‘What can we learn from peace-building in Latin America?’ Working Group

Giulia Piccolino participated in the ‘What can we learn from peace-building in Latin America?’ workshop in Bogota, Colombia on 1-2 October 2018. The workshop was jointly organised by Universidad de Los Andes and German Institute for Global and Area Studies.

In light of the persistent high level of violence in Latin America despite the region being declared as “zone of peace”, the workshop disaggregated the concept of “peace”  that is in play, and explored the following questions:

  • In what way and what kind of Latin American institutions are more clearly linked to sustaining—and impeding—peace? How have they evolved over time and what is their role now?
  • What is the relationship between political regimes and the spur in violence?
  • To what extent can economic variables—in addition to the existence of illicit markets—explain particular aspects of Latin American violence—and peacefulness— today?


Between liberal and illiberal peacebuilding: the African experience (Giulia Piccolino)

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Africa has been a privileged laboratory of what scholars have called the ‘liberal peacebuilding’ paradigm (Duffield 2001; Paris 2004). Recurring elements of ‘liberal peacebuilding’ processes were: 1) high profile international involvement in the form of mediation, peacekeeping, governance aid, etc. (De Waal 2009); 2) the idea that peace reposes on formal agreements that bring all elites together, to be crafted through negotiations and power-sharing (Tull and Mehler 2005; Clapham 1998) ; 3) the promotion of elections and post-conflict democratization (Sisk and Reynolds 1998; Zürcher et al. 2013). The ‘liberal peacebuilding’ model has been applied to various degrees and with mixed success to countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and the DRC. However, liberal peacebuilding has never been the only form of post-conflict transition in post-Cold War Africa. In a number of countries, such as Rwanda and Angola, post-conflict transitions have been dominated by former insurgent movements emerging victorious from conflicts (Weinstein 2005; Lyons 2016; Piccolino 2018). This alternative model of ‘illiberal peacebuilding’ (de Oliveira 2011) has been based on a winner-take-all approach, authoritarian governance and limited international involvement. Illiberal peacebuilding seem today to benefit from a shift in the policies of Western states and of the UN, who are increasingly privileging counter-terrorism and supporting the consolidation of the central state in their military interventions (de Oliveira and Verhoeven 2018; Karlsrud 2018).


Visit here to find out more about the workshop and the questions discussed. Follow her twitter to keep up to date with her activities.


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