Bellarmine News

POLS/IR Students Present at International Studies Association-West Conference

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Congrats to Jennifer Eaton and Andrew Gonzalez who presented their work on the peace building process on September 23rd at the International Studies Association-West Conference.

“Police Reform and the Peace Process” by Jennifer Eaton
The immediate political and social environment in a post-conflict society is often wrought with instability and continued violence. Though there may have been a formal agreement at the top governmental level, there continues to be feelings of aggression and hostility on the local level. Therefore, it is imperative that a strong law enforcement system is set up to help uphold the terms of the peace agreement as well as provide for a smooth political transition by creating an environment that affords a harmonious living together amongst the conflicting factions within the country. In this study, I argue that in order to create this peaceful living situation, police reform is absolutely necessary for a sustainable peace process and that the reform must include holistic human rights training and reform of other justice institutions in order to be successful.

“The Relationship Between Top-Down and Bottom-Up Peacebuilding Initiatives” by Andrew Gonzalez
Peacebuilding in post-conflict societies is a long and drawn out process that requires sustained efforts and reactive policy to achieve a lasting peace. Societies recovering from a protracted civil conflict can be incredibly vulnerable to resurging violence and volatile social cleavages. My research examines the relationship between top-down and bottom-up peacebuilding strategies with an emphasis on the actors within both approaches. Using personal interviews and various public opinion data sets from each state, I present a case study analysis of Northern Ireland and Ivory Coast peacebuilding. I found that communication, coordination, and trust between and within both political elite factions and local citizens had a significant effect on peacebuilding initiative effectiveness in the Ivory Coast and Northern Ireland.

The International Studies Association is an interdisciplinary association dedicated to understanding international, transnational and global affairs. It has long served as a central hub for the exchange of ideas and for networking and programmatic initiatives among those involved in the study, teaching and practice of International Studies. The association promotes rigorous discussion, research and writing on a broad range of topics and offers various opportunities that facilitate the development of new ideas, relationships and skillsets. These opportunities provide a space for underrepresented groups, early career scholars and other professionals to grow in the field.