Security is a complex, flexible, and often problematic concept closely tied to the purposes and methods through which it is deployed and its accompanying discourses. There are several challenges associated with security, including the use of security as a form of violent protection, competition between the state and non-state armed groups as security providers, and the use of security discourses to legitimise forms of intervention that can put certain population groups at increased risk.
Despite its complexities, it is important to develop a shared understanding of security to facilitate the creation of future expectations, policy and program planning, and identification of opportunities for life projects, especially among marginalised populations. The meaning of security is highly dependent on context, shaped by factors such as the environment in which an individual lives, the social actors who interpret and give it meaning, the objectives pursued, and prevailing power relationships.
Power relationships can often perpetuate dominant notions of security as control and order, in contrast to more integrated perspectives that view security as the protection of rights, well-being, and access to fundamental goods. However, the use of security as a form of violent protection often leads to patterns of violence and human rights violations, resulting in increased insecurity. This highlights the interplay between security and trust, and the role that restorative justice processes can play in reducing the risk of renewed violence in the wake of human rights violations or other forms of insecurity.
© U.S. Department of State
TRUST & PEACE IN FRAGILE CONTEXTS
02 March 2023
11:00-12:00 (EST) / 16:00-17:00 (GMT)
Research Assistant Professor and Political Leadership Academy Director,
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Dr Charles E. Davidson is research faculty at George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution and directs its Political Leadership Academy. He is a scholar-practitioner of conflict resolution focusing on civil war, insurgency, and vulnerable populations. He has over a decade of experience in peacebuilding in war-torn countries, working most recently in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and previously in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, Colombia, and Burundi. Charles is also the director of the Carter School's Locally Led Peacebuilding initiative, which studies the intersection of scholarship and peace practice through local and international peacemaking partnerships.
Academic Coordinator of the Conflict & Fragility Management Programme,
Geneva Graduate Institute
Dr Margaux Pinaud is Academic Coordinator of the executive programmes in conflict and fragility management at the Center on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. Her teaching and research focus on conflict management in civil wars, with a specific interest in ceasefires, armed group behaviour and civil society participation. She is also involved in efforts to increase communication and cooperation between academia, policy and practice.
Gabriela Pérez Jiménez
Advisor and Workshop Designer for Coppel's philanthropic activity
President of the Comunidad de Sinaí addiction rehabilitation center
Gabriela Pérez Jiménez is a licensed professional in Family Sciences (Universidad Católica de Culiacán) with a Master's degree in Organizational Development and Change (Universidad de Monterrey) who holds various professional certifications in the realm of family and adolescent counselling and conflict resolution. She currently works for the Fundación Coppel as a pedagogical and methodological designer of workshop interventions and acts as the president of the Comunidad de Sinaí addiction rehabilitation center in Sinaloa.
Lead Research Fellow, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
Dr Sabine Kurtenbach is a peace and conflict researcher at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg and a honorary professor at Philipps Universität Marburg. Her research has a focus on transitions out of war and postwar institutional reforms in Latin America under a comparative perspective.
Peace as a process refers to reducing violence, realising human rights and establishing formal and informal institutions to help transform conflicts. The concept of peace is multi-faceted and positionally informed, meaning that it can mean different things for different people depending on their experiences and perspectives. Building peace requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account not only structural issues, but also the emotional and cultural dimensions of conflict.
In order to effectively build peace, the process must be intersectional, taking into account the experiences of all actors involved in the conflict. This means that policy and program initiatives must be tailored to address the unique needs of different groups, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Building peace also requires a transformational process with clear short, medium and long-term goals that address the physical, social, personal, state, organizational, and intergenerational aspects of conflict.
The process of building peace involves the restoration of trust at multiple levels, including trust in institutional structures and interpersonal trust. This is a complex and challenging process that is often hindered by breaches of agreements, the absence of truth, and the marginalization of certain populations. The power dynamics between different actors, including the elites, also play a significant role in the construction of peace. Despite these obstacles, building peace and restoring trust are critical imperatives for realising human rights, reducing violence, and transforming conflicts.