A Book Talk by Dr. Tamra Pearson d'Estree
By Emily Krizmanich
With her new book published in late 2019, Dr. Tamra Pearson d'Estree hosted an event to discuss the different dichotomies of peacebuilding operations around the world. The book, New Directions in Peacebuilding Evaluation, is a compilation of theories, thoughts, and ideas regarding the different challenges faced by practitioners in the field of conflict resolution, especially those working abroad. Her talk highlighted key challenges, often contradictory in nature, and how they can be overcome with the right tools and mindsets. The idea and practice of evaluation is becoming more prominent and important in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, development, and security today. The practice of evaluation will continue to be a critical component of domestic and international relations now and into the future.
After her presentation ended, the audience was eager to join in on discussion questions and sharing ideas with each other. Students and audience members were intrigued by the applicability of Dr. Pearson d'Estree's book in other fields in addition to conflict resolution. By applying tools discussed within the book to development, security, and other fields, Dr. Pearson d'Estree highlighted the importance of identifying local context and capacities by engaging local communities. Audience members contributed to this discussion, sharing their own experiences within the spheres of development and conflict resolution, many of whom had studied or worked abroad and with non-governmental organizations. Even after the conclusion of the talk and discussion, people remained at the event to discuss their thoughts, perspectives, and exchange stories related to Dr. Pearson d'Estree's book. With most students focused on pursuing opportunities such as summer internships and future careers, more than one of the audience members commented on the relevance of peacebuilding operations within the current international climate. A first year Conflict Resolution M.A. student, Caitlin Sheridan, noted that "I found this event to be interesting and an important topic for the fields of conflict resolution and evaluation."
The event was a success, and the high levels of participation encouraged people think critically about the field in general. A few audience members noted that the editor and contributor of New Directions in Peacebuilding Evaluation: Dr. Tamra Pearson d'Estree is a Henry R. Luce Professor of Conflict Resolution and the co-director of the Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver. Her work focuses on intergroup relations, conflict dynamics, and group identity. The book was published in November of 2019 and available on Amazon.