On June 27, 2012, Queen Elizabeth II shook the hand of Martin McGuinness, a former Irish Republican Army commander, symbolically solidifying the long peace process that had sought to resolve the Troubles of Northern Ireland. This historic gesture illustrates that even the most ideologically heated and intractable conflicts can be resolved.

Presenting insights and recommendations gleaned from a thorough cross-comparison of eight case studies, this CIGI Junior Fellows policy brief analyzes how differing interests influence violent conflict. With a particular emphasis on the role of “ideational stakes” — intangible ideas and concepts such as social justice, personal identity and fear as central factors in these conflicts — the policy brief seeks to provide insight and recommendations that will help foster more effective peace processes.

Part of Series

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.
  • Isaac Caverhill-Godkewitsch is a student in the University of Waterloo M.A. program in global governance based at the BSIA, with a B.A. (Honours) in political science from the University of Calgary, where he was also a member of the Arts and Science Honours Academy Program. He specializes in issues concerning the environment and security, international institutions and political media.

  • Vanessa Humphries graduated with distinction in 2010 from the University of Ottawa with a B.Soc.Sc. in conflict studies and human rights. She recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University master’s program in international public policy based at the BSIA. Her research interests are in humanitarian affairs, peace building and global public policy development.

  • Sean Jellow has a B.A. in political science from the University of Manitoba and has recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University master’s program in international public policy based at the BSIA. He is moving on to an internship at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, and wishes to pursue a career studying global conflict and ssecurity policy.

  • Nyiri Karakas began to develop an interest in conflict studies while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario. She has recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University master’s program in international public policy based at the BSIA. Currently, Nyiri is developing her interest in the field of education. She is particularly interested in the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the capacity of education to serve as a cornerstone for development and as a tool to foster creativity.