Human Security Approaches to Peacebuilding

The second Fletcher Ideas Exchange featured engaging speeches around the theme of a human security approach to peacebuilding – why it matters and what are the challenges.  Talks centered on perceptions of legitimacy in the governance of conflict-affected and fragile states, as well as aspects of human security, development, and peacebuilding.

The April 14, 2016 Fletcher Ideas Exchange is sponsored by the Henry J. Leir Institute, in collaboration with, the Edward R. Murrow Center. The event was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Faculty Speakers

Mihir Mankad

Master of Ceremonies

Mihir Mankad is a Lecturer in Communications at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and currently leads communication and media initiatives at the school. His course, The Arts of Communication, has become one of the highest enrolled courses at the school, with over 350 course enrollees in just 3 years. Mihir’s career spans a diverse array of fields, including media, management consulting, and nonprofit leadership. Previously, Mihir served as a national television anchor with top channels in India such as NDTV Business, Zee Sports, and the public broadcaster Doordarshan. In addition to hosting prime-time news bulletins, he was involved in anchoring three of the most viewed television events in Indian history, including the 2008 Olympics, 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, and the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Mihir’s pre-television career includes management stints at McKinsey, Bain, and The Clinton Foundation, where he was in charge of the country operations of the health access initiative. Mihir holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from Stanford University, where he was on the national championship tennis team, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, and a mid-career MPA as a Mason Fellow from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Eileen Babbitt

Director, Institute for Human Security
Professor of Practice of International Conflict Analysis and Resolution


Eileen F. Babbitt is Professor of Practice of International Conflict Management, Director of the Institute for Human Security, and Co-Director of the Program on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School. She is also a Faculty Associate of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. Her research interests include identity-based conflicts, coexistence and trust-building in the aftermath of civil war, and the interface between human rights concerns and peace building. Her practice as a facilitator and trainer has included work in the Middle East, the Balkans, and with the United Nations, U.S. government agencies, regional inter-governmental organizations, and international and local NGOs. Before joining Fletcher, Professor Babbitt was Director of Education and Training at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. and Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.  Professor Babbitt holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD from MIT.

Diana Chigas

Professor of Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Diana Chigas is Professor of Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Since 2003, she has also been Co-Director, Reflecting on Peace Practice, CDA-Collaborative Learning Projects, where she works with practitioners and policy makers globally to improve the effectiveness of peacebuilding strategies, programming, and monitoring and evaluation. Prior to joining CDA, Diana worked as a facilitator, trainer, and consultant in negotiation, dialogue, and conflict resolution, at Conflict Management Group, a non-governmental organization founded by Harvard Law School Professor Roger Fisher. Her work included development of strategies, training, and advice on preventive diplomacy in the OSCE; facilitation of inter-ethnic dialogue in Cyprus; “track two” discussions in El Salvador, in South Africa, Ecuador, and Peru; and in the Georgia/South Ossetia peace process. Chigas earned her B.A. from Yale University, a MALD from The Fletcher School, and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Her Talk:

Taking the Blinders Off:  Time to Question how Aid is used to Fight Corruption

The international community has made combatting corruption a global priority in the Sustainable Development Goals.  But despite significant international assistance for anti-corruption efforts over the last 15 years, the results are meagre.  Why?  And what can be done to improve the effectiveness of anti-corruption strategies in fragile and conflict affected states?

Dyan Mazurana

Research Director, Feinstein International Center
Associate Research Professor


Dyan Mazurana, PhD, is a Research Director at the Feinstein International Center and an Associate Research Professor at The Fletcher School. Her areas of focus include women’s and children’s rights during armed conflict and post conflict, serious crimes and violations committed during armed conflict and their effects on victims and civilian populations, armed opposition groups, and remedy and reparation. She works with a number of governments, UN agencies and NGOs on these areas. Mazurana has published over 70 scholarly and policy books and articles. Mazurana has carried out research in Afghanistan, the Balkans, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and Nepal.

Her Talk:

Delivering Basic Services to Build State Legitimacy: Is It What You Do or How You Do It?

Believing that providing basic services -- health care, education, and water  -- leads to people to perceive their local and central governance as more legitimate, donors last year spent $36 billion on basic services, social infrastructure and material relief in the world’s most fragile nations.  Professor Dyan Mazurana draws on research in five conflict affected countries to challenge this policy assumption.

Ian Johnstone

Professor of International Law


Ian Johnstone, Professor of International Law, served in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of United Nations before joining Fletcher. He is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook on International Organizations. He is currently on the editorial boards of Global Governance journal and International Organizations Law Review. Johnstone, recipient of the James L. Paddock Teaching Award in 2005, teaches courses in international organizations and peace operations. He continues to serve as a regular consultant to the United Nations, and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University. A citizen of Canada, he holds an LL.M degree from Columbia University and JD and B.A. degrees from the University of Toronto.

His Talk:

The Crisis of Legitimacy in UN Peace Operations

UN peace operations are facing a crisis of legitimacy. From a dysfunctional Security Council to hostile host governments and the challenge of protecting civilians in asymmetric threat environments, the problems keep mounting.

Alex de Waal

Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation

Alex de Waal is the Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation. Considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarly work and practice has also probed humanitarian crisis and response, human rights, HIV/AIDS and governance in Africa, and conflict and peace-building. His latest book is The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa (Polity Press, 2015). Following a fellowship with the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard (2004-06), he worked with the Social Science Research Council as Director of the program on HIV/AIDS and Social Transformation, and led projects on conflict and humanitarian crises in Africa (2006-09). During 2005-06, de Waal was seconded to the African Union mediation team for Darfur and from 2009-11 served as senior adviser to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan. He was on the list of Foreign Policy’s 100 most influential public intellectuals in 2008 and Atlantic Monthly’s 27 “brave thinkers” in 2009. 

His Talk:

Practical Security: Context Driven SSR Intervention

For over 20 years, we have all have been trying, unsuccessfully to help post-war countries transform and reform their security sectors. To understand and move beyond this failure, we must look at the politically realities in post-conflict states and amend our approach to match conditions on the ground.

Guest Speakers

Sarah Hearn

Sarah Hearn is a Senior Fellow at the New York University Center on International Cooperation. She has been closely involved in shaping international policy on peace and development with the G7, NATO, OECD and the UN.  Prior to joining NYU in 2013, Sarah worked for the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, London, New York and Uganda. Sarah has written extensively on peacebuilding, fragility, development and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and was lead author for the OECD's States of Fragility 2015: Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions and the 2016 Independent Review of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Deutsche Welle, the Guardian UK, Radio France Internationale, El Universal, The Wire, World Politics Review and The Broker, among others. Sarah holds an M.Phil. (2002) from the University of Oxford and a B.A. Hons. (1999) from University College London. In 2012, she was awarded the OBE for services to international development.

Her Talk:

A Better Deal for Fragile States?

Fragile states demanded a new deal with the international system for ending conflict and poverty. But did they get a better deal, and is it working?

 Dr. Nahid Bhadelia


Director of Infection Control and Medical Response at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (J99, F05, M05)




Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, MD, MA is an infectious diseases physician, Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Director of Infection Control and Medical Response at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) at Boston University (BU). Her specialization is in infection control issues related to emerging pathogens and highly communicable infectious diseases. She is the director of the medical response program for BU’s biosafety level 4 laboratories at the NEIDL, one of 6 such programs in the US.

Her Talk:

Health Security and Emerging Infections: What One Anecdote From The Ebola Epidemic Can Teach Us

The Ebola epidemic was a litmus test for international response to pandemics and revealed immense chasms in our preparedness. A story about one particular failure during the 2014-2015 epidemic reveals how human security approach can help us better respond to future emerging infectious diseases threats.

Student Speakers

Samantha Karlin

Samantha is a MALD 2016 student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, studying Gender Analysis in International Studies. 

Her Talk:

Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence: Unfinished Business

It is globally acknowledged that sexual violence during war needs to be addressed. However, a crucial piece is missing from responses to rape and sexual violence- the fact that rape can cause pregnancy. Justice for women who become pregnant as a result of rape goes far beyond trials for perpetrators- what happens to children born of rape? And how is the United States actively denying these women reproductive justice and preventing societies torn apart by wartime rape from rebuilding?

Basma Alloush



Basma is a MALD 2016 student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, studying Human Security and Transitional Justice.

Her Talk:

From State Oppressed, To State Free.

March 15, 2011 was the day of rage in Syria. It was the day that began our strife to end the silence.

Sophia Dawkins

Sophia Dawkins is a Ph.D. student researching peace process design and political violence. Prior to her Ph.D. Sophia was Senior Program Officer at Conflict Dynamics International, a not-for-profit organization that specializes in mediation support, peacebuilding, and humanitarian policy development. In addition to managing CDI’s research team, her work focused on South Sudan, where she supported South Sudanese across the political spectrum to develop policy options aimed at addressing political drivers of violence. A graduate of the University of Oxford, Sophia has also worked on grassroots peacebuilding in conflict-affected contexts, including the Abyei Area of Sudan. She has published on peace processes in the peer-reviewed European Journal of International Law, and presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, American Society of International Law Annual Meeting, and Rift Valley Institute, amongst other venues.  In 2013, she was named to the Diplomatic Courier list of 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under 33 years of age.

Her Talk:

Murder on the Dancefloor: Violence, Politics and Peacemaking in South Sudan

Empirics suggest that peace processes yield more violence than if they had never happened. So, why do belligerents and mediators keep turning up when they know negotiations are a bad idea? I respond by telling the story of peacemaking in South Sudan since December 2013. Starting in the Gaslight discothèque of the Sheraton, Addis Ababa, at the signing ceremony of the first of eight ceasefires agreed and broken in eighteen months, I explain how peace processes offer sites for political violence – and what we might do about it.