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

Peacbuilding. Photo credit UK Aid/DFID


Innovations in Peacebuilding

"Innovations in Peacebuilding" is a two-year research, dialogue, and policy project that explores innovative ways in which international organizations, donors, governments, and local non-governmental organizations conduct activities aimed at conflict prevention and management, peacebuilding and reconciliation. The project explores this research question: How do norms affect mobilization dynamics in local settings in conflict-affected countries, and what are the implications for peacebuilding practice and effectiveness? The methodology includes new empirical research on Nepal and South Africa – two commonly cited peacebuilding successes – together with regional research on South and Southeast Asia, East and Southern Africa, and Latin America – compared to generate cross-national findings.

The project has four principal objectives and goals:

  • First, it seeks to advance knowledge on rights-based peacebuilding in conflict-affected countries. We aim to advance knowledge on the interactions between global human rights frameworks and patterns and effects of social mobilization at national and sub-national levels in the case-study countries (Nepal and South Africa) and in cross regional comparison (East and Southern Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and through secondary research in Latin America).
  • Second, the project will identify and examine the effects of new actors in peacebuilding. Specifically, the project will identify new stakeholders that have emerged in Nepal and South Africa, and regionally in each South and Southeast Asia, East Africa and the Americas, and that have organized around human rights norms, to assess the effects of such mobilization and advocacy, and in particular to examine the conflict-inducing and conflict-mitigating effects of such advocacy.
  • Third, it will strive to identify innovations in peacebuilding practice through exploration of those rights-based approaches that may surmount or minimize the international norms-local dynamics dilemmas identified above.
  • Finally, it focuses on capacity development of our "Global South" partner organizations to strengthen the institutional and operational capacity of our partner organizations through global project collaboration with Norwegian and U.S. partners and to strengthen national and regional networks among national, local and regional peacebuilding organizations.


The Project is funded by the Promoting New Actors and Innovative Approaches in the Field of Peacebuilding Public-Private Partnership for Peacebuilding (Px4) initiative of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Co-Principal Investigators:

  • Subindra Bogati, Founder and Chief Executive, Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative
  • Timothy D. Sisk,  Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Astri Suhrke, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute and Associate, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University
  • Hugo van der Merwe, Director of Research and Transitional Justice Programme Manager, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa

Project Advisory Group: 

  • Mr. Mariano Aguirre, NOREF, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center
  • Professor Mats Berdal, King's College London
  • Dr. Henk-Jan Brinkman, UN Peacebuilding Support Office
  • Professor Kristine Höglund, Uppsala University
  • Professor Caroline Hughes, University of Bradford
  • Dr. Sarah Lister, Director, Oslo Governance Center, UNDP
  • Professor Sigurn Skogly, Lancaster University Law School
  • Dr. Finn Stepputat, Danish Institute of International Studies
  • Dr. Gunnar Sørbø, Chr. Michelsen Institute
  • Dr. Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Representative of International IDEA to the United Nations

Secondary Case Study Authors: 

Research Associates:

Research Assistants:

  • Lauren Allognon, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Trishna Rana, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Caitlin Trent, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Research on transnational justice in Nepal