I have recently enrolled in my PhD with the Peace and Conflict Studies department, which in one way completes the journey of study which I began in 2010, and in another way is the beginning of a whole new research path as I start what many have encouragingly called “the hardest thing you will ever do” and what I like to call my “exciting exploration” into a PhD thesis in nonviolence and the media. In 2010 I graduated with my Postgraduate Diploma as one of the students in the foundation year of Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University. This year was formative in providing me with a fabulous smorgasbord of Peace and Conflict research and theory, intellectual debate, and challenging assignments which stimulated and inspired me to want to continue learning in this field. My next step was to enrol in my MA in nonviolent discipline, embarking on the rollercoaster-research-ride of thesis writing! Over the course of my masters, I did some very necessary and sometimes challenging academic ‘growing’. With the excellent guidance of my supervisor, I was encouraged to stretch my writing and research skills, broaden my academic knowledge and develop a critical thinking I never knew I had. Through the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre I also had the opportunity to present my research as part of the weekly poster presentations, attend a range of excellent seminars and lectures, connect with a very supportive community of students and staff, and guest lecture on my research topic. During 2012, I used the university publishing bursary to write a paper, did some more guest lecturing, tutored international PhD students, ran a workshop on performing nonviolence, took part in an academic inter-departmental debate on nonviolence, worked as a Restorative Justice facilitator and was invited to speak at Knox church on peace and nonviolence issues. When I’m not studying, I’m walking, singing, spending time with family and friends, sleeping, drinking coffee, and talking ideas which usually lead me back to study!
Before joining the Centre, I graduated with a Masters in International Relations from Victoria University of Wellington and worked at the Royal Thai Embassy in Wellington for 3 years. During those years, I was involved in policy-making and policy-implementation activities and learned that policy achievement and failure often depended on knowledge and personal networks covering the local and the elite levels. Such work experiences highly inspired my PhD project.
My PhD thesis aims to define relationships between local leadership and peacebuilding in southernmost provinces of Thailand. It seeks to investigate how intraethnic bonds and interethnic networks enable local leaders to promote or damage peacebuilding efforts. I hope that the research outcome will extend our knowledge of the role of local leaders in peacebuilding in divided societies on the one hand, and on the other hand, to contribute to a better understanding of Southern Thailand conflict and local peacebuilding efforts.
My doctoral research focuses on the involvement of external actors in post-conflict security sector reform (SSR), and the implications that their involvement has on political stability. My other research interests include conflict driven displacement, local ownership and peace building, governance and political reform, and regional security issues.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in security studies from the University of British Columbia, and a Master’s degree in Politics and International Affairs with a specialization in Peace and Conflict Studies, from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University.
Prior to joining the Centre, I worked as a Research Assistant for the Human Security Research Project in Vancouver, where I conducted research, fact-checked publications, and coordinated the Human Security Gateway. I have also interned with the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, and I am the former Chairperson of the department’s student association, Pax et Bellum.
My PhD research project focuses on the Maoist conflict in India, more precisely in rural areas of West Bengal. My study places the local civilian groups at the core of the analytical framework, and seeks to understand their role in shaping the dynamics of conflict at a local level and in building a discourse of peace. Through this study I seek to go beyond predominant myths and narratives on tribal and poor peasants, and achieve a deep understanding of the experience, perceptions and attitudes of these people.
My Indian origins and my experience in India gave me the inspiration and motivation to study human rights and peace and conflict studies. I graduated with full marks in Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights from the University of Padua (Italy) in 2010 and achieved a MA in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London with Distinction.
Since I joined National Centre for Peace and Conflict at the University of Otago I found myself surrounded by people genuinely committed to give a contribution to peace. As a result, the Centre is not only in a very rich and stimulating environment from an academic point of view, but it is also also very friendly, open and welcoming. Coming to the other corner of the world for this adventure was definitely worthwhile!
After graduating with an MA in Development Studies from the University of Auckland and being in workforce for several years, I enrolled in a PhD programme at the National Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in 2010. My PhD study has been an exciting journey allowing me to grow intellectually.
My PhD research looks at water scarcity and conflict. Due to growing global concern about water scarcity, its potential to generate conflict sparked a curiosity in me to understand why water conflicts occur. I am looking at how these conflicts are effectively and peacefully managed, particularly if third party involvement can facilitate cooperation over transboundary rivers, and if they do, how and why they are able to facilitate riparian cooperation. My research combines both quantitative and qualitative methods. I collected new data for Asia and Africa for quantitative part of my research, and explored the Central Asian case particularly for qualitative part of my research. I hope to extend our knowledge and understanding about peaceful management of water disputes and also contribute to making the world more peaceful.
My doctoral research explores the ontology of spiritual brotherhood (sisterhood) from within both a global raja yoga community
(Sahaj Marg) and within the Maori community. It has sought to understand what these practitioners consider spiritual brotherhood to be and to further examine the practical application of this ontology and in particular its relevance to peace.
It has been a wonderful journey listening to the stories by meditation practitioners from many countries and the stories about processes of connection from Maori.
Participants have contributed from a range of countries including: France,
Germany, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, America, South Africa, Ethiopia, Iran, Kuwait, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Denmark, Romania, India, China, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Nepal, Fiji, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.
The National Peace and Conflict Studies Centre has been very welcoming- giving wonderful support and guidance as I have developed this project. I can't speak highly enough of my supervisor, Dr Heather Devere. She has allowed the freedom for the qualitative nature of this research to evolve while ensuring the necessary academic rigour.
I enrolled in the PhD programme of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in May 2012 after finishing my masters thesis at Sophia University’s Global Studies Program on “Religion and Civil Society: International Religious NGOs and Nuclear Disarmament.” My PhD research is on the role of contact in dealing with prejudice, traumatic memory and enmification is Sino-Japanese relations.
Abstract: The recent escalation of conflict between China and Japan, triggered by the Japanese government’s move to purchase the rights to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, is the most recent manifestation of a deeper division between the two countries that pre-dates and flows from the Second World War. Japan’s “historical amnesia” represented by its denial of the Nanjing massacre, sanitization of its history textbooks, resisting legal responsibility for the comfort women, and the controversial visits of its head of state to the Yasukuni shrine, has generated considerable ambivalence towards Japan. Similarly, memories of the “Bamboo curtain,” negative features of Maoism, Chinese human rights abuses and growing anxieties about Chinese business practices generate ambivalence and antagonism towards China. Despite expanded economic and cultural relations, distrust and animosity seem to be increasing between the governments and peoples of both countries. My PhD thesis will examine the dynamics of stereotyping and enmification and how these are driven by war memory and national identity narratives in China and Japan. It will then shed light on the role of cross-cultural connectors, (individuals and groups, who have challenged national xenophobia and more cosmopolitan narratives aimed at humanizing, rehumanizing the other.) The research will analyze the kind of contacts and conditions that are conducive to helping individuals overcome prejudice. What are the processes most likely to be effective in generating a cosmopolitan sensibility capable of resisting conflict-generating nationalist ideologies? The realization of durable peace in East Asia will require a deepening of macro-level economic and political relationships but also a micro- and meso-level de-stereotyping and re-humanization of the other.
I graduated from National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan, with a Bachelor Degree in Arabic Language and Literature, and a Master Degree in International Relations. Prior to joining the National Centre for Peace and Conflicts Studies, I completed two-years of my PhD studies at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, in Wales. My research interests are Critical Terrorism Studies, Critical Discourse Analysis, International Relations Theory, and U.S. Foreign and Security Policies.
My PhD thesis focuses on President Clinton’s terrorism and counter-terrorism discourses and his counter-terrorism policy. The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate a clear continuity of the U.S.-led war on terror from Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, through to George W. Bush. By carefully examining U.S. terrorism and counter-terrorism discourses with the aid of critical discourse analysis, this research argues and illustrates that U.S. terrorism discourse functions to maintain a counter-terrorism ‘regime of truth’, and places boundaries around what can meaningfully be said and understood about the subject of terrorism.
Tsui C. K. (2013). Writing National Identity: Discourses, Narratives, and the Social Construction of Terrorism as a Negative Ideograph. Paper presented at the 2013 International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention (San Francisco, California, USA, April 5th, 2013). Available at: http://files.isanet.org/ConferenceArchive/4a893de9c6e54b1abd1999f228f54aca.pdf
Tsui, C. K. (2012). The Myth of George W. Bush's Foreign Policy Revolution: Reagan, Clinton, and the Continuity of the War on Terror. e-International Relations. December 2nd, 2012. Available at: http://www.e-ir.info/2012/12/02/the-myth-of-george-w-bushs-foreign-policy-revolution-reagan-clinton-and-the-continuity-of-the-war-on-terror/
Tsui, C. K. (2012). Framing the Threat of Catastrophic Terrorism: Discourse, Intertextuality, and President Bill Clinton's Counterterrorism Initiatives. Paper presented at the 2012 New Zealand Political Studies Association (NZPSA) Conference (Victoria University of Wellington, November 27th, 2012)
Tsui, C. K. (2012). Writing Wars on Terrorism from Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and through to George W. Bush: Discourses, Narratives and National Identity. Paper Presented at Power and Politics Conference 2012 (University College, University of Otago, July 3rd 2012)
Tsui, C. K. (2012). Writing the New Terrorist Threat in the Post-Cold War Era: Clinton and the Construction of the Catastrophic Terrorism. Paper Presented at Centre Research Seminar (National Centre for Peace and Conflicts Studies, University of Otago, May 17th 2012)
Tsui, C. K. (2011). Tracing the Discursive Origins of the War on Terror: Clinton and the Construction of the Terrorist Threat in the Post-Cold Era. Paper Presented at A Decade of Terrorism Conference (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, September 8-11th 2011)
I had been working in education for 12 years before I decided to do my PhD at Otago. I’ve taught on four continents in six countries and I’ve taught all age groups from elementary to adults. I have always focused on Peace Education. Peace Education is teaching and learning for, about and by peace. Teaching for peace means helping people develop values and skills such as nonviolence, conflict analysis and resolution, empathy and respect for diversity. Teaching about peace is developing curriculum that includes topics such as how peace has or can be maintained, nonviolent revolutions, peace leaders, and movements for human rights. Educating by peace involves using teaching practice that respects what each individual has to contribute and using problem based styles that value critical thinking.
At Otago I am doing interdisciplinary work, based in the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and the College of Education. My PhD project uses participatory action research methodology to work with local educators in Nicaragua. We are surveying the current status of peace education in secondary schools there, discussing its strengths and weaknesses and then working together to develop improved practice. I believe peace education has a vital role to play in developing an international culture of peace and I’m interested in working with other educators to develop this practice.
Brother Christopher John
I’m an Anglican Franciscan friar (or brother) doing a PhD exploring contemporary Franciscan peacemaking. Since the time of Francis of Assisi 800 years ago those inspired by him have had a peace tradition, but this hasn’t always translated into active peacemaking. My interest is in looking at the factors which either activate this peacemaking or block it. I hope this will help us identify ways to be more active as “instruments of peace.” This is not just for Franciscans but for other groups/movements with a peace tradition.
My academic background is a recently completed MA in Franciscan Studies from the UK, but a significant part of what I bring to peace and conflict studies is the experience of living in a religious community for nearly thirty years. Despite the best intentions, it doesn’t always work out being a peacemaker, since many reasons, human and institutional, make that difficult. The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies provides me with a stimulating environment to develop my research project. I am constantly amazed at the experience and knowledge of our staff and my fellow students. Although this centre has been operating for only a few years it’s more than just a “National” centre and has truly become “International”.
It’s a challenge for me and sometimes a daunting one as I contemplate all that still remains between where I am and the end goal of a PhD but I feel well supported not only by the department but also by the university. And to have come back to the university where I laboured as an undergrad about 35 years ago is a very special thing.
A number of years ago I did some work with the Center for Reflective Community Practice at MIT. When I moved to Sri Lanka in 2003 I started to volunteer with the Nonviolent Peaceforce and eventually becoming the Learning and Evaluation Officer for the NP Sri Lanka project. This allowed me to combine my fascination with how people learn from their work and use that learning, with unarmed civilian peacekeeping. Returning to the USA from Sri Lanka, I worked as a consultant on program design and planning, and learning and evaluation.
I am currently working on a PhD focused on effective peacekeeping. This combines the experience working for the Nonviolent Peaceforce in Sri Lanka with my interest in how people learn from their work. My working thesis title is “Conceptualizing effectiveness in peacekeeping operations: Exploring the perspectives and experiences of individual frontline peacekeepers.” Soldiers, police, civilian unarmed peacekeepers and civilians who serve as peacekeepers have knowledge regarding what makes for effective peacekeeping, based on their experiences. There has been little research directed toward this focus. I hope to contribute to improved peacekeeping by making this knowledge more visible and usable. As the number of peacekeeping missions increase and the context of the missions become less stable, it is important to capture the learning from the field.
I am a PHD candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Otago- National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Dunedin, New Zealand. I hold two Masters Degrees, the first one in Population Studies from Tribhuvan University (TU) Kathmandu, Nepal in 2005 and second one in International Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame, USA in 2010.
I have a decade of professional and leadership experience in the areas of democracy, human rights, peacebuilding, migration, and youth.My work in Nepal has been in a leadership and managerial role in both national and international organizations. From July-December 2009, I got a practical action opportunity to work at Catholic Relief Service, Mindanao, Philippines, where I was engaged in a research project on third party intervention in the Mindanao peace process and the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of peace education program in Mindanao, Philippines.
As part of my PhD dissertation,I am currently focused on a research project that seeks to explain the coordination dynamics of third party intervention in conflict-affected countries. Research demonstrates the levels, trends, effectiveness, and other dimensions of coordination and cooperation among peace interveners and the problems and prospects associated with multiparty intervention in the resolution of a conflict. This research will be primarily based on field research in Nepal and the Philippines.
After undergraduate and Honours studies at the University of Canterbury, coupled with a year volunteering in Africa, I sought out an institute that would add to my academic endeavours within conflict studies. Recommendations from current students convinced me I would find such a provider at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Dunedin.
My experience working in the Aid Industry in Southern Africa fostered a strong interest in New Zealand’s international development assistance. This was enhanced after learning that the primary sponsor, NZAid, was to cut funds to an NGO I worked for in Zambia. Consequently, I have focused my research on New Zealand’s official development assistance and its effect on peacebuilding. I hope to measure what effect, if any, our aid money has upon peacebuilding in the Pacific region.
Now half way through my thesis I can see why the Centre is quickly growing in popularity. The diverse nature of the Centre creates an incredibly interesting and stimulating environment. Further, the truly interdisciplinary approach means the Centre embraces an array of research and students from all paths.
Shortly after learning of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and meeting with Professor Clements, I enrolled in the Centre’s Master of Arts programme. I was immediately impressed by the diversity of research being conducted at the Centre, and the way it embraced interdisciplinary approaches. These qualities reflect the diverse cultural, academic and practical backgrounds of the Centre’s staff and students. The Centre provides an encouraging and collaborative environment, which promotes the sharing of research, opinions and ideas.
My masters research investigated the impact of hydro-development on the peace and conflict environment of the Mekong Basin. More specifically, it explored how the continued development of the Mekong’s water resources might drive conflict both between, and within the riparian nations. In a nutshell, I found that hydro-development is unlikely to drive violent interstate conflict, due to the shared interests of Mekong states in regional hydro-development. It is likely, however, that continued hydro-development will increasingly drive conflict within nations, as it will devastate livelihoods and increase societal tensions.
Scott holds an LLB (Otago) and an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies.
Pearse-Smith, S. W. D. (2012) Lower Mekong Basin hydropower development and the trade-off between the ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ sectors: ‘Out with the old, in with the new’, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 10 (23): 1. Retrieved from: http://japanfocus.org/-Scott_-W__D__Pearse_Smith/3760
Pearse-Smith, S. W. D. (2012) The impact of continued Mekong Basin hydropower development on local livelihoods, Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(1): 73-86. Retrieved from: http://journals.cdrs.columbia.edu/consilience/index.php/consilience/article/view/243/99
Coming from an undergrad in comparative religions I was already open to the idea of Peace and Conflict Studies. During my postgraduate diploma I extended my interest in human security and I carried through with NCPACS into the Masters programme by thesis only. This allowed me to consider international law and responsibilities of the state during an international conflict in relation to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. The research component allowed me to ask questions that I was interested in, for example: What are civilian rights during a state of emergency? How does R2P fit in with standard customary international norms and law and can states derogate from our basic civil and political rights during a civil uprising?
NCPACS has helped me strengthen my research abilities as well as given me a firm understanding of how the world works in relation to conflict, conflict resolution, NGOs, international law and interventions including NATO and the UN. This knowledge undoubtedly will influence my work in the future.
Angelina Mukono Mnyanyi
After gaining a Bachelor of Law (LLB) From University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I did my Postgraduate Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University (2010). I am now working as an Advocate/ Budget Advisor with OUSA student Support Centre, and also doing a Masters with Peace and Conflict Studies.
What I really like about the programme is for me to be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in a wide range of areas of conflict both micro and macro which for sure can be attractive to potential employers in my near future. I thoroughly enjoyed my programme and particularly liked the way that the Centre for Peace Studies papers opened my eyes to different ways of viewing the world. The papers were both interesting and relevant to my future careers, and the work placements gave me the first opportunity to test myself on my mediation skills.
I really enjoyed the contact with my lecturers, all of whom were so approachable and helpful in terms of learning and discussing career paths. I love every moment I spent with my classmates.
I also like the fact that my programme allows me to work in different countries. I will always be thankful for the knowledge, skills, confidence, and support I received during my time at Otago. I recommend the programmes to anyone considering a career in Peace and Conflict.