Parallel session
Policy innovations in peacebuilding

The prevention and resolution of armed conflict as well as the consolidation of peace have been subject to scholarly research for decades. This session brings together researchers that actively engage in policy-oriented research and work together with government, international and local actors to tackle some of the most pressing policy issues we face today.  Panelists will discuss insights from their work on which policies work, the inadvertent effects of some interventions and which strategies they implement to evaluate policies and understand how we can reduce violence, foster legitimacy of the state, and build peaceful societies.

Session videos

Frank Otchere | Andrew Shaver | Cyril Obi | Jessica Di Salvatore | Discussant and Q&A


Sam Rizk | Chair

Dr. Samuel Rizk is the Head of Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding & Responsive Institutions at the UNDP Crisis Bureau in New York. Prior to this position he has served as the Manager of the UNDP Sub-Regional Response Facility based in Amman, Jordan, supporting the organization's regional response to the Syria crisis, in close collaboration with UNHCR. From July 2015 to October 2017, Sam was the UNDP Country Director in Syria, and prior to that, from 2012 to 2015 he served as Senior Programme Advisor with the Regional Bureau for Arab States in New York. Sam also served as Peace and Development Advisor (PDA) in Sudan (2010-2012) and as Conflict Prevention Advisor in Yemen (2009-2010). 

Frank Otchere | Presenter

Frank is a Statistician and Demographer by training, and has worked on several Transfer Project impact evaluations, including Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. His research focuses on household production and expenditure decisions, determinants of household mobility and the intersections between demography and socio-economic wellbeing. Frank holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from UNC and was previously a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, Ghana.

Andrew Shaver | Presenter

Andrew Shaver is a scholar of sub-state conflict and the founding director of the Political Violence Lab. In his doctoral dissertation, he focused on particular emotional influences on the judgments and behaviors of combatants and civilians during organized conflict. In other research, Professor Shaver and his co-authors examine how refugees affect conflict likelihood and, separately, how conflict affects refugee outflows; how countries' terrain affects their likelihood of experiencing conflict; and how combatant harm to civilians' affects the latter's willingness to supply or withhold valuable information on insurgents and, separately, how intelligence provided by civilians during conflict influences conflict dynamics. Professor Shaver is currently engaged in research on the effects of drone warfare on insurgent violence and, separately, on how biases in media reporting may affect how governments, academics, and others understand conflict dynamics. 

Cyril Obi | Presenter

Cyril Obi is a program director at the Social Science Research Council, New York, where he leads the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa programs. His most recent book is, Developmental Regionalism and Economic Transformation in Southern Africa (Routledge, 2020), with Said Adejumobi. He is a recipient of a 2020 International Studies Association (ISA) Distinguished Scholar Award (Peace Studies Section).

Jessica Di Salvatore | Presenter

Jessica Di Salvatore is Associate Professor in Political Science and Peace Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Before joining PAIS, she was British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford (Department of Politics and International Relations), and associate member at the Nuffield College. She received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam (2017), and an MSc in Conflict Resolution from the University of Essex (2013). The core of her current research agenda concerns the political, economic and social impact of UN peace operations and their contribution to state-building and post-conflict development.

Hanna Tuominen | Discussant

Hanna Tuominen is a Helsinki University Lecturer in World Politics. Her research interests relate to EU foreign policy, values ​​and European identity. In addition, she studies Finnish EU policy and the Europeanisation of asylum policy.