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Cross-Border Conflict Research Program at Geneva Peace Week 2022

As part of our participation in the UK government-funded Cross Border Conflict: Evidence, Policy, and Trends (XCEPT) program, The Asia Foundation’s Conflict & Fragility team organized an in-person workshop at Geneva Peace Week, on November 4, 2022. The Local, people-focused policymaking: Addressing securitization in conflict zones in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia session brought together a panel of researchers from across the different geographic areas in which the program operates. Panelists shared a range of insights from their experiences undertaking research in conflict-affected border regions, emphasizing the need for local knowledge and analysis to be reflected in international peacebuilding initiatives. Engaging with and amplifying ground-level research supports a more nuanced approach to understanding and responding to complex conflict contexts, counteracting state-centric policymaking practices that can end up neglecting the experiences and needs of communities in border regions. To address these challenges, the workshop focuses on sharing tools for integrating local voices as an indispensable component in policymaking that actively seeks to mitigate conflict and promote peaceful societies. The session emphasized two peacebuilding objectives: first, by showing how local knowledge and analysis are vital for building an understanding of conflicts that is reliable and robust, accurately reflects the effects on local communities, and captures diverse and marginalized perspectives; and second, by providing real-world examples for developing local voices in policymaking settings, and for integrating community experiences into effective and representative policy decisions.

Together with the Rift Valley Institute and Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center, our partners in the XCEPT program, we put together a short video titled In their own words: XCEPT researchers on the importance of local perspectives of conflict, spotlighting a few of the many diverse and talented researchers that work on the XCEPT program across the globe.

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