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Peripheral Vision Spring 2023: Localizing Conflict Responses in Contested Areas

Program Year: 2023

In the development sector, centers of power have historically been rooted in the global north, while global south partners are often limited to supporting or implementation roles. This inequity extends to the research profession, where local researchers may be prevented from accessing resources, decision-making, and credit for their work

Peripheral Vision: Views from the Borderlands is the X-Border Local Research Network’s biannual news bulletin, exploring new and emerging issues across the program’s focus regions of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. This podcast edition looks at how the localization agenda, a prominent feature of current humanitarian and development thinking, can be applied to research. The Asia Foundation’s Nathan Shea speaks with three local researchers currently leading data collection and analysis within conflict-affected regions of Bangladesh, Somalia, and Syria. Their discussion delves into the intricacies of effectively including local communities living in areas of study while offering perspectives on enhancing localization within the realm of research. 

Since 2018, The Asia Foundation has been working with the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center, the Rift Valley Institute, and their local research partners in the X-Border Local Research Network, part of the UK government-funded XCEPT program. The initiative seeks to produce research that informs more effective policymaking and programming interventions in contested border regions of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. 

A core objective of the Local Research Network is to emphasize the need for local knowledge and analysis in international responses to conflict and support for peacebuilding. Engaging with and amplifying ground-level research supports a more nuanced understanding of complex conflict contexts, counteracting state-centric policymaking that can end up neglecting the needs of communities in border regions. Local knowledge is critical for building reliable and robust datasets that accurately reflect the experiences and perspectives of local communities.  

Learn more about our work with the X-Border Local Research Network.  

Disclaimer: The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of The Asia Foundation or the UK government. 

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