avant, Sié Chair and Director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center, and Oliver Westerwinter, lecturer at the European University Institute. Support was provided by the International Studies Association and the One Earth Future Foundation

2012 Workshops

Symposium on Religion and Social Cohesion in Conflict-Affected Countries
October 4-6, 2012

The Symposium convened the Steering Committee for a new research project of the at the Sié Center, "Religion and Social Cohesion in Conflict-Affected Countries." This research project explores the relationships and linkages between development assistance and religious actors and organizations in order to build a more rigorously derived knowledge base on how "informal" group participation in national dialogues, development policy-making, and project implementation affects social cohesion and peace and development outcomes.

With the global development agenda increasingly focused on aid effectiveness in conflict-affected, or "fragile," states, peacemakers and donors have learned that they must include in peace processes and indeed strengthen through development aid "informal institutions" in order to improve service delivery; in this pursuit, "social cohesion" is needed to more effectively strengthen the state as a long-term strategy to facilitating peace and fostering development. However, working with religious leaders and organizations has been problematic. Such leaders may legitimize illiberal views contrary to international human rights; strengthening faith-based service delivery may weaken the state; and the inclusion of externally identified religious leaders in dialogue does not automatically lead to more cohesive societies.

This project explores how development and peace practitioners manage the dilemmas that emerge in working with religious leaders and organizations and ascertains how development assistance policies and programs can more effectively involve them in the pursuit of development and conflict-mitigating social-cohesion outcomes in countries emerging from war. Under what conditions can engaging religious leaders and organizations in development and peacebuilding programming in conflict-affected countries foster "social cohesion" as a prerequisite to peace and development?

The project builds on a prior Luce Foundation-supported research, education, and policy program that produced in part the recently published volume Between Terror and Tolerance: Religion, Conflict, and Peacemaking (Georgetown University Press, 2011).

The project is led by co-principal investigators Fletcher Cox and Timothy D. Sisk of the Korbel School, with project administration led by Jennifer Wilson.

Transparency and Governance of Private Military and Security Services
May 30-June 1, 2012

The workshop "Transparency and Governance of Private Military and Security Services" was held May 30 - June 1, 2012 at the Sié Center. The workshop was held in cooperation with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and part of an ongoing series of workshops aimed at enhancing the information available about private military and security services and their regulation. In addition to unveiling a new web portal developed by the Sié Center—the Private Security Monitor—the workshop focused on recent developments in governance of the private security sector and the various roles that different participants in the governance process play. Many have recognized that the clients purchasing private security services—whether states, international organizations, corporations or non-governmental organizations—are often also attempting to "govern" the industry. The workshop explored this and other issues surrounding efforts to regulate private military and security companies.