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.
- Ozerdem, A., Thiessen, C., & Qassoum, M. (Eds.). (2017). Conflict Transformation and the Palestinians: Dynamics of Peace and Justice in Occupied Territory. London: Routledge. (In press).
- Rade, M., Thiessen, C., Huber, M. (2014). Building a Better Budget: Assessing National Budgeting Efficiency and Service Delivery in the Ministries of Education and Public Health. Kabul: Equality for Peace and Democracy/British Academy.
- Thiessen, C. (2017). The Evolution of Conflict Transformation Theory and Practice in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In A. Ozerdem, C. Thiessen & M. Qassoum (Eds.). Conflict Transformation and the Palestinians: Dynamics of Peace and Justice in Occupied Territory. London: Routledge. (In press).
- Thiessen, C. & Darweish, M. (2016 - Under blind review by an academic journal). Conflict resolution and asymmetric conflict: Resistance to planned contact interventions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
- Thiessen, C & Byrne, S. (2016 - Under blind review by an academic journal). The Globalised Nature of Inequality, Poverty, and Violence in Developing Nations: Untangling the Debate.
- Thiessen, C. (Forthcoming 2016), Peacebuilding impact in Kyrgyzstan: Endline Survey for the Kyrgyzstan Peacebuilding Priority Plan, Bishkek: UNDP Kyrgyzstan.
- Thiessen, C. (2015). The Dilemmas of Local Ownership of Upper-Level and Grassroots Peace Processes in Afghanistan. In A. Ozerdem & S. Lee (Eds.) Local Ownership of International Peacebuilding. London: Routledge.
- Thiessen, C. (2015), Measuring Peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan: Baseline Survey for the Kyrgyzstan Peacebuilding Priority Plan, Bishkek: UNDP Kyrgyzstan.
- Thiessen, C. (2014) Local ownership of peacebuilding in Afghanistan: Shouldering Responsibility for Sustainable Peace and Development. New York: Lexington Books.
- Thiessen, C. (2013) 'Local Ownership in International Peacebuilding by North American Mennonite Organisations'. In Peace on Earth: The Role of Religion in Peace and Conflict Studies Ed. by Matyok, T., Senehi, J., and Byrne, S. New York: Lexington Books.
- Thiessen, C. (2014) 2013 Progress Report on the Dutch Integrated Police Training Mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan, Cooperation for Peace and Unity, Kabul.
- Thiessen, C. (2011) 'Emancipatory Peacebuilding: Critical Responses to (Neo)liberal Trends'. In Critical Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies: Implications for Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy. Ed. by Matyok, T., Byrne, S., and Senehi, J. New York: Lexington Books.
- Thiessen, C. (2011) 'NGOs and Post-Violence Community Development: Holistic, Multi-track Ventures in Afghanistan'. Development in Practice 21 (7), 930-942.
- Thiessen, C., Byrne, S., Skarlato, O., and Tennent, P. (2010) 'Civil Society Leaders and Northern Ireland’s Peace Process: Hopes and Fears for the Future'. Humanity and Society 34 (1), 39-63.
- Byrne, S., Fissuh, E., Thiessen, C., Irvin, C., and Tennent, P. (2010) 'The Role of the International Fund for Ireland and the European Union Peace II Fund in Reducing Violence and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland'. International Politics 47, 250.
- Thiessen, C. (2008) Exploring NGO Educational Project Work: Working Towards Healing in Afghanistan and other Conflict-Affected Nations. Germany: VDM Verlag.
- Byrne, S., Thiessen, C., Fissuh, E., Irvin, C., and Hawranik, M. (2008) 'Economic Assistance, Development, and Peacebuilding: The Role of the IFI and EU Peace II Fund in Northern Ireland'. Civil Wars 10 (2), 108-126.
- 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).