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Local Solutions to Mass Violence

Severine Autesserre's Lecture on Peace-Building on the Congo

— January 29, 2015 — Keynote Trends
In her lecture on peace-building, Severine Autesserre discusses problematic approaches to resolving mass violence, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Described by the humanitarian worker as the deadliest conflict since World War II with 4 million deaths and counting, "the longest ongoing humanitarian crisis in the world" has destabilized most of central Africa for 18 years.

The speaker states despite the media's focus on a singular cause and effect, the violence is in large part driven by local bottom-up conflict that international peace-building efforts have failed to help address. She feels the prevailing peace-building culture and widely held Western perspective is partly at fault.

The lecture on peace-building says this culture enables peace-builders to ignore local tensions (over things like land and local power), which often jeopardizes national and international interests as well as fueling the violence. Viewing the resolution of grassroot conflict as unimportant, interveners need to realize micro-level foundations are necessary for lasting peace.
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