Events

Seminars, discussions and more from PeaceRep consortium members.

Podcast

PeaceRep produces War, Peace & the In Between, a podcast charting journeys from violent conflict to lasting peace.

 

The series features conversations between researchers and practitioners from the University of Edinburgh and beyond. Listen now wherever you find your favourite podcasts, including Acast, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

Episode 7: Breathing Space: Understanding vaccination ceasefires in armed conflict

As Covid vaccines make their way around the world, vaccinating people living in conflict zones is a difficult task. Insufficient health infrastructure, transport issues, lack of access, and misinformation can make it difficult to conduct a comprehensive vaccination campaign in these areas. One way of dealing with these challenges is by calling a vaccination ceasefire – a humanitarian pause to facilitate the delivery of essential health services.

In this episode, Sanja Badanjak, Laura Wise, and Ian Russell discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in using vaccination ceasefires to deliver vaccines to conflict-affected populations, based on a new report: Breathing Space: Vaccination Ceasefires in Armed Conflict. Our research outlines how vaccination ceasefires have been used in the past, how they are negotiated and implemented, how they differ from other types of ceasefires, whether they have a lasting impact on wider levels of violent conflict, and the implications for peacebuilding.

Guest Bios

Dr Sanja Badanjak is a Chancellor’s Fellow in Global Challenges at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Law, and an affiliate of the Political Settlements Research Programme, where she has been working as data manager for PA-X Peace Agreements Database and Dataset. Her research interests include the applications of quantitative and text-as-data methods in the study of institutions, elections, and peace processes. She completed her PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and holds an MA degree in political science from the Central European University, and a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb.

Laura Wise is a Research Associate at the Political Settlements Research Programme, and a Co-Investigator of the programme’s Covid Collective Research Strand looking at PeaceTech, Tracking Data, and the UN Ceasefire Call. She is a co-author of the report “Breathing Space: Vaccination Ceasefires in the Context of Covid-19”, and the VaxxPaxx Vaccination Ceasefires Dataset. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Laura has been tracking responses to the UN Ceasefire Call as a co-creator of the “Ceasefires in a time of Covid-19” interactive tracker. Her research has also previously contributed to a UN Expert Group meeting on gender and humanitarian access in peace agreements. Laura holds a MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen’s University Belfast.

Ian Russell is a Research Assistant with the Political Settlements Research Programme and a Leverhulme Perfect Storm Doctoral Scholar based in the Centre for African Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is a co-author of the report “Breathing Space: Vaccination Ceasefires in the Context of Covid-19” and of the VaxxPaxx Vaccination Ceasefires Dataset. His doctoral research focusses on the role that public universities have played in processes of post-war recovery in Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.

Episode 6: Comparing Regional Responses to Covid-19

In this episode we continue the conversation started in Episode 3, in which we introduced the importance of regional responses to the pandemic. We compare the responses from regional organisations around the globe, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Organisation of American States (OAS), and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to demonstrate how each regional organisation has used its unique areas of expertise to support responses to the pandemic.

Our guests also outline the findings of a mapping exercise looking at the effects of Covid-19 around governance and accountability of responses in Southern Africa and the continent. We ask how these responses might change governance going forward, and how each organisation is collaborating with other organisations and actors in the international system.

Featuring special guests Dr Kathryn Nash and Hannah den Boer from the University of Edinburgh alongside Nicholas Maple from the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Guest Bios

Dr. Kathryn Nash is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the University of Edinburgh Law School. She received her PhD in Politics and International Studies from SOAS University of London, and her research interests include global governance, the role of regional organizations in responding to complex crises, and peace and security. Her book – African Peace: Regional Norms from the Organization of African Unity to the African Union – was recently published by Manchester University Press.

Hannah den Boer is a research consultant with expertise in development and peace and security. Since 2019 she has worked on multiple research projects at the Political Settlements Research Programme. She has recently assisted in research for Dr. Kathryn Nash on a project on responses by intergovernmental organisations to the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, as part of an interdisciplinary team at the University of Edinburgh, she is doing research on climate security and conflict for a project by UNEP.

Dr. Nicholas Maple is a postdoctoral researcher at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His current projects look at the role of the global refugee regime in urban displacement in southern Africa, and the impact of COVID-19 on migration governance in Africa. His PhD research investigated the reception afforded to refugees in southern Africa, with a focus on the refugee camp and urban space. He is also a tutor and module convenor on the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies at the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London.


Episode 5: Power-sharing and inclusion in peace processes

Power-sharing is one of the most commonly used mechanisms for peace, but also one of the most controversial. In this episode, Dr Kevin McNicholl and Dr Dawn Walsh give an introduction to power-sharing and how it can deliver stability, peace and good governance while simultaneously working for the inclusion and meaningful participation of a range of actors, and outline some key debates around power-sharing.

Guest Bios

Dr Kevin McNicholl, Post-Doctoral Researcher on the Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Dawn Walsh, Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin.

Episode 4

In this special data focus episode, we talk about the birthday paradox – a phenomenon stemming from the collision of human intuition and probability theory – and how a team of PeaceTech researchers encountered a real-world application of these ideas in a database of global peace agreements.

Imagine sitting in a large room, and watching people enter this room, one by one. How many do you think need to enter before the probability that at least two share a birthday hits 50%? With you already in the room, just 22 need to enter for this to take place. Now, imagine a set of documents that come from a variety of contexts and serve a variety of purposes. How many documents do you need to have before you start seeing documents of the exact same length? As our PA-X Peace Agreements Database research team found out, not that many.  

The PA-X Database is part of the PeaceTech initiative at the University of Edinburgh, which involves the application of current and emergent technologies to complex and challenging peacebuilding contexts.

Guest Bios

Dr Sanja Badanjak is Chancellors Fellow in Global Challenges at Edinburgh Law School and associate of the Political Settlements Research Programme.

John Allison is a Senior Analyst Developer with the University of Edinburgh Information Services. 

Episode 3

Regional organisations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in very different ways – some strengthening international cooperation, others highlighting existing tensions. We ask why regional organisations matter in responding to a global crisis, and how regional responses to Covid-19 might affect future international relationships.

Throughout the pandemic, states and major international organisations have been the most visible and active in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. States have shored up their healthcare systems, closed borders and restricted internal movement, provided economic support, and mandated mitigation measures such as wearing masks.

But by nature, a pandemic transcends state boundaries. Responses to Covid-19 from regional intergovernmental organisations across Latin America, Africa, and Asia have varied. In some cases, cooperation mechanisms have been strengthened, but in others existing tensions have risen to the surface and impacted the ability to coordinate effectively. In this episode, we look at some of these regional measures and ask how the responses will affect future international relationships as we continue to navigate this crisis, and as we eventually move beyond it.

Guest Bios

Dr Kathryn Nash is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Political Settlements Research Programme.

Hannah den Boer is a Research Assistant with the Political Settlements Research Programme.

Episode 2

In this episode we examine how parties engaged in armed conflict have reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic, and whether attempts to reach a global ceasefire have been successful.

In March 2020, the UN Secretary General called for a global ceasefire, calling on warring parties to lay down their weapons in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. To monitor the outcomes of the ceasefire call, the Political Settlements Research Programme brought together a team of world-leading organisations to create the Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19 Ceasefires Tracker, a publicly available digital tracking tool to examine the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on peace processes and armed conflict across the world. The tool monitors the progress of ceasefires alongside live data on infection rates in country. The data can be viewed in a timeline format, a search browse format, and a map format which also includes live data on infection rates in country.

In this episode, key members of the tracker development team tell us what they have found after months of monitoring global ceasefires, and whether conflict has really paused for the pandemic.

The Covid-19 Ceasefire Tracker is a publicly available digital tracking tool to examine the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on peace processes and armed conflict across the world. The tool monitors the progress of ceasefires alongside live data on infection rates in country. The data can be viewed in a timeline format, a search browse format, and a map format which also includes live data on infection rates in country.

Guest Bios

Laura Wise is a Research Associate with the Political Settlements Research Programme.

Fiona Knäussel is a Graduate Fellow with the Political Settlements Research Programme.

Therese Lynch is Project Assistant with mediatEUr.

Episode 1: Digital tools for building inclusive peace

We open the series with an introduction to the growing field of PeaceTech, and examine how and why peace builders are teaming up with data scientists to develop cutting-edge technology for inclusive peace. We explore what it takes to make a successful PeaceTech collaboration, and take a glimpse into two PeaceTech initiatives in action: a digital tracking tool monitoring global ceasefires during the Covid-19 pandemic, and a mobile app that enables women’s participation in peace processes.

The Covid-19 Ceasefire Tracker is a publicly available digital tracking tool to examine the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on peace processes and armed conflict across the world.

PeaceFem is a mobile phone app that illustrates women’s inclusion in peace processes around the world. PeaceFem provides information about strategies women’s rights advocates have used to influence peace agreements, information about the enabling and constraining factors that shaped the space for influence, and the gender provisions in the peace agreements that resulted and information as to how well they were implemented.

Guest Bios

Dr Devanjan Bhattacharya is a Train@Ed Postdoctoral Fellow with the Political Settlements Research Programme, focussing on collaborative map visualisations for participation and mediation in peace processes.

Fiona Knäussel is a Graduate Fellow with the Political Settlements Research Programme, working on PeaceTech initiatives.

Producers

War, Peace & the In Between is produced by Allyson Doby from PeaceRep at the University of Edinburgh and Elisabeth Barlow from the University of Edinburgh Law School. With thanks to our funder, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.