The Statehood & Conflict program is home to three large research projects that look from different angles at how state and non-state institutions of social and political regulation are formed, how they change over time and how they interact with conflict. Two of them focus on state governance in conflict and post-conflict contexts, while a third one deals with the role of institutions in managing and regulating conflicts linked to changes in the environment. These projects are part of the NCCR North-South and the related ProDoc program on 'Global Change, Innovation, and Sustainable Development' and lead to a number of publications.

Research Projects


Project funded by NVO-WOTRO, 2016-2017

Perceptions of Governance - The Experience of Local Administrative Councils in Opposition-held Syria

Final Report: Download.

Mazen Gharibah, Bahjat Hajjar, Leila Hilal, Martina Santschi, Mazhar Sharbaji, Corinne von Burg, 2017

Perceptions of Governance - The Experience of Local Administrative Councils in Opposition-held Syria

Bern: swisspeace & LACU. Full report (English), Abstract (English), Full report (Arabic), Abstract (Arabic)

Project within the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC), 2013-2016

Researching Livelihoods and Services Affected by Conflict

swisspeace researcher Martina Santschi is conducting a research for the project Researching Livelihoods and Services Affected by Conflict together with Overseas Development Institute and the Feinstein International Center (Tufts University) with a particular focus on South Sudan.

Project funded by the GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG, 2014-2016

Security, Rebel Governance and the State in North Kivu, DRC (2006-2013)

In this project, swisspeace senior researcher Didier Péclard studies civil wars as seen as part and parcel of historical processes of state formation. He looks at how state institutions survive once war has broken out, but also takes into account the institutions put in place in areas beyond the control of the state, especially in those controlled by rebel movements. The case study focuses on security provision in North Kivu between 2006 and 2013. More information.

Project funded by the GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG, 2014-2015

Land Governance and Conflict Resolution in South Sudan

With this project, swisspeace researcher Martina Santschi, in collaboration with the University of Durham (UK), seeks to understand pastoralist conflicts and boundary disputes in South Sudan by locating these in broader questions of changing land rights and value. In particular, the project studies the question of how far this changing land economy is an underlying factor in disputes and conflicts in very different regions of South Sudan. More information.

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Academic Conferences and Teachings


Sara Hellmüller, Martina Santschi

War and State Formation in 20th-Century

Seminar, fall semester 2016, University of Basel. Details.

13-14 July 2016

Course on "Mediation in Somalia"

Dominik Balthasar taught a course on "Mediation in Somalia" at the Winter School of the Global South Mediation Unit (GSUM) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

4 - 8 April 2016

Course on Fragility, Conflict & Statebuilding

swisspeace conducted the 5-day course at the University of Basel. The course focused on the conceptual, policy and implementation challenges of statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Further information.

Dominik Balthasar

Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Paradigms, Pitfalls and Paths Ahead

Seminar, spring semester 2016, University of Basel. Details.

18 February 2016

Congress on Transforming Worldviews

Dominik Balthasar gave a lecture on „Friedens- und Staatsbildung in Somaliland: wechselhaft, gegensätzlich, ungewiss“ during the congress „Transforming worldviews – zivilgesellschaftliche Friedensansätze am Horn von Afrika und in Burundi“ in Bad Boll, Germany. The event was organized by the ev. Akademie Bad Boll in collaboration with Dr. phil. Wolbert G.C. Smidt from the Mekelle University in Ethiopia.

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