Coventry University | Chuck Thiessen

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Dr. Chuck Thiessen

Research Fellow in Peacebuilding

My Research Vision

I am quite concerned with the growing dissatisfaction with, and local resistance to, internationally directed peacebuilding interventions across the globe. It appears that some of this discontent results from the international-domestic relationship in these war-affected contexts. Thus, I am interested in contributing to current peacebuilding literature by exploring potential revisions to current peacebuilding practice and agendas that ensures increased local ownership of peacebuilding activities. I aim to provide an active voice to on-the-ground development and peacebuilding leaders and local populations in my research.


Dr. Chuck Thiessen is a scholar and practitioner whose academic research has focused on international peacebuilding processes in Afghanistan, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Northern Ireland and other war-torn contexts. He is currently interested in:

  • The ethics of international intervention in contexts of war with a special focus on the way global peacebuilding norms confront local values, traditions and institutions;
  • The way in which ‘rising power’ interveners in post-war contexts relate to traditional (Western) peacebuilding actors;
  • The dilemmas of internationally-sponsored conflict resolution in contexts of asymmetric power relations.
  • International peacebuilding/development project design, management, and impact assessment.

Dr. Thiessen is a mixed methods specialist and has consulted for the United Nations and several international and local organisations in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, and has managed a variety of peacebuilding and development projects in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Palestine, and Turkey. He has recently completed, as co-principle investigator, a European Commission FP7 Marie Curie project, ‘Perspectives of Conflict Transformation from the Middle East and Europe’ (CTMEE). Dr. Thiessen teaches on CTPSR’s MA in Peacebuilding and MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. Prior to his current position, Dr. Thiessen worked as the Research Manager for a peacebuilding NGO in Kabul, Afghanistan.



  • Investigating Trust in Turkey’s Intervention in Somalia: This research project investigates levels of ‘vertical’ trust and distrust between local populations and leaders in Turkish and established interveners (UK, US, EU) in Somalia; and (2) explores levels of ‘horizontal’ trust and distrust between Turkish and established interveners in Somalia.
  • The Dilemmas of Dialogue in Palestine/Israel: This research reflect upon a series of face-to-face interviews conducted with Israeli and Palestinian conflict resolution practitioners who either support or resist planned contact initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Perspectives of Conflict Transformation from the Middle East and Europe: CTMEE is a European Commission funded project that began in June 2012 as a partnership between Coventry University, Kadir Has University and the Arab American University in Jenin. The goal of the project is to jointly explore what types of conflict transformation mechanisms are being utilised in Turkey and Palestine and how these mechanisms engage with understandings and practices of conflict transformation in Europe. A prominent sub-theme in CTMEE is the role of youth in conflict transformation, which is motivated by demographic youth bulges and recent political conflict in both Turkey and Palestine. CTMEE research is investigating how youth can play a constructive role in peacebuilding in both contexts.
  • Ongoing assessment of the Integrated Police Training Mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan: This broad assessment of Dutch police training and justice development work in northern Afghanistan addresses four thematic areas: (1) strengthening the capacity of the Afghan civilian police; (2) improving cooperation between the Afghan civilian police and the judicial system, particularly prosecutors; (3) improving the capacity of the Afghan judicial system; and (4) boosting the public awareness and accessibility of the country’s rule of law institutions. 
  • Strategic Conflict Assessment of Kunduz Province: Conducted with Cooperation for Peace and Unity (Kabul, Afghanistan), this conflict analysis research identifies: (1) Forces promoting violent conflict and/or peace; (2) Sources and structures of tension and/or conflict; (3) Actors on the community, district, province and even potentially on national and international level who are agents of violent conflict and actors who are agents of peace and stability. It also identifies the incentives, interests, and needs of the different actors and their power base; and (4) Dynamics of the local conflict.
  • Afghanistan National Budget Assessment, Monitoring and Execution Process Analysis: Conducted with Equality for Peace and Democracy (Kabul Afghanistan), this research project identifies key issues affecting national budget planning and execution processes in Afghanistan. The research explores how the national budget is changing social services delivery, and investigates local perceptions of programme delivery.
  • Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building Skills Advanced Certificate Programme: Presented in partnership with Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • The role of international economic aid in development and peacebuilding processes in Northern Ireland: This research investigates the role of international economic aid in development and peacebuilding processes in Northern Ireland. This research was conducted by Dr Sean Byrne (University of Manitoba) and was funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
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Research Fellow in Peacebuilding

Building: IV5, Technology Park
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