Faculty insights help shape historic US effort to build peace

University of Notre Dame faculty shared recommendations for strategic monitoring and evaluation within fragile states at an April 14 virtual roundtable hosted by the Keough School of Global Affairs and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

The discussion provided an opportunity for policymakers to hear from Keough School experts in a real-time policy dialogue that will inform the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the US Agency for International Development in their efforts to implement the Global Fragility Act.

The act, passed in December 2019, aims to improve how the US government responds to fragility by promoting a whole-of-government approach to preventing violence and conflict that threatens US national interests. Fragile states are often sources of terrorism, political or intercommunal violence, and other destabilizers that trigger mass displacements and refugee flows. These issues threaten the US homeland and US personnel overseas, as well as US allies.   

“The goal of the Global Fragility Act aligns seamlessly with the Keough School’s mission to use evidence-based research to address the needs of the most vulnerable and build peace,” said Maura Policelli, executive director of the Keough School Washington Office and associate professor of the practice. “Contributing to the government’s consultation process during this critical phase of implementation is an honor.”

During the roundtable, professors and researchers from the Keough School’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Pulte Institute for Global Development shared best practices for promoting strategic partnerships and effective dialogue within fragile states.

They explored how navigating the difficult political terrain in such states requires engaging with a variety of local actors, including faith leaders, NGOs, and youth organizations, and emphasized the importance of understanding how local communities view and interact with multiple levels of government as peacebuilding unfolds.

Participants also offered recommendations for collecting timely, useful, and high-quality data to conduct real-time analysis that informs the ongoing process of monitoring and evaluation. Here, they drew on the scholarly expertise of the Keough School’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. The institute developed the Peace Accords Matrix database, a unique source of data on the implementation of more than 30 comprehensive peace agreements negotiated since 1989. It provides a wealth of information critical to monitoring and evaluating peacebuilding and conflict prevention efforts.

Keough School participants included:

  • David Cortright, director of policy studies at the Keough School’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and special advisor for policy studies at the Keough School
  • Rachel Sweet, assistant professor of global affairs at the Keough School
  • Madhav Joshi, research associate professor and associate director of the Peace Accords Matrix at the Kroc Institute
  • Laurie Nathan, mediation program director and professor of the practice of mediation at the Kroc Institute
  • Jason Quinn, research associate professor of political science at the Kroc Institute and a principal researcher for the Peace Accords Matrix data project
  • Paul Perrin, director of monitoring and evaluation for the Keough School’s Pulte Institute for Global Development and concurrent associate professor of the practice in the Keough School
  • Tom Purekal, program director for innovation and practice at the Pulte Institute
  • Ambassador (ret.) Susan D. Page, a visiting professor of the practice at the Keough School

The roundtable builds on the Keough School’s contributions to the Global Fragility Act through the Washington Office. In July 2019, the Washington Office hosted a forum on global fragility, a gathering that included 15 distinguished speakers, including US Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Todd Young of Indiana, lead sponsors of the Global Fragility Act.

“We are grateful to the Keough School faculty who participated in this roundtable as part of the consultation process on the Global Fragility Act. Insights like these on strategic monitoring and evaluation will be critical to informing development of the first-ever US government global fragility strategy,” said Vickie Ellis, senior advisor at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Dialogue and analysis from the roundtable will continue to inform the implementation of the Global Fragility Act, Cortright said.

“We look forward to making further contributions to this strategic interagency approach to identify the root causes of fragility around the globe,” Cortright said, “and to building peace where it is needed most.”

Originally published on keough.nd.edu by Josh Stowe on April 22. 

April 22, 2020

Global AffairsDavid Cortrightdigest159GovernmentJason QuinnKeough School of Global AffairsKroc Institute for International Peace StudiesLaurie NathanMadhav JoshiPaul PerrinPeacebuildingPulte Institute for Global DevelopmentRachel SweetSusan PageTom PurekalUnited States

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