swisspeace is an action-oriented peace research institute with headquarters in Bern, Switzerland. It aims to prevent the outbreak of violent conflicts and to enable sustainable conflict transformation. swisspeace sees itself as a center of excellence and an information platform in the areas of conflict analysis and peacebuilding. We conduct research on the causes of war and violent conflict, develop tools for early recognition of tensions, and formulate conflict mitigation and peacebuilding strategies. swisspeace contributes to information exchange and networking on current issues of peace and security policy through its analyses and reports as well as meetings and conferences. swisspeace was founded in 1988 as the “Swiss Peace Foundation ” with the goal of promoting independent peace research in Switzerland. Today swisspeace engages about 35 staff members. Its most important clients include the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Its activities are further assisted by contributions from its Support Association. The supreme swisspeace body is the Foundation Council, which is comprised of representatives from politics, science, and the government. FAST – Early Analysis of Tensions and Fact-Finding FAST, swisspeace's early warning system, was developed in 1998 for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). In the meantime the Swedish, Austrian, Canadian, and US development agencies have joined what is now known as FAST International. FAST focuses on the early detection of critical political developments to allow for the prevention of violent conflicts or the mitigation of their consequences. FAST monitoring is, however, not limited to anticipating adverse developments: The system also highlights windows of opportunity for peacebuilding. Currently, FAST covers 25 countries in Central and South Asia as well as Africa and Europe. For more detailed information on FAST International, please refer to: www.swisspeace.org/fast.
interests and policies ; [revised versions of papers presented and discussed at the Conference on Small States Inside and Outside the EU, organized by the Swiss Peace Foundation in September 1997 near Berne]
Between 1867 and 1996, approximately 150,000 Aboriginal students went through one of 135 residential schools located across Canada. These schools were created and supported by both the Canadian government and churches. Though the outward goal of the Indian Residential School system had been to educate Aboriginal children, in reality the system was fraught with problems including systemic abuse, neglect, and poor quality of the education. The effects have been long lasting and profound, and continue to be felt today. In 2008, a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) was launched with the goals of gathering the testimony of former students, determining the complete history of the residential school system, and offer recommendations to aid in the road to reconciliation. In June 2015, the Canadian TRC published a summary of its final report on the Indian Residential School system. The report includes 94 recommendations and describes the Indian Residential School system as cultural genocide. This paper examines the resistance to the TRC by both the Canadian government and by Aboriginal Peoples. It argues that the government resisted in order to maintain its narrative of its relationship Aboriginal Peoples, and did so by making it difficult for the TRC to acquire the required documents and archival files. It will also argue that Aboriginal resistance can be explained by a lack of trust in the Canadian government, a sense of re-victimization, and the conception of the TRC.
This working paper offers a perspective on contemporary debates about state-formation, contributing to ongoing thinking about the role of conflict and specifically civil war in the emergence of different kinds of political orders. Based on a reconceptualization of the likely nature of the linkages between civil war and political order, the working paper develops a set of potential causal pathways linking common conditions of civil war to likely wartime changes in the political settlement and state institutions. In doing so, it aims to provide an organising framework for future research to explore conditions under which different pathways predominate and aims to offer an analytical tool to policy makers and researchers to consider potential impacts and consequences of violent conflict in contexts of concern.
This paper considers aspects of the relationship between policies promoting private sector investment and growth, and policies consolidating peace. It covers post-conflict transitions where external authorities play a major role. A core contemporary peacebuilding policy assumption is that stimulating economic recovery is vital to sustaining political settlements and social cohesion. Yet how do we respond when policies to stimulate investment and imperatives to consolidate peace lead to contradictory choices? The paper considers framing investment-promotion activities as quasi-regulatory in nature, given that external actors are shaping and influencing private sector impacts on peacebuilding. It reflects on ideas of "transitionalism" as a distinctive policy mindset during exceptional recovery periods. It addresses three questions: (1) what is distinctive about transitional approaches to influencing the ways that business actors may impact peacebuilding (compared with "routine" developmental settings)? (2) What is distinctive about promoting conflict-sensitive business activity and investment, and how might this require different priorities? (3) What is the proper balance in transitional policymaking between attracting investment to capital-starved settings, and requiring investment to be responsible? (author's abstract)
"Considering the value of archives for dealing with the past processes, especially for the establishment of collective memory and identity, this paper discusses the role of archives in situations of conflicting memories such as in the case of the official Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide. A crucial problem of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation are the divergent perceptions of what to consider as proper 'evidence', i.e. as objective, reliable, impartial or trustworthy sources of knowledge in order to prove the Armenian genocide. The aim of this paper is to show how in a general atmosphere of distrust or prejudiced credibility judgments, even technically reliable archival records will be perceived as unreliable and biased, lacking any evidentiary status to factually prove a genocide which is categorically denied. Therefore, this working paper discusses how claims to reliability, objectivity and other similar scientifically and epistemically relevant attributes are understood in archival science as well as memory studies, and emphasizes the problems related to their instrumentalization by political actors within the context of genocide denialism. The Turkish-Armenian context promises many important empirical as well as theoretical insights on the uses and misuses of these attributes, suggesting that measures ought to be taken beforehand to decrease intergroup prejudice and distrust toward the 'other', so that archives can be effective in the truth-finding process." (author's abstract)