Summer School: South Sudan – Lessons for Peace & Conflict Studies?

How can peace and conflict studies contribute to understanding the conflict dynamics in South Sudan, and how can insights from South Sudan advance academic research? swisspeace’s 5-day summer school provides an overview of current academic and policy debates on conflict resolution, peacebuilding and statebuilding and critically reflects on their relevance for the South Sudan context.

What are the main developments in South Sudan since independence in 2011? Who are the key actors and what are the main drivers of conflict today? How does the ongoing armed conflict relate to previous civil wars and what are lessons learned from peace and state building engagement taking place prior to independence? What role has the recent IGAD-led mediation process played? How can the root causes of the conflict be addressed and what is the role of external actors in this process?

Participants will focus on specific topics relevant to the South Sudan context including state formation, local governance, peace mediation, civil society, and responsibility to protect. They will work with case studies, conduct interviews with experts and reflect on scenarios for future developments in South Sudan. The swisspeace Summer School is one module of the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Civilian Peacebuilding of the University of Basel and swisspeace.

Prof. Jok Madut Jok, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Juba and Sudd Institute, Juba, South Sudan
Prof. Dan Large, School of Public Policy, Central European University
David Lanz, Head of Mediation program, swisspeace
Martina Santschi, Senior Researcher at the Statehood & Conflict program, swisspeace
Franziska Sigrist, swisspeace (course coordinator)

An eventful year for swisspeace and KOFF

swisspeace can look back on 2016 as an exciting year in which the new 2016-2020 strategy was implemented for the first time. The annual report focuses on discussing the key programs of mediation, statehood, and dealing with the past, while also covering its political and methodological areas. The guiding principle of this new strategy is the “light footprint”, which allows local organizations to bear most of the responsibility for the peacebuilding process, with swisspeace playing more of an advisory role. Using examples of cases in Colombia, Myanmar, and Tunisia, the annual report shows how this enables swisspeace to create space for discussion and consultation, without seeking the spotlight, and carry out effective and sustainable peace work.

The KOFF platform was mainly concerned with two burning questions in 2016: How can KOFF step up its political influence and how can it make better use of its international networks to carve out more space for peacebuilding and show greater innovation in this area? The 2016 annual report is devoted to answering these questions, particularly with the discussion concerning the arms trade in Switzerland, but also with regard to the importance and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for civil society. Effective peacebuilding requires new ways of thinking beyond the silos, and the KOFF platform is the perfect tool for this as it brings together almost 50 organizations whose missions and strengths cover different areas. The projects presented in the annual report underline this idea.