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Bridging the Gap? The Interaction Between Local and International Actors in Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 12:15pm - 2:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Room 1302

The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies presents:

"Bridging the Gap? The Interaction Between Local and International Actors in Peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo"

with Sara Hellmuller
Visiting Scholar, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Moderated by Professor Sverine Autesserre
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Barnard College
Member, SIWPS

Monday, April 8, 2013
12:15pm - 2:00pm
International Affairs Building, Room 1302

Abstract:

This presentation will discuss a dissertation in progress, which analyzes how and with what effects different actors interact in a peacebuilding context, using the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a case study. This inquiry is divided into three parts. First, it assesses the different perceptions on peace and how these perceptions influence priority-setting in peacebuilding programs. Second, it analyzes how the diverse peacebuilding actors interrelate and how power influences their interaction. Third, it shows how this interaction influences authority structures, providing an arena for the negotiation of legitimacy. Theoretically, the dissertation is located within the various strands of critical debates about peacebuilding, most prominently hybridity theories which provide the conceptual framework for the study. Methodologically, by combining grounded theory and case study approaches, the dissertation aims at confronting macro-level theoretical and policy reasoning with data gathered during extended field visits in Ituri in northeastern DRC.

Bio:

Sara Hellmller holds a Master Degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and a Master of Arts with a focus on human security and negotiation / conflict resolution from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She wrote her master thesis on gender and race-based humiliations during apartheid in South Africa.
During her studies, Ms. Hellmller worked in an orphanage in South Africa, interned with a local NGO in Mongolia, was a trainee at the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, and volunteered at the African Division of the NGO "terre des hommes" in Geneva. After graduation, she interned with UNDP in East DR Congo. Since December 2009, she has been working as a program officer for the Swiss Peace Foundation in Bern. She started her PhD dissertation on the cooperation between international and local actors in peacebuilding in 2011 at the University of Basel (Switzerland), is an affiliated student at the University of Bunia (DR Congo), and is a Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.