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Conflict, Conflict Management and Democracy

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This Signature Project is comprised of the following two sections:

1. Globalization and African Peace and Security

This section will explore the connections between the worldwide process of globalization and African peace and security. It takes and interdisciplinary and cross-cultural focus, but is primarily concerned with how domestic forces create problems of regional and international security, and now international forces contribute to domestic insecurity. The primary concern here is with politics and/or political economy. We ask such questions as: What international factors contribute to the transnationalization of ethnic conflict? How can potential incidents of transnationalized ethnic conflict be prevented or contained? Does political competition according to the rules of democratic pluralism contribute to or inhibit severe ethnic conflict in deeply divided societies? What role is there for outside actors in addressing African peace and security issues? Specifically, is there a role for the US in peace making and peace building in Africa and in other parts of the world with similar problems?

A special effort is made to compare African peace and security issues based on ethnic conflict with similar incidents in other parts of the world (e.g. the Balkans, Eurasia and Indonesia). A small workshop was held on the UCLA campus in the spring of 2002, entitled, Globalization and Human Security in Africa. The workshop proceedings are available by clicking on this link.

This section is coordinated by Professor Edmond Keller.

2. Civil Society, Conflict and Peace Building in Africa

Over the past few years, there has been growing attention to the diverse players engaged in conflict reduction and peace building in Africa. The relationship between international NGOs, civil society networks and local civil society is complex in ways that require attention and clarification of roles. There are now opportunities to learn about trans-African initiatives and how they are helping and have helped in reducing conflict and violence.

Relatively little attention has been given in the past to how African civil society groups and networks can become more active and skillful in efforts to resolve their ongoing disputes. Ultimately, the move from war to peace is the responsibility of the people and governments of war-torn countries, and African civil society organizations can play a key role in promoting these efforts.

The particular contribution of this initiative will be both to synthesize existing efforts, and to outline new directions of research on civil society theory and civil society practice. It will help situate African efforts in the global framework of other experiences with conflict reduction and provide a broader lens for assessing good practices and lessons.

This section is coordinated by Professor Stephen Commins.
 

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