Tim Donais: "Re-Thinking Local Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding"

Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:45 AM EDT (UTC–04:00)

This lecture is held in observance on UN Peacekeeping Day (May 29).

This is a free public event. Free Parking.

Lecture Summary:
Local ownership is increasingly recognized as a key element in the long-term sustainability of post-conflict peacebuilding.   In practice, however, local ownership has been understood narrowly as a process through which domestic elites in post-conflict states are expected to implement key elements of what has come to be known as the ‘liberal peace’.   Recent experience in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and elsewhere suggest that this conception of local ownership rests on questionable assumptions about the willingness of domestic actors to take ownership over external models of reform.   Drawing on examples from a range of recent peacebuilding processes, I re-conceptualise local ownership in terms of the ways in which agency is exercised by a diverse range of local actors throughout the post-conflict period, in ways that can both support and undermine the broader peacebuilding process.   Viewing ownership as part as an ongoing struggle for influence, authority and legitimacy across the international-local divide not only better captures the reality of contemporary peacebuilding processes, it also suggests the need for less paternalistic forms of outside engagement with post-conflict societies.

Speaker Bio

Timothy Donais is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Windsor, with a specialization in peace and conflict studies. His current research focuses on post-conflict peacebuilding, with a particular emphasis on questions of ‘local ownership’ in peacebuilding processes. In addition, he has written extensively about the peacebuilding process in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and maintains an active research interest in the broader Balkan region. His work has appeared in journals such as Conflict, Security and Development, International Journal, and Civil Wars, and he is the author of The Political Economy of Peacebuilding in Post-Dayton Bosnia, published by Routledge in 2005.