I am a seasoned scholar, policy adviser and practitioner with over two decades experience working on and in conflict-affected, fragile and transitional settings. My focus lies in understanding these contexts and how processes of peacebuilding and transformative social change unfold and can be better nurtured. I am based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I am an Associate Professor at the School of Governance in the University of Witwatersrand, while I also serve as an Associate Researcher at the German government’s Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). My current research is focused on how resilient and inclusive social contracts are forged in transitional settings, building upon a multi-country research and policy dialogue project that I directed from 2015-2018. I proudly co-founded the internationally peer reviewed Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, and I regularly collaborate with the United Nations and other international organisations, conducting research and evaluation, and facilitating strategic, policy-relevant processes and trainings. My bridging of scholarship, policy and practice allows me to offer a real world orientation to my scholarly work, and to apply robust methods and a wide knowledge of literature and evidence to my policy and practice work.
Supporting Resilient Social Contracts in Times of
Crisis: Lessons from COVID-19 (open access)
& Social Services to Peacebuilding
UN Inter-agency report (open access)
Forging Resilient Social Contracts
Phase I of our research and policy dialogue project Forging Resilient Social Contracts
came to an end with the launching of our work and policy dialogues, in cities around the
world (including Stockholm, New York, Washington DC, Bogotá, Sarajevo, and Harare), and
publishing of our work through numerous outlets. Find full project details on our webpage.
Resilient Social Contracts and Peace
Journal Special Issue (14:1)
This issue features five of our case studies and
an investigation into the role of inclusion in forging resilient social contracts. View journal issue and access complimentary opening article.
Resilient Social Contracts and Sustaining Peace
International Peace Institute (May 2018)
Watch one of our Phase I research launching / policy dialogue events that took place at the International Peace Institute in May 2018.
Latest media contributions
What to expect from a Biden administration in the MENA region, co-author Bernard Trautner
Building institutions and Strengthening Social Cohesion in Southern Africa, (1.25 hours into video). Democracy Now and Next, IDEA 25th Anniversary Global Virtual Conference. November 19-20, 2020.
Podcast: Social cohesion as a core dimension of building back better: MENA country reflections. Geneva Peacebuidling Week. November 2, 2020.
Moderator: Erin McCandless
International Cooperation with Fragile Mena Countries in the COVID-19 Context, with Bernard Trautner
Building Back Better Social Contracts
Interview on protests over the police killing of George Floyd
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
June 2, 2020
George Floyd: The eyes of the world are watching now, with Mary Hope Schwoebel
The Daily Maverick (May 2020)
The global protests over the death of George Floyd will not by themselves create and sustain change — action needs to be taken to change policies and practices, to forge new social contracts that better reflect the principles that we are all sufficiently willing to live by.
We need to forge a resilient social compact in our fight against Covid-19, with Darlene Miller
The Daily Maverick (May 2020) Op-ed (longer version)
The Conversation (May 2020) Op-ed (shorter version)
This piece reflects on overly securitised responses of the military and police in the context of COVID-19 in South Africa, and the need for greater attention to social cohesion and solidarity to inform efforts to address the pandemic.
Critical reflections on World Bank’s draft Fragility, Conflict and Violence Strategy
Bretton Woods Project (October 2019) Op-ed
This piece critically reflects on the World Bank’s draft fragility, conflict and violence strategy. It argues that while pathways are offered to address issues, the strategy doesn't go far enough to address the systemic challenges within the global development system itself.
Latest academic publications
Please contact me (email@example.com) for a complimentary copy if open access is not available. Researchgate.net & Academia.edu also offers complimentary access to publications.
Critical evolutions in the peacebuilding-development praxis nexus: Crisis and complexity, synergy and transformation, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 2021.
Article - open access
Peacebuilding-development nexus, Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, eds., O. Richmond and G. Visoka G., London: Palgrave, 2021.
Conflict-disaster nexus, Co-authored with Mary-Hope Schwoebel. Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, eds., O. Richmond and G. Visoka G., London: Palgrave, 2021.
Beyond liberal and local peacebuilding: Alternatives for addressing the complexity of conflict and fragility in Africa, Africa Insight, 49(3) December 2020.
Generations of Constructing Peace: The Constructivism Paradigm and Peacebuilding, Co-authored with Tim Donais, Peacebuilding paradigms: The impact of theoretical diversity on implementing sustainable peace, H.F. Carey, ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
Peacebuilding. Understanding International Conflict Management, eds. C. Butcher and M.C.
Hallward. London: Routledge, 2020.
Resilient social contracts and peace: Towards a needed re-conceptualisation
Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 14(1), 1-21, 2020.
Article - open access
Sustaining peace one day at a time: Inclusion, transition crises, and the resilience of social contracts, co-authored with Marie-Joelle Zahar Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 14(1), 119–138, 2020.