Parallel session
Armed group dynamics

Understanding armed groups and their inner workings is key for building policies that can prevent escalation of organized violence and help consolidate peace once conflict has erupted. This session brings together leading scholars to discuss which factors explain why some armed groups can successfully initiate armed conflict, when and how they collaborate during conflict as well as how civilians shape armed groups’ behavior, and insurgent tactics. It will also expand on the pressing question of which and how policies can be implemented to help successfully dissolve armed groups such as popular DDR (disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration) programs. 


Austin Wright | Tarila Marclint Ebiede | Janet I. Lewis | Dan Watson


Katja Ahlfors | Chair

Katja Ahlfors is Director of the Centre for Peace Mediation at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. She was formerly Senior Advisor for the CMI (Crisis Management Initiative).

Austin Wright | Presenter

Austin L. Wright is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He is a faculty affiliate of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, and non-resident fellow of the Liechtenstein Institute. His research leverages microlevel data to study the political economy of conflict and crime in Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, and Iraq. His work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Niehaus Center for Global Governance, The Asia Foundation, and World Bank. 

Tarila Marclint Ebiede | Presenter

Tarila Marclint Ebiede is the Co-Founder of the Conflict Research Network West Africa (CORN West Africa). He is an Adjunct Professor at the Brussels School of Governance and a Visiting Lecturer in African Politics at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies, Belgium. Dr. Ebiede’s research focus is on reintegration of ex-combatants on people and communities, armed groups and local governance in violent contexts and peacebuilding.

Janet I. Lewis | Presenter

Janet Lewis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University in Washington, DC. From 2013-2018, she was Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Her research and teaching focus on political violence, ethnic conflict, rural social networks, and state formation, with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her book, How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond, was published in September 2020 with Cambridge University Press's Series on Comparative Politics. 

Dan Watson | Presenter

Dr Dan Watson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, where he researches elite networks and their effects on conflict in East Africa, as part of the EU-funded VERSUS project. He is also Senior Research for Sudan and South Sudan at ACLED. His research interests include post-conflict statebuilding; militarism; and the political economy of conflict.

Salvador Forquilha | Discussant

Salvador Forquilha is Director of IESE and Assistant in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Eduardo Mondlane University. He is senior researcher at the Research Group on Citizenship and Governance.