Laura’s research investigates the contributions of local actors in efforts to prevent violent conflict. Her social action research projects build supportive partnerships with community groups in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, enabling targeted local responses to early signs of violence. She works with civil society groups, churches and mosques to identify forms of conflict prevention that build on local people’s existing capabilities and grounded understanding.
Laura’s field experience includes research in Nigeria, Solomon Islands, South East Turkey, Israel/Palestine, and Iraqi Kurdistan. She also teaches an annual summer school in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution hosted by Kadir Has University in Istanbul.
Laura currently implements projects funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (on faith-based conflict prevention in Nigeria and Solomon Islands), the British Council (on Islamic NGOs responding to the Syria crisis), Making All Voices Count (on linking warning and response in conflict prevention) and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.
Previously Laura was the institutional lead for peacebuilding for the Anglican Alliance, an international development and advocacy organisation working with local church partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She holds an MA in Conflict Studies & Human Rights from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands.
- From Early Warning to Response in Conflict Prevention: Transforming Conflict Through Citizen Engagement: Working with local peacebuilding partners in Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa, this 18-month project is a collaboration with ACTION, a South African civil society organisation. The research will examine and seek to strengthen feedback loops between government and citizens and to increase local level early warning, early response and long term peacebuilding. It is funded by the Making All Voices Count consortium.
- Faith-based Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Scoping Project: This ongoing research project is a collaborative effort with the international Anglican network of churches, including our partners at Coventry Cathedral, the Anglican Alliance and the Office of The Archbishop of Canterbury. It seeks to identify potential entry points for faith groups in conflict prevention activity. It includes field research in Nigeria and the Solomon Islands, as well as a workshop with global church leaders. The project funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council.
- Commonwealth Professional Fellowships: Asset-Based Approaches to Diversity in Current and Post-Conflict Environments: Hosting host five Commonwealth Professional Fellows for a six-week programme of structured learning and knowledge exchange in late 2014. The fellows are senior professionals from the church, civil society and the business community, coming from Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. They will learn from the experiences of Coventry and from each other about managing diversity in post-conflict contexts.
- British Council Researcher Links Travel Grant: Investigating new Muslim Aid Organisations Responding to the Syria crisis: The project investigates the role of faith-based organisations in delivering humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees. Specifically, the project will map the range of actors currently engaged in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis, documenting the assistance provided by faith-based organisations, analyse the impact of aid provided by faith-based actors on social relations within the Turkish/Syria border regions, and offer recommendations to faith-based actors and those working with them.
- Understanding the Involvement of Faith Groups and Leaders in Conflict Prevention Activity in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria : Fieldwork in Jos and Abuja to understand the role faith groups and leaders in conflict prevention activity in Jos, Nigeria during the 2011 elections. Mapping out conflict prevention activities, analysing faith group involvement and identifying lessons that can be learned for future election cycles and other violence-prone areas.
- Özerdem, A. and Payne, L. (2014) ‘What Space for Faith in Conflict Prevention: A Case Study from Jos City in Plateau State, Nigeria’ paper presentation at the International Studies Association 55th Annual Convention Spaces and Places: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization. March 26th – 29th 2014, Toronto, Canada.