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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" was a two-year research, dialogue, and policy project (2015-2017) 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 explored 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 featured new empirical research on Nepal and South Africa – two commonly cited peacebuilding successes – together with regional research on South and Southeast Asia (case studies on Myanmar and Thailand's "Deep South," East and Southern Africa (with case studies on Kenya and Rwanda), and Latin America (with case studies on Colombia and El Salvador) – compared to generate cross-national findings.

The project pursued three principal objectives and goals:

• First, it sought to advance knowledge on rights-based peacebuilding in conflict-affected countries in light of the interactions between internationally validated human rights frameworks and 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).

• Following, the project identified 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 that have organized around human rights norms.

• Third, from this analysis of international-local interactions, the project identified innovations in peacebuilding practice through exploration of those rights-based approaches that may hold promise for addressing rights-based claims of social movements.

The project's integrated final report is available here. The various research products of the project – case studies and thematic papers – are currently under review for publication in major scholarly journals.


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: