The Centre organised a number of public events to disseminate and discuss its research. Key events from both phases of work are listed below:
12 October 2001 : Terrorism and the Developing World
The centre brought together a wide range of discussants to address the prospects for developing countries in the light of current global events. Participants included John Harriss, Director, Development Studies Institute; David Keen, DESTIN, expert on complex emergencies; Deniz Kandiyotti, Development Studies Centre, SOAS; Haleh Afshar, York University, expert on women and Islam; Zahir Tanin, Senior Producer, BBC Persian service; and Matthew Fielden, DESTIN, expert on Afghanistan
May 30th - June 1st 2003 : CSP/ZEF Symposium: State reconstruction and international engagement in Afghanistan
The Centre participated in a symposium on the prospects for Afghanistan co-hosted with ZEF Bonn. Led by Conrad Schetter the symposium sought to consider the effects of international interventions in the country and the possibilities for state reconstruction.
12- 14 May 2004 : The Politics of the Colombian Conflict: Towards a Redefinition?
This workshop was organised by IEPRI (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota) and the Crisis States Research Centre, with additional support from Colciencias, the British Council in Colombia, Semana and El Espectador.The Centre's Colombian partners facilitated the workshop to discuss their research on War, Democracy and Globalisation. Widely reported in the Colombian press, discussions centred on the causes of Colombia's 35 year war, the patterns of mobilisation of the guerrilla and paramilitary forces, the impact of the controversial US-funded Plan Colombia, and prospects for future peace.
James Putzel, director of CSRC, spoke to insights emerging from the programme's wider studies of war and post-war reconstruction, while the CSRC’s Jonathan DiJohn and Jean-Paul Faguet spoke about research on the relationship between natural resources and war, and the possibilities offered by democratic decentralisation reforms to manage conflict. Professor Neera Chandhoke, working with CSRC in India, spoke to her research on patterns of ethnic conflict in Kashmir and Punjab, while CSRC research fellow Laurie Nathan, from UCT South Africa, discussed lessons from peace negotiations in Africa. The British ambassador to Colombia, Thomas Duggin, addressed the public forum held at Bogota's National Museum and expressed his hope for an eventual negotiated settlement. Professor Francisco Gutierrez and his team at the Institute of Political Studies and International Relations at the National University in Bogota spoke in detail about their work on the micro-foundations of war.
21st/22nd March 2005: 'Defining & Understanding Media Development Strategies in Post-War and Crisis States'
The Centre worked with the Stanhope Centre for Communication and Policy Research, and the Annenberg School of Communication (University of Pennsylvania) to convene a workshop discussing the options for a free and open media in situations of fragility and post-war reconstruction. Outputs from the event include CSRC Discussion Paper 8: 'Media Policy, Peace and State Reconstruction' (Tim Allen & Nicole Stremlau) and the report from the event 'Why Templates for Media Development do not work in Crisis States'.
17th October 2005 : Terrorism and Development
The Centre co-hosted a debate on the interaction between development and international terrorism with the colleagues from the International Development department. Panellists discussed the sources of terrorism in the developing world and the implications of the "war on terror" for countries struggling to get out of poverty. The debate was followed by a question and answer session. Full transcript of the event.
13th June 2006 : The Darfur Crisis: what is to be done?
Laurie Nathan of the Crisis States Research Centre spoke about the peace negotiations and the process of African Union mediation in Abuja, of which he has personal experience. Mark Bowden of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs offered an explanation of the scale of the humanitarian disaster, whilst Hafiz Mohamed, Darfur Coordinator for Justice Africa, discussed his own experience of the situation and the demands of ordinary citizens from all sides of the conflict. David Keen, Reader in Complex Emergencies at the LSE, reflected on the origins of the crisis and prospects for the future.
June 2006 - World Urban Forum 3
The Crisis States Research Centre sent a delegation to the 3rd World Urban Forum in Vancouver in June 2006, to speak on the policy implications of inclusive governance in conflict areas. Highlights of the presentations given by Prof Jo Beall, Daniel Esser and Dr Jason Sumich can be found on the WUF3 website.
Monday 6th November 2006 : The Long-term Implications for Development of the War in Iraq
The Centre hosted the Rt.Hon. Clare Short MP for a public lecture on the future prospects in Iraq. Ms Short gave an overview of global politics in the post-Cold War era and offered her own viewpoint on the reasons behind the ongoing war in Iraq. She also spoke about the enormous challenges posed by global warming which threaten to impact most seriously on the poorest countries of the world.
Monday 19th February 2007 : From Kabila to Kabila – what else is new?
Prof Rene Lemarchand of the University of Florida, a leading scholar on ethnicity and clientilism and author of a large body of work on the Great Lakes region, gave insights from his extensive research in DR Congo and discussed the intricacies of Congolese politics and the effects of shifting neo-patrimonial alliances. Although DR Congo successfully held elections in 2006, the new political order has yet to significantly improve the social and economic situation for a population ravaged by over a decade of war.
Thursday 17th May 2007 : International Military Interventions and the Constraints facing the UN
Lt.Gen. Romeo Dallaire commanded the UN Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) in 1994 at the time of the Rwandan genocide and he spoke movingly of his experiences at this time and of the difficulties faced by military interventions in the post-Cold War world. On retirement, Lt. Gen Dallaire was appointed to the Canadian Senate where he now sits as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. He is working with Search for Common Ground on an initiative to eradicate the use of child soldiers.
Thursday 31st January 2008 : Iraq: the way out
Guardian foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele gave a public lecture to mark the release of his new book ‘Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq’. Steele explained that he had visited Iraq eight times since the 2003 invasion and on each occasion had found the security situation worse, as well as an increasing hostility towards the presence of the US and UK. Dozens of books have already been written about how this situation came about; but most follow the same ‘conventional wisdom’ that suggests it was the lack of a coherent plan before the invasion and a number of blunders after the invasion that caused this disaster. Steele expressed alarm at the growing strength of this orthodox interpretation and said that his book was ‘a deliberate challenge to the conventional wisdom’, which implies that the occupation could have been successful if only it was better managed. In fact, he argued, for the US and UK to occupy an Arab state in the 21st century was doomed to fail regardless of forward planning. He pointed out that ‘all occupations are inherently unpopular – people don’t like seeing foreign tanks on their streets, they don’t like seeing foreign troops in their midst and of course there has been a century-long history of Anglo-American intervention in the Middle East.’ As a result of this, he argued, ‘From the very first day more Iraqis saw it as an occupation than a liberation’. He went on to explain that the US and UK did not face up to this reality. Paul Bremer and his colleagues took the post-1945 occupation of Japan and Germany as a template, despite the hugely differing circumstances. They ‘seemed to forget that Iraq was in the Middle East – they didn’t seem to realise they were treading on old colonial ground’. Consequently Steele argued that ‘the biggest US blunder was not dissolving the Iraqi army. It was to maintain an open-ended occupation with no date for withdrawal.’
Tuesday 18th March 2008 : Defining the scope of responsibilities: the Great Lakes region
Recently back from a visit to the Great Lakes region, the UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins discussed the local settlement of refugees in Tanzania and the return and reintegration of refugees in Burundi. Dr Chaloka Beyani, Legal Advisor to the Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes, situated the issue within the Great Lakes Pact which sets out a holistic legal framework in which this problem is merely one component of establishing peace and security in the region, while Dr Susan Breau, Reader in public international law, explored the interface between the 'responsibility to protect' doctrine and peacekeeping, including the facilitation of the voluntary return of refugeees and IDPs.
Monday 28th April 2008 : 'Meeting the New Humanitarian Challenges of the 21st Century'
Sir John Holmes spoke of the multiple challenges that UN agencies and other national and international NGOs will face in the coming years when seeking to deliver emergency relief and humanitarian aid. These include: preserving 'humanitarian space' and remaining independent of political and military action in locations such as Iraq, Somalia and Darfur; increasing effective coordination between the many humanitarian actors in the field; coping with the effects of climate change; and coping with the effects of a global rise in food prices on the poorest communities. Sir John is the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Thursday 22nd May 2008 : Fixing Failed States
Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart launched their new book 'Fixing Failed States'. (OUP, May 2008) with a public lecture at LSE. Ashraf Ghani is a former Minister of Finance in the Afghan government and Chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness, which seeks to promote the ability of states to serve their citizens. Clare Lockhart is Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness, where she advises countries and other organisations on state-building. She was previously UN advisor to the Bonn Process and Adviser to the Government of Afghanistan responsible for several national initiatives. She is a lawyer, historian and specialist in institution-building and has worked at the World Bank, the UN and as a barrister.
Thursday 17th July 2008 : Zimbabwe: Beyond the Endgame'
Gugulethu Moyo, Dr. Martin Rupiya, Patrick Smith and James Putzel (Chair).
As talks between Mr Mugabe and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change open in South Africa, the crisis in Zimbabwe continues. Western countries are pushing for more sanctions against Zimbabwe’s rulers, while President Mbeki and the African Union oppose them. Meanwhile, the shrinking economy provides Mr Mugabe with less and less to pay the army, police and administrators. The June 27 2008 presidential run-off was dubbed the endgame. It proved just another stage in Zimbabwe’s unfolding catastrophe. A panel of experts discussed what might happen next. podcast of the event
12th November 2008 : The Prospects for Democratisation in Afghanistan
Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, spoke on the future of the country, reflecting on the current political and economic conditions. Foreign Minister Spanta earned a Master degree in Political Sciences, Sociology and International Relations and a PhD degree from Aachen University in Political Sciences where he also taught as a professor from 1992 to 2005. In January 2005, Dr. Spanta returned to teach at Kabul University, and later became the advisor on foreign affairs to President Hamed Karzai. Podcast.
18th March 2009 : Eastern DRCongo - what should the international community be doing?
Panel Debate with General Olusegun Obasanjo, Clare Short, David Leonard and James Putzel
UN Special Envoy to the Congo and former President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo highlighted the importance of strengthening order and institutions at a panel discussion hosted by the Crisis States Research Centre last week. He called on the international community to make sufficient resources available, warning 'if we fail, DRC may be a disaster waiting to happen'. In front of a high-profile audience, General Obasanjo discussed international intervention in the Eastern DRC with former Secretary of State, Clare Short, Professor David Leonard of the International Development Institute and Professor James Putzel, Director of the CSRC. Broad optimism was expressed after what Clare Short called an 'important breakthrough' in January 2009 when DRC and Rwandan governments agreed to cooperate. All speakers concurred that in order to obtain peace and stability, the recently formed partnership between Kinshasa and Kigali must hold. The debate, stemming from a controversial CSRC press release in November 2008, focused on the role of diplomacy, political relations and ethical business in addressing the complex issues that have led to over five million deaths in the Eastern Congo since 1998. Particular attention was paid to the role of Rwanda, where rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was arrested in January 2009. Whilst Clare Short emphasised that the 'fundamental fault' lay with the Security Council members, who should provide military resources to the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC, without which their financial inputs are less effective, David Leonard sought answers as to what could now make MONUC a credible deterrent to violence. Raising the importance of the creation of elite incentives to work with, as opposed to against, the state, James Putzel highlighted the importance of CSRC's work on development as state-making, fragile cities and regional conflict. Podcast
6th May 2009 : 'The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide'
Public lecture with Linda Melvern, an investigative journalist and author. A world expert on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, she was a consultant to the prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal to Rwanda in the Military 1 case. Linda discussed the role of the West in the lead up to and duration of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, highlighting new findings from recent research that are included in the new edition of her book of the same name, to be released in July 2009. Focusing particularly on the role of the UN Security Council and in particular the UK, the USA and France, she considered differing degrees of negligence, ignorance and complicity. Podcast.
7th October 2009 : How to be humanitarian: UN intervention in post-conflict societies
Lise Grande, Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, UN Southern Sudan, gave a stimulating presentation on the challenges of humanitarian intervention in post-conflict societies. Humanitarian assistance is uniquely provided when states are failing. Through the provision of public and household goods, it responds to needs rather than entitlements and often pushes the frontiers of state support. Yet, Ms. Grande noted, post-conflict states need to regain control, and to be seen to do so. Focusing specifically on the experience of the UN, Ms. Grande defined the situation in Southern Sudan as 'the perfect humanitarian storm'. The spiralling inter-tribal violence, food deficit and budget crisis combine towards 'inevitable catastrophe'. Rather than 'building back better', the UN has had no choice but to concentrate on an emergency response. A first priority now must be a focus on evidence based security sector reform. Podcast.
29th October 2009 : What now for Sudan?
On 28th October 2009 SRSG Qazi briefed the UN Security Council on the current situation in Sudan and his prognosis on the forthcoming fourteen months before the planned 2011 referendum. On 29th October SRSG Qazi gave the same brief in discussion with an LSE audience. Special Representative to Sudan since 2007, Mr Qazi is the senior UN envoy to a situation termed by Lise Grande as a ‘perfect humanitarian storm’. He brings to this role his breadth of experience in the Pakistani diplomatic service and as UN Head of Mission in Iraq (2003-06).
18th January 2010 : The War on Drugs: an upper or downer for development?
The Centre hosted two prominent speakers, Misha Glenny (author of ‘McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime’) and Michael Hartmann (manager and senior adviser of the Criminal Justice Programme at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Kabul) to debate the controversial issue of the legalisation of the drug trade, with particular emphasis on the under-recognized but important perspective of production, as opposed to trade or use, focusing on fragile states. Misha Glenny is an award winning journalist who has spent years in Eastern and Central Europe, as correspondent for the Guardian and later the BBC. His latest of three books focuses on the detrimental effects of organised crime and how it is funded by the trade in illegal drugs. Legalising the drugs trade, the book argues, would be a blow to organised crime. From this background, Glenny argued that 80 years of 'prohibition' style drug policy had failed. Whilst 'producing' countries have been left with 'rivers of blood' as a result of an aggressively pursued war on drugs, 'consuming' cou tries cannot research the health effects of these drugs, nor can they regulate their quality. Michael Hartmann, having worked as manager of the Criminal Justice Programme at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Kabul, argued from a very different perspective. Were drugs legalised, regulation of this market would be necessary, and this would create another potential black market. Moreover, legalising the trade in drugs would lead to a dramatic increase in consumption and consequently a rise in associated health and social problems in rich countries. Alternatives to legalisation and regulation including education, social services and crop diversification, as currently pursued by the UNODC are therefore preferable.
3rd February 2010 : Burquas aren't always blue: Kandahar 1968-2010
The Centre hosted Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn (co-editors of 'My Life with the Taliban'), who presented an insight into Kandahar: the birthplace of the Taliban movement and focal area for the recently announced military surge. As residents of Kandahar, and founders of AfghanWire – a website which provides alternative views of Afghanistan - the speakers were well placed to provide an unconventional and nuanced account of the city. Having recently co-edited My Life with the Taliban, the memoirs of a former Taliban high commander, the speakers drew on this unique account not only to provide an insight into the psychology and motivations of a former Taliban leader, but also to shed light on the organisation’s complex history, its purpose and the relationships which underlie its network. They went on to explore the current situation in Kandahar. Contrary to the recently published BBC report, they described how the Taliban are winning the propaganda war in provinces such as Kandahar. Their presentation was also a critique of much of the research emerging from Afghanistan. Since Afghanistan is too dangerous to conduct random polling, interviewed groups are often biased towards the urban and educated. Trust is also crucial in receiving honest answers to questions and short term researchers are therefore likely to receive inaccurate information. The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session with questions from an audience which included policymakers and representatives from NGOs, as well as academics and students.
12th February 2010 : 'The Fiction of Development'
As part of the LSE 2010 Literary Festival, the Crisis States Research Centre in conjunction with the Department of Social Policy and DESTIN hosted a panel discussion with three leading literary figures: Giles Foden (author of The Last King of Scotland), Jack Mapanje (Malawian poet and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newcastle University) and Sunny Singh (Indian writer and journalist). They were joined by David Lewis (Social Policy and Development, LSE) and Dennis Rodgers (Senior Visiting Fellow, CSRC and Senior Research Fellow, Brooks World Poverty Institute).The concept of the event was based on a paper co-written by David Lewis, Dennis Rodgers and Michael Woolcock in which they argued that fiction could be 'a source of authoritative knowledge'. The speakers discussed this idea of how fiction can highlight aspects of development overlooked by more conventional forms of knowledge such as policy papers and research reports. David Lewis noted that amongst the benefits of fiction is its ability to capture the messy reality of development issues and crucially to convey development ideas to a much wider audience than more conventional mediums.As a journalist and author of the award winning 1998 novel 'The Last King of Scotland', which focuses on the rise of Idi Amin in Uganda and his reign as dictator from 1971-1979, Giles Foden was no stranger to the idea that the novel is a useful medium for getting across important ideas, commenting that his own novel could be seen as a 'chronicle about governance'. He stressed in particular its ability to conjure up an image far more realistically than data alone could do. Whilst agreeing that fiction can be an important source of knowledge about development, Sunny Singh made the point that we should be wary of overemphasising it since fiction is inherently biased and often sensational. She pointed to ‘'Slumdog Millionaire' as an example, arguing that this hit movie gave a highly skewed picture of slums in India and failed to represent the voices of those dwelling in the slums. The prize-winning Malawian poet, Jack Mapanje, sees poetry as a voice of dissent in more senses than one. Having been imprisoned without trial for his collection of poems 'Of Chameleons and Gods', his work looks critically at those in power as well as at contemporary development discourses. Indeed, he agreed with the ideas in the 'Fiction of Development' paper to such an extent that he found it "a little obvious", highlighting for example the attention that has already been paid to post-colonial literature. Podcast.
6th May 2010 : ‘Do No Harm : international support for state-building'
The question of whether foreign aid undermines statebuilding in fragile states has come to the forefront of the development cooperation agenda. The OECD DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility recently published a report on the topic, entitled "Do No Harm: International support for statebuilding" authored by a team from LSE and PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP led by Prof James Putzel, Director of the CSRC. Together with Jon Lomoy, newly appointed Director of OECD DAC and Dr 'Funmi Olanisakin, Senior Research Fellow with the Conflict, Security and Development Group at KCL, Prof Putzel discussed the report at this Centre debate. Broadly outlining how the interventions of OECD countries may risk undermining positive statebuilding processes, the panel highlighted the issues around the 'dual public sector', economic production and political trade-offs, making recommendations on how to avoid negative impact in the future by developing a more complex understanding of these issues.
Monday 18th-Wednesday 27th October 2010 : Congo/Women - Portraits of War
To highlight the issues surrounding the widespread use of sexual violence in conflict areas of Eastern DRCongo, the Centre facilitated a touring photo exhibition in the LSE Atrium entitled ‘Congo/Women: portraits of war’. The exhibition was co-curated by Art Works Projects and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, at Columbia College Chicago, with major funding from the UNFPA; Humanity United; National Endowment for the Arts; Oak Foundation; and leadership donors of the ESB Institute. The exhibition featured powerful photographs from award-winning photojournalists Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv and James Nachtwey and sought to educate and raise awareness of the issues to a wide range of audiences. A reception hosted by the UNFPA on the evening of 20th October provided an opportunity to mark the 10-year observance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security and to call for the elimination of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Victoria Dove Dimandja and Jose Musau Kalanda of the Congolese women's organisation Liberation spoke movingly of the realities of women's lives in Eastern DRCongo and Gabi Hesselbein of the CSRC highlighted the Centre's research in the country.