The SSRC Academic Network on Peace, Security, and the United Nations, an initiative of the Council’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) and its Understanding Violent Conflict Program (UVC), was established in 2019 out of a request from the United Nations Secretariat to provide UN entities and departments charged with responsibility for peace and security with better, more systematic access to new and emerging research in the academy. The Academic Network also aims to facilitate collaborative engagements between the UN and various academic institutions, research networks, and professional associations working on conflict-management relevant research.
Cultural Heritage, Violent Conflict, and Atrocity Crimes
On 22 February 2023, the Cultural Heritage, Violent Conflict, and Atrocity Crimes workshop was held at the Penn Club, the workshop brought together scholars and UN colleagues to develop a shared understanding of the key debates in the academic literature about the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in violent conflicts, situations at risk of atrocity crimes, and their aftermaths; understand the evidence of and intersections between heritage destruction and the risk of, as well as the commission of, atrocity crimes; and explore the policy implications for the United Nations, and how the UN system can better prepare and respond.
The Field of Disinformation, Democratic Processes, and Conflict Prevention
On 30 January 2020, the SSRC convened the second research workshop of its Academic Network on Peace, Security, and the United Nations in New York. This workshop, on Disinformation, Democratic Processes, and Conflict Prevention, examined the frameworks, findings, and debates in emerging scholarship on information disorder and the linkages between disinformation, elections, hate speech, and identity-based violence. Participants drew on cases in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The workshop also explored the ways in which disinformation affects the UN conflict prevention agenda, and how the UN system can better identify, track, and respond to the negative impacts of disinformation in countries and regions where the UN is engaged.
This workshop was a multi-program collaboration led by the SSRC’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum. It drew on the Council’s new MediaWell program, a new disinformation research mapping web platform, and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program.
CPPF commissioned Professor Sahana Udupa of Ludwig Maximilians-Universitat (LMU) Munich to draft a literature review on the intersection of hateful speech, information disorder, and conflict. The review was distributed to workshop participants, together with several MediaWell research reviews. A summary version of this review is being prepared and will be published separately by MediaWell.
The Field of Climate and Security: A Scan of the Literature
The first meeting of the Academic Network was held on 7-8 March 2019 and examined the frameworks and methodologies used by academics to study the nexus between climate change and risks to sustaining peace, as well as the ways in which climate factors might affect the UN prevention agenda. The SSRC commissioned Joshua Busby, Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, to write a literature review on the intersection of climate change and conflict.