Mediation for the twenty first century: Connecting the local and the global

Project summary

Upon taking office, the new Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) indicated that his priority for his term of office would be developing UN capacity for mediation and conflict prevention. New mediation, framed as conflict prevention, needs to be concerned not only with ending violence but with re-building fractured societies and creating the conditions that will prevent conflict from recurring. It is agreed that a greater range of participants should be involved in the mediation process but there remains a lack of experience as to how to ensure meaningful input. This project seeks to deconstruct the dominant security paradigms within which international mediation operates to reveal the limitations that these paradigms impose on thinking in the field. In so doing it aims to address a gap in the theory and practice of mediation by articulating a new concept of mediation that moves beyond evaluation of compliance with policy to interrogate what mediation seeksto achieve. It will do this through collaboration with mediation practitioners and policy makers to bring together conceptual, doctrinal and practical perspectives on how to begin to reconstruct the field from the ground up.

Term: Michaelmas 2019

See Project Website: Rethinking Peace Mediation.



Project fellows

Principal Investigator: Professor Catherine Turner (Law)
Principal Investigator: Dr May Darwich (Government and International Affairs)

International Center for Religion and Diplomacy

Martine Miller is the Vice President at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington D.C.; a Lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studiesat Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Thailand; a Fellow at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego; and, a consultant for a range of organisations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Her research interests include inclusive mediation, focusing on gender and on religious peacemakers. She has area studies expertise in the Central to Asia-Pacific region.

Crisis Management Initiative

Johanna Poutanen is Head for Women in Peacemaking at the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). With an overarching focus on gender in peace mediation, her research focuses on the interplay between women’s political agency and specific mediation strategies and frameworks.

“…my experience at Durham and IAS has been a unique opportunity for bridging the gap between theory and praxis in international peace mediation. The pioneering approach both by the IAS institute and the Durham Law School research project to engage fellows from practitioner profiles has garnered a great deal of positive attention in our field – and served as an important step (both symbolically as well as practically) in deepening connections between academic and practitioner communities.”

Istituto Affari Internazionali

Irene Fellin is Senior Fellow on gender and security issues at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), based in Rome. In her current role, Irene Fellin leads IAI’s work on research projects dealing with the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)+ on “Women, Peace and Security” within the framework of the UN, NATO, the OSCE and the EU and on strengthening women’s inclusion in peace mediation efforts.