SSRC Welcomes UN Peace Operations Veteran William O'Neill as New CPPF Director
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has appointed William G. O'Neill as director of its Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF). O'Neill, a lawyer who specializes in international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, was among the first to lead UN human rights field operations in Haiti, Rwanda and Kosovo. He replaces Teresa Whitfield, who is now a senior fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.
Founded in 2000 by Lakdhar Brahimi, former Special Representative to the Secretary General and Foreign Minister of Algeria, CPPF has brought social science expertise to difficult United Nations deliberations and operations for nearly a decade. It mobilizes experts from around the world and especially from affected regions to advise peacekeeping missions, country offices and UN agencies on a range of rapidly developing issues.
"CPPF reflects the SSRC's commitment to 'real time social science' that can make an immediate difference in the world," said SSRC President Craig Calhoun. "Bill O'Neill is a terrific new director, familiar with the field operations of a wide range of UN agencies, and with issues of peace, conflict resolution, and development in many regions of the world."
As one of the first leaders of UN human rights field operations in Haiti, Rwanda and Kosovo, O'Neill contributed significantly to the design of this now universally-recognized peacekeeping strategy, using his legal expertise to refine methods of post-conflict reform of the police, judiciary, prisons, and minority protection. Due to this wide-ranging experience in post-conflict situations, he has been called on by many UN agencies to investigate, analyze and make recommendations on the post-conflict reconstruction and human rights protection in countries such as Afghanistan, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Darfur and South Sudan, Nepal, and Timor-Leste. He has worked with UNICEF, UNDP and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on how best to integrate human rights into development assistance, and chaired the UN's Executive Committee on Peace and Security's Task Force on Developing Rule of Law Strategies in Peace Operations.
O'Neill said he was looking forward to leading a small but extremely innovative team. "CPPF, due to its skilled leadership and able staff, has established a reputation for excellence, reliability and innovative thinking—qualities that will be tested more than ever in the coming years as the causes and nature of conflict evolve," he said. "Climate change, access to food, growing urbanization, natural resource shortages are related to conflict—but few know exactly how. I look forward to working with the CPPF team to address this changing constellation of challenges. We are not alone, however, so I also look forward to working closely with UN colleagues, regional bodies and our sister organizations in the non-governmental community."
In addition to his years of field work, O'Neill has written extensively on peacekeeping and peacebuilding for clients such as the Brookings Institution, the International Peace Institute and the Ford Foundation. He has developed and taught courses on modern peacekeeping, human rights and the rule of law at a variety of institutions including UN- and government-sponsored training centers. "This teaching often involves collaboration with experts from the military and police, and also with humanitarian and development practitioners," O'Neill said. "The resulting mix of perspectives is both valuable and engaging."
About The Conflict Prevention And Peace Forum (CPPf)
The Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) was established in October 2000 to strengthen the knowledge base and analytical capacity of the United Nations system in the fields of conflict prevention and management, peacemaking and peacebuilding. It provides UN staff with a systematic channel to outside experts in order to deepen the national, regional, or thematic analysis on which the United Nations bases its work on conflict. Although small in size, CPPF engages in program activities across the globe. For more information, go to: http://cppf.ssrc.org/about.
About The Social Science Research Council (SSRC)
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) engages practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in all the social sciences and related professions, as well as in the humanities and natural sciences, on important public issues, with the goal of bringing necessary knowledge to public action. For more information, go to: http://www.ssrc.org.