Learning From History: Kaufman Earns Grant to Continue Post-Conflict Studies

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The United States Institute of Peace (US IP) has awarded a more than $100K grant to Dr. Joyce Kaufman in support of her collaborative research project, “Women and Post-conflict Transformation: Lessons of the Past, Implications for the Future,” which is intended to result in recommendations for the disarmament, demobilization, and social reintegration of former female combatants in post-conflict zones around the world.

Kaufman, political science professor and Director for Whittier’s Center for Engagement with Communities, is leading the research team composed of fellow international scholars, as well as Dr. Kristen Williams of Clark University, her collaborator on three published books.

According to Kaufman, this project directly supports USIP’s mission “to improve the theory and practice of conflict resolution and peace-building” by addressing questions pertaining to women during post-conflict reconciliation. This project builds on her earlier research on women and conflict, including understanding women’s political activism as a response to conflict situations.

The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration into society (“DDR”) of former combatants are widely recognized as an essential part of ending violent conflict.“While the DDR process as it applies to male combatants has been widely studied, little attention has been paid to the process in relation to women who have engaged in violence,” said Kaufman.

“Their experiences often differ from those of men, and the inclusiveness of the DDR process affects the quality of peace. This project will address the situation of women in relations to DDR, provide practical recommendations for policymakers, and will result in an edited volume that combines theoretical understanding of the issue with specific case studies.”

Over the next two years Kaufman and Williams will be using a multipronged approach of traditional academic research, interviews, meetings, and discussions to examine what role(s) women have played in the DDR processes.

The United States Institute of Peace is the country’s global conflict management center. Created by Congress to be independent and nonpartisan, USIP works to prevent, mitigate and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means.