Welcome to my website. I am a seasoned scholar, policy adviser and practitioner with over two decades of experience working on and in conflict-affected and transitional settings. My focus lies on issues of peacebuilding and transformative social change, and the processes, institutions and relationships that forge robust social contracts and build societal resilience. I am based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I am an Associate Professor at the School of Governance at Witwatersrand University, and I direct Forging Resilient Social Contracts, a research and policy dialogue project. I am proud to have co-founded the internationally peer reviewed Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, and to be regularly collaborating with United Nations and other international organisations, conducting research and evaluation, facilitating strategic, policy-relevant processes and conducting trainings. This brings a strong evidenced based and practically grounded orientation to my scholarly work. For several years I have been deeply engaged in the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (New Deal) process, where I have the honor as serving as the first civil society Co-Chair of the New Deal Implementation Working Group. Click here to learn more about my profile. This website shares my work, offering perspective and insight into a range of thematic areas of scholarship, policy and practice that I'm engaged in, and hope you find resourceful. Please feel free to get in touch to share information, reflections and ideas for collaboration!
Sustaining Peace Blog Series:
Why the Social Contract for Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace?
As the United Nations reflects upon how it will meet its revamped and revitalized mandate to prevent conflict and sustain peace, catalyzed by twin Security Council/General Assembly Resolutions, some academics and policy-makers are reflecting on the relevance of the social contract as an actionable idea, a means to revitalize these agendas – particularly in contexts affected by violent conflict and fragility. While this is by no means a straightforward pursuit, it arguably is a vital one given the current state of crisis of many state-society social contracts, globally.
The social contract is a term no doubt familiar to all. It has roots in antiquity and is often dismissed for being too steeply rooted in traditional liberal thought. Yet as the world grapples with extreme challenges, and evermore resilient competing ideologies and traditions evolve, it is hard to contest the profound value underpinning the notion of the social contract. Simply put: we need basic agreements about how we can peaceably live together.
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Forging Coherence on Two Vital Agendas: Agenda 2030 and Sustaining Peace
Exciting movements are underway in and around the United Nations for those of us concerned with issues of peace, and the global agendas seeking to operationalize, and realize, new frameworks and revitalized agendas to ensure a better world for all. Over the last year we have seen significant movements to assess and reorient United Nations’ efforts towards greater commitments to sustaining peace and preventing conflict, as signified in April 27, 2016, twin Security Council/General Assembly Resolutions. We have also seen the adoption of new global development framework – Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – that for the first time places peace concerns prominently at its core. It does this on the one hand by placing peace one of five areas of critical importance identified in the Preamble, and by dedicating one of 17 goals to the topic of peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
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Recent courses taught