This plenary focuses on a critique of the mainstream "liberal peace" discourse: the theory behind the practice in conflict interventions from the "securitization" of Sierra Leone to the Nato "surge" in Afghanistan.
The Plenary is followed by a Commission session which picks up more in-depth issues raised in the plenary. Both the plenary and the Commission session provide opportunities to discuss alternatives which are grounded in the every day practices of local actors affected by violent conflict. They combine new theoretical perspectives and practitioners' experiences in order to develop options for alternative post-conflict peacebuilding approaches.
Instead of a traditional plenary, where papers are presented, the panel of academics and practitioners respond to a set of questions posed by the facilitator (and in addition by the audience), focusing on local responses and bottom-up approaches, reflecting on how externally imposed models of peacebuilding are hybridized, diverted and/or resisted. This format for the plenary aims at a more interactive approach that can also draw on expertise from the audience.
Professor Kevin Clements is Secretary-General of IPRA and Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand.
He was previously Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland; Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA; Peace Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra; and Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva. He has also served as Secretary-General of International Alert in London and as President of IPRA, President of the IPRA Foundation and Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association.
Alex Freitas Gusmao was born in a mountainous subsistence farming region of East Timor some time in the late 1960s. He became an organizer in the underground student resistance whilst undertaking a Bachelors degree in Indonesia. Gusmao was a founding member of Timor Aid, East Timor's largest local non-government organization, and was its CEO for five years. He now lectures at the National University of Timor Leste, whilst maintaining a very active involvement in a range of educational and community development organizations around the country.
He has a degree in Community Development from Victoria University, Melbourne, and has published a number of papers on local forms of peacebuilding and governance in East Timor.
Sue Ingram is a consultant on governance and state-building, who has most recently completed a publication for the World Bank and UNDP on stat-building in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Over the last decade, Ingram has worked variously as: Principal Governance Adviser to AusAID; head of the Machinery of Government pillar of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands; Chief of Staff to the UN Mission in Support of East Timor; and district administrator and later Director of Transition Planning in the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor. Prior to this, Ingram was a senior executive in the Australian Government.
Oliver Richmond is a Professor in the School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, UK, and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
His publications include Liberal Peace Transitions (with Jason Franks, Edinburgh University Press, 2009), Peace in International Relations (Routledge, 2008), The Transformation of Peace (Palgrave, 2005/7), Maintaining Order, Making Peace (Palgrave, 2002), and Mediating in Cyprus (Frank Cass, 1998). He is one of the editors of the Review of International Studies, and editor of the Palgrave book series, Rethinking Conflict Studies.