The DPCR Alumni Association held its second Alumni Talks on 28 April, this year with the theme “Democracy from Below or Above? Prospects and Challenges for Peace”. The two main speakers were Professor Kristine Höglund and Professor Isak Svensson, who both took up the positions as Professors at the Department last year. Isak Svensson's research focuses on international mediation in civil wars, religious aspects of conflict resolution processes, and dynamics of strategic nonviolent conflicts. Kristine Höglund's areas of expertise are peace processes and peacebuilding, electoral violence, and transitional justice. The talk was moderated by Professor Peter Wallensteen. An informal reception was held afterwards.
The project, directed by Håvard Hegre and involving Hanne Fjelde, Lisa Hultman, Desiree Nilsson, as well as an international team of researchers, will develop, test, and iteratively improve a pilot Violence Early-Warning System (ViEWS) that is rigorous, data-based, and publicly available to researchers and the international community. The ultimate goal is to build an early-warning system of sufficient quality and transparency to enable the international community to effectively assist conflict-affected populations.
Developing ViEWS is challenging, but feasible. The conflict research community has laid the ground for such a system through careful isolation of theoretically manageable sub-components of complex phenomena, and concomitant systematic, disaggregated data collection efforts. A major innovation in the project is to integrate these isolated research programs into a theoretically and methodologically consistent forecasting system, guided by continuous out-of-sample evaluation. This integration effort will not only allow an early-warning system of unprecedented scope and performance, but also build theoretically informative bridges between numerous compartmentalized conflict research programs.
ViEWS will provide early warnings for four forms of political violence: armed conflict involving states and rebel groups, armed conflict between non-state actors, violence against civilians, and forced population displacement, and apply these to specific actors, sub-national geographical units, and countries. The system will leverage the data resources of the UCDP and other data sources developed by the Department and the project’s international partners.
For information on Hegre's earlier work on conflict forecasting, see Håvard Hegre´s blog.
The Department congratulates Professor Peter Wallensteen, who received the ISA Peace Studies Section’s “Distinguished Scholar Award”. The award ceremony was held on 16 March, at the Annual ISA Conference, this year in Atlanta, USA. The Chair of the ISA Peace Section, Landon Hancock, Associate Professor, Center for Applied Conflict Management, Department of Political Science, Kent State University, led the event. He commented on Wallensteen’s award by stating “In giving you this award we would like to pay tribute to your many years of work in the field of peace and conflict studies and to your many contributions to theory, research and practice.” He also said that Peace Studies is now the third largest among ISA’s many sections, with 875 members.
The other laureates were Galia Golan, Professor Emerita from Hebrew University now at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and Professor Nils Petter Gleditsch from Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and former editor of Journal of Peace Research. The three participated in a two-hour long conversation with the audience on peace research and its contemporary challenges.
Isak Svensson, professor at the department, and Ron E Hessner, have recently published the four-volume set International Relations and Religion (2016, SAGE Library of Interantional Relations), consisting of: Vol I: Religion and International Relations, Vol II: Religion and War, Vol III: Religion and Peace, and Vol IV: Religion, IR and Methodologies.
The study of religion and international relations has been gathering pace over the past few decades, and has intensified since the start of the new millennium, when the discipline experienced a sudden surge of interest attributable to world events, starting with the Iranian Revolution and culminating with U.S. incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq.
This four-volume set organizes and contextualizes this burgeoning literature and its contribution to the study of international theory, focusing in particular on its influence in the subfield of war and peace studies.
The four volumes are arranged thematically, including papers which offer a range of answers to key questions such as:
For more information, see also the new project Resolving Jihadist Conflict?
For the fifth season, the Regina Theatre has pursued discussions on the topics of peace and justice under the heading of 'Philosophy Tea'. Professor Peter Wallensteen has been involved from the Department. The discussions in February 2016 has focused on issues related to Africa. It coincides with the Black History Month in the US. The session on February 22 dealt with William Wilberforce and the abolition of slave trade and slavery. Wallensteen discussed with foreign lecturer Daniel Ogden (to the left in the picture).
On 20 February Colin Walch successfully defended his thesis Conflict in the Eye of the Storm - Micro-dynamics of Natural Disasters, Cooperation and Armed Conflict. Faculty opponent at the defense was Professor Richard Matthew, University of California Irvine. Professor Kristine Höglund chaired the disputation.
The Department is welcoming Professor Kevin Clements, director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Otago University, New Zealand, as part of the institutional collaboration between University of Otago and Uppsala University, and the East Asian Peace program.
In order to create more workspace for students and employees within Campus Gamla Torget, a large construction/relocation project has been ongoing for several years. Within one year, an estimated 950 study places will be available within Campus Gamla Torget.
As the number of students and employees has increased over the years, the goal is to create more study places, group rooms and lounge areas for students. New teaching facilities are being built in “Badhuset”, including a new lecture hall. In order to create more space, the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library has moved to Slottsgränd 3, near Carolina Rediviva.
The ongoing construction work has resulted in a temporary shortage of teaching facilities and study places. The ongoing renovation of the University Main Building has also contributed to this. We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing. However, the work is progressing and already in April Campus Gamla Torget will gain access to two floors in “gamla Skrapan” at Trädgårdsgatan 7E. In addition, starting autumn 2016, the whole building will be available for teachers and students. When the renovations are completed, which is expected to be during early 2017, the number of study places and other facilities will have doubled.
Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience these renovations are causing, but we appreciate the students’ patience, and look forward to new teaching facilities and study places that will be available at Campus Gamla Torget in the beginning of 2017.
The students of the Master program joined the Peace Walk led by Professor Peter Wallensteen on January 27, 2016. It is a regular feature of the Master program since 2010, but Wallensteen says he has done this walk for the past ten years. "It started as a particular element in our international courses that were sponsored by Sida" he says. "It was appreciated, as a way of getting out of the class-room setting". He goes on to say: "It also demonstrates that Uppsala is a city in the world. World events affect us and visiting the peace memorials is one way to show this". The Peace Walk stops at the statue of Nathan Söderblom (see picture), the bust of Folke Bernadotte, the grave of Dag Hammarskjöld and Liberation, the monument to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Nobel peace prize is one thread in Wallensteen's presentation.
One of the most pressing challenges on the contemporary agenda for peace and security is armed conflicts involving militant groups with self-proclaimed Islamist aspirations, such as IS (Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, we know surprisingly little about the conditions under which jihadist conflicts, partly or completely, may be resolved through peaceful means. In particular, there is a gap in peace and conflict research concerning if, how, and to what extent, our existing theories on conflict resolution are applicable to solve jihadist conflicts. This project sets out to fill this lacuna. The purpose is to explore the potential, as well as the limitations, for conflict resolution in these contexts by examining the research question: under what conditions are jihadist conflicts likely to be resolved?
In order to address this pertinent and highly complex research problem this project brings together peace and conflict scholars with scholars of religious studies in general and Islam in particular, and we expect to see important synergy effects by doing so. Drawing on this multidisciplinary expertise, the project seeks to develop a theoretical framework that focuses on 1) who the actors are, 2) the issues at stake, and 3) and the behavior of these actors. The project combines quantitative and qualitative research methods and analyzes and compares jihadist conflicts to other types of conflicts, and explores variations within jihadist conflicts. Projectleader is Professor Isak Svensson (isak.svenssonATTpcr.uu.se).