Over the past decade, the expansion of multidimensional United Nations peacekeeping operations—particularly in Africa, where most UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding activity is concentrated—has stressed the ability of the international community to mobilize the necessary resources for effective responses to conflict. This represents a particular challenge for China, whose contributions to UN peace operations are growing faster than those of any other developing country. Efforts to reform or reorient UN peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding efforts have suffered from a lack of coordination among member states and between member states and the UN system.

This stream of work explores the evolution of China’s engagement with multilateral cooperation and the United Nations, with particular focus on debates within China surrounding multilateralism and global norms. In collaboration with external partners, the work aims to build platforms for Chinese and Western scholars together with those from conflict-affected regions in Africa to share ideas and experiences; it provides opportunities for collaborative research on multilateral peace and security mechanisms; and it further strengthens UN studies in China by developing new and constructive linkages between Chinese scholars and UN practitioners involved in addressing conflict.

Activities and support take the form of UN scholars-in-residence and seminars and workshops, and they have included collaborations with the American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker UN Office, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. Additional collaborations are under discussion.