On Monday, December 18th UVC Director, Tatiana Carayannis, gave a talk on the nature of public authority in the DRC and UN peace operations to a group of Chinese scholars, researchers, students, and faculty members at Peking University in Beijing (PKU). Hosted by Liu Haifang, Associate Professor and the Deputy Director of the Centre for African Studies at Peking University's School of International Studies, Carayannis' talk is part of the UVC's work to build and strengthen inter-disciplinary, research networks and establish international partnerships that provide mutual benefits while producing high-quality, evidence-based scholarship on conflict-affected areas. The UVC is geared to offer methods training workshops and fieldwork ethics modules to such China-Africa scholars and researchers working in insecure, conflict affected places in the near future.
UVC Director, Tatiana Carayannis, meets with Ms. Zhang Dan, Vice-President and Director-General of the United Nations Association China. Dr. Carayannis gifted Ms. Zhang Dan a book on the history of the UNA.
On 13-14 December, CPPF organized the third annual MENA RC Forum at the request of the DPA. The closed-door, off-the-record meeting brought together 16 Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators, members of various UN agencies (including UNDP, OHCHR, UNHCR, and the Executive Office of the Secretary-General), experts from academia, and key stakeholders from other parts of the region to examine the challenges facing the Middle East and North Africa. Participants took stock of issues such as national dynamics and the challenges they pose to peace and security, the geopolitics of non-regional actors, and trends in socio-economics and human rights that run through the region. The meeting concluded with recommendations for the system’s work in the region.
In early December, CPPF organized a closed-door, off-the-record expert meeting to examine the status of women in Iraq; examined the challenges and opportunities to advance the meaningful participation of women in all peacebuilding efforts in post-ISIL Iraq; and assessed the legal, economic, and cultural dimensions that perpetuate discrimination against women and girls in Iraq. Participants helped formulate policy-oriented and actionable recommendations for the UN system at the close of the one-day meeting.
CPPF organized a closed-door, off-the-record expert meeting on Haiti in New York at the request of DPKO. The meeting examined the role of the new mission in Haiti, MINUJUSTH, and help the Special Representative and members of the UN identify key priorities for this new phase of the system’s work in the country. Given the mandate of the new mission, the meeting focused on trying to identify pragmatic, concrete actions that can have both an immediate and a sustained impact beyond its two-year life span. The crucial role of civil society, the issues of oversight and accountability, and the lack of access to justice all featured prominently in the themes of the discussion.
CPPF organized a closed-door, off-the-record meeting on 1 December with the Office of the Resident Coordinator in Bogotá on the reinsertion of armed actors after peace processes. The meeting aimed to delve into the wide-ranging issues that surround short- and long-term socio-economic reintegration strategies and incorporate lessons learned from other cases that can help the current reinsertion process in Colombia. The meeting also produced recommendations for the UN to help establish entry points as the government of Colombia prepares to create a reintegration policy in the next year.
UVC Director Tatiana Carayannis and Program Manager Aaron Pangburn attended an NGO briefing with U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley after her October 2017 trip to Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After some brief introductory remarks from the Ambassador, participants engaged in a Q/A session about U.S. and UN policy moving forward in these three critical Africa states.”.
Tune in at noon to watch a live demo of DATA2GO.NYC at the US Census Bureau's Opportunity Project. Measure of America will join other organizations using data to expand opportunity at the US Census Bureau's Opportunity Project. MOA's Laura Laderman will demo DATA2GO.NYC and discuss how the tool can help with outreach for Census 2020. Click here to watch live at noon!.
The Southern California Grantmakers will host an event to launch Measure of America’s latest well-being report, A Portrait of Los Angeles County. This event is open to the public, click link for more info! We are excited to announce the launch of the Portrait of Los Angeles County! Please join us for an optional pre-launch lunch starting at 12:45 followed by a presentation of key findings from the Portrait of Los Angeles County. Hear perspectives from different sectors about how we can use these findings to improve well-being throughout LA County. The Portrait of Los Angeles County examines well-being using the human development framework and index. In addition to exploring life expectancy and health data, the Portrait looks at data focused on access to knowledge (school enrollment rates and educational degree attainment rates) as well as measures related to standards of living and median earnings for full and part-time workers. The report will present Human Development Index scores for LA County places and demographic groups and explore a range of critical issues, including education, living standards, environmental justice, homelessness, inequality, and access to opportunity.
On 27 November 2017, UVC Program Director, Tatiana Carayannis moderated a briefing/panel discussion at the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, which took stock of the main policy issues raised at the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of a regional integrated peace and security approach in the Great Lakes region. The meeting also aimed at raising awareness for international engagement, by promoting new programmatic and funding opportunities in support for the Cross-Border Multi-Partner Trust Fund, building on the initial investment funding provided by the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). Ambassador Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes Region, introduced the Great Lakes Regional Framework and its six pillars before highlighting the connections between the work of his office and the ICGLR. The panel discussion brought together experts representing UN Member States, from international organizations, from civil society organizations, and from within the UN system. Highlights included insight from Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, a Visiting Scholar and the Acting Director of the Institute for African Studies at The George Washington University), who spoke to opportunities for promoting a strong women and peacebuilding agenda in the region and provided reflection on the ICGLR initiative 10 years on, after having served as the ICGLR’s first Executive Secretary from 2006-2011.
On 18 November 2017, at the annual conference of the African Studies Association, UVC Director Tatiana Carayannis and Program Manager Aaron Pangburn participated in a panel entitled “Resistance Strategies in Central Africa”. The panel brought together a group of scholars to analyze actions and discourses that contest, transgress, subvert or resist to international policy prescriptions and/or national public policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Koen Vlassenroot, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Conflict Research Group at the University of Ghent, presented his reflections on resistance by armed groups in Eastern DRC, and explored whether Herbert Weiss’ theory of rural radicalism  (developed after the Congolese rebellions of the 1960) could help explain the character and grievances of contemporary rebels. An Ansoms, Professor of Development Studies at the Catholic University of Louvain, looked at resistance to land policy and social reengineering in Rwanda, and the dichotomy between hidden and open forms of resistance by the Rwandan farming community. Her presentation focused on the green revolution in Rwanda, and how farmers are expressing discontent and pushing for reform in a variety of innovative ways. Carayannis served as the panel’s discussant, while Pangburn chaired the proceedings.  Herbert Weiss, Political Protest in the Congo: The Parti Solidaire Africain during the Independence Struggle (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967).
Renowned scholar, author and political theorist Danielle Allen concluded her activities as the 2017 Democracy Fellow of the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program last week with a public lecture in New York City. Professor Allen presented a powerful, provocative lecture on political equality to a capacity audience at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College Nov. 16, followed by a response from NYU Law professor Jeremy Waldron. Following the formal program Professor Allen signed copies of her recent books Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A and Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Professor Waldron also signed copies of his book One Another’s Equals: The Basis of Human Equality. As the 2017 Democracy Fellow, Professor Allen also conducted three graduate seminars for New York-area students and junior faculty from University Fund institutions. Professor Allen is among the most respected political theorists today, and serves as the James Bryant Conant Professor at Harvard, as well as director of the university’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Much of her work and writings have been focused on issues surrounding democracy, race and inequality in all its forms – educational, economic, political, and judicial.
On 14 November 2017, CPPF and the DPA organized a closed-door, off-the-record meeting on Brazil. The meeting brought together the UN Resident Coordinator of Brazil, officials from different UN divisions, programs and agencies, and a diverse group of experts and academics to discuss the challenges facing Brazil. The meeting’s discussion addressed the nature of the political and economic crises, which began in early 2014, and its enduring effect on Brazil’s democratic system and the day-to-day lives of its citizens. Looking ahead to the October 2018 general elections, the discussion examined various electoral scenarios as well as assessed their potential impact on the trajectories of the country’s economy and foreign policy agenda. Participants also examined some of the main challenges facing Brazil today, including the need to eradicate poverty and diminish inequality, confronting climate change and its consequences, insuring economy growth, and the need to reduce violence, corruption and bribery.
This is the 3rd event in the inaugural year of the Abe Fellows Global Forum - Japan and the Leadership of the World Trading System Broad structural changes over the last quarter century are reverberating through the global economy and the institutions that regulate it. Recent US policy has shifted away from a leadership position in both long-standing institutions such as the WTO and newer trade agreements such as TPP-11 and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). These shifts are creating room for stronger regional ties and raise the question of which nation(s) will lead trade initiatives in Asia? Additionally, a shift toward populism across the world threatens to lead countries towards greater economic protectionism. Our speakers will focus on questions related to these issues as they relate to Japan, the US-Japan relationship, and East Asia.
On November 9th Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit at the London School of Economics (LSE), gave a book talk on her recently released book, International Law and New Wars at the Security Council Report in New York City. International Law and New Wars examines how international law fails to address the contemporary existence of what are known as “new wars” - instances of armed conflict and violence in places such as Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. Tatiana Carayannis, Director of the Understanding Violent Conflict Initiative, moderated and provided Introductory remarks.
On 9-10 November 2017, the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum held closed-door briefings on the status of the Rohingya crisis and the current political situation in Myanmar, which were led by an expert on the country. The objective of the briefings was to offer a frank assessment of the political situation in Myanmar following the August 25 attack in Northern Rakhine State, and discuss State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to the current crisis, the position of the military and the role of religious leaders, particularly Buddhist extremists. The expert also offered insight as to what possible roles the UN could play in helping to bring about a resolution of the crisis.
United Nations Secretariat On 3 November 2017, the Understanding Violent Conflict Initiative (UVC) partnered with the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations to facilitate a high-level Expert Brainstorming on "Diamonds in the Central African Republic for Sustainable Development and Peace." The meeting was co-hosted by the Kingdoms of Belgium and Morocco and by the Government of CAR. Participants included representatives from civil society, the United Nations Secretariat, and 21 Permanent Country Missions to the UN. They discussed key challenges and opportunities for building the CAR’s capacity to counter the illicit exploitation of natural resources and the role MINUSCA and other partners can play to establish the conditions necessary for the successful implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in CAR. Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve of Belgium; Ambroisine Kpongo of the Central African Republic, and Omar Hilale of Morocco provided introductory remarks on the draft national strategy to address these issues, while a group of experts comprised of Marc Van Bockstael (Antwerp World Diamond Centre), Ruben De Koning (The Sentry), Marie Lintzer, (Natural Resource Governance Institute) and Damian Lluna (European Commission) provided their expertise on armed groups operating in the CAR and the role of the sanctions regime. This meeting will support the implementation of the Plan for the Recovery and Peacebuilding in CAR and the work of the African Ministers of Mining at the upcoming African Diamond Conference in Brussels on 13-15 November. UVC Director, Tatiana Carayannis, moderated the discussions.
CPPF consultant Richard Horsey produced a paper analyzing the current dynamics in Myanmar's Rakhine State in light of the Rohingya crisis, and includes specific recommendations for UN action.
On 30 October 2017, UVC Director Tatiana Carayannis participated in the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ (ACSS) Emerging Security Sector Leaders Seminar as a panelist during a session entitled, Conflict Focus: Civil War Resolution: South Sudan and CAR. She was invited to share her expertise and insight on the conflict in CAR, the status of UN’s efforts in the region and some major challenges to peacebuilding. The panel is part of ACSS’ inaugural Emerging Security Sector Leaders Seminar, from 23 October to 9 November in Washington, D.C. The seminar aims to provide the next generation of African security sector leaders with practical and effective tools upon which they can draw to contribute to their nations’ security and development. Around 60 mid-level security professionals from over 30 African countries are participating in the seminar.
On 26 October 2017, the Central African Policy Forum (CAPF) hosted a discussion with Kris Berwouts on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the support of the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the UN. Kris Berwouts, Independent Analyst on DRC and Author of Congo’s Violent Peace, presented his assessment of the political climate in the DRC. Participants, including representatives of civil society, the United Nations Secretariat and Permanent Country Missions to the UN, then expressed their views and offered questions and comments. UVC Director and CAPF Steering Committee member, Tatiana Carayannis, moderated the discussion.