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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - Technical solutions to political problems? Examining the use and potential of inclusivity mechanisms in today’s peace processes

2nd December 2019, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Johanna Poutanen (Crisis Management Initiative)


In many of the recent peace processes, women’s inclusion in track 1 mediation has been operationalized through separate, women-specific commissions or advisory boards. These mechanisms have varied in their mandate, role, positioning and composition; and include for instance Women’s Advisory Board in Syria, Technical Advisory Board in Yemen and the Gender Sub-Commission in Colombia. Notwithstanding notable differences in design, virtually all of them were created as a result of determined advocacy by women’s groups and strong backing by international community.

Debates about such mechanisms have been rather polarized. Some highlight their potential in bringing forward diverse needs and priorities, while others see the mechanisms as relegating women to indirect roles with limited influence and distracting women’s movements from pursuing their seats at the negotiation table. Much of the discussion has focused on empirical and shared learning across contexts, but with relatively limited theoretical engagement. Considering that these mechanisms are relatively new and continue to be replicated, it is crucial to unpack the assumptions underpinning them. The seminar paper aims to address that gap by deepening theoretical reflection on the use and potential of such inclusivity mechanisms in today’s peace processes. As part of a broader research project of Mediation for the Twenty First Century, the paper seeks to advance both theoretical and practice-oriented thinking about the purpose, impact and modalities of inclusion in current mediation praxis.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues or students interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability). Alternatively please contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.