Past initiatives 2018-06-14T12:36:27+00:00

Past initiatives:

Practitioner-led commentary, events, and experiments from 2012-17.

This page is an archive for content published from 2012-17. It is likely that some links and online tools will no longer work, but please get in touch if you’re looking for something specific.

Q&A: Five lessons from the Congo’s instability

Interview with Lamii Moivi Kromah at the International Peace Institute. This followed a seminar-style presentation with UN and diplomatic officials.

I try to sketch out what a practical change agenda could look like for UN peacekeeping, and for “stabilisation” efforts outside of Central Africa. For more details and full transcript please see the Global Observatory website.

Dispatch from Guinea: The struggle to operationalise “peacebuilding”

In 1958, Guinea was the only French colony to opt for immediate independence. Its first President rebuffed Charles de Gaulle to his face, declaring that ‘we prefer poverty in freedom to riches in slavery’.

The imagination thrills at the moment, most of all when picturing de Gaulle’s reaction. Things then took an sharp downward turn, however.

Round table: “How to be a dissident”

April’s round table for the London Conflict / Fragility group focused on dissidence. At some point, everyone’s been stuck working on an intervention that made no sense, or implementing a policy they didn’t agree with.

When this happens, how do we create momentum for change? What’s the best way to orchestrate “useful conflict” amongst friends and colleagues, instead of shouting matches? And at what point should we simply exit?

Why every organisation needs its dissidents, dissenters, and drama queens

A senior UN official caused minor waves in March with a New York Times op-ed entitled “I love the UN, but it is failing”. Among other zingers, he labelled the world organisation a “Remington typewriter in a smartphone world”, and captioned the piece with an image of a sucking black hole.

Learning to learn: How UN peacekeeping handled its explosive growth from 2000-15

Many observers saw last June’s High-Level Panel on UN Peace Operations as an audit of the ambitious change agenda laid out some fifteen years earlier, in the Brahimi Report.

The latter had set out an aggressive vision for “multi-dimensional” peacekeeping. The 2015 panel found progress towards that vision had been mixed, at best, while adding a slate of issues of their own.

Round table: “What we learned in 2015”

The London Conflict / Fragility group convened on 17 February for some (very) frank exchange on where we went wrong in 2015, and what we thought we’d do about it in 2016.

This turned out to be a rather introspective session. The recurring theme was the very real potential to walk down the wrong paths in the fragile states business, and to lose years of energy and inspiration in the process.