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  1. Local Leadership in Democratic Transition
  2. Journal of Peace Research
  3. Local Leadership in Democratic Transition | SpringerLink
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Using an in-depth analysis of local leadership before, during and after democratic transition in three key case studies, namely Burundi, Cambodia and Liberia, the author provides a unique insight into the type of leadership required for transitioning a country to democracy. Delivering a new framework that assists scholars, policymakers and practitioners in understanding the roles of local leaders in democratic transition, it also includes recommendations for future peacebuilding operations.

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Local Leadership in Democratic Transition

Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Using three key case studies, Burundi, Cambodia and Liberia, it re-evaluates current transition paradigms delivering a new framework for understanding the roles of local leaders in democratic transition and peacebuilding.

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Another strategy that international peacebuilding organizations employ to engage with communities and support local ownership is to partner with local universities. A swisspeace interviewee explained how the oversaturation of international actors also creates competition for partnerships with local organizations. Such expectations can detract from the work of local partner organizations and potentially compromise their legitimacy within their communities.

Local Leadership in Democratic Transition | SpringerLink

While partnerships with universities do not rectify this problematic dynamic between international and local actors, it presents an alternative model to community engagement that is utilized by international peacebuilding organizations. Those who have the privilege of attending or working at a university in a transitional society are often members of the elite. Therefore, the strategy of university partnerships could further marginalize voices from the peacebuilding process. In addition to local partnership, international conflict management organizations encourage local ownership of peacebuilding processes by employing dialogue-based approaches that are locally relevant, culturally salient, and involve the appropriate actors to address key drivers of conflict.


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A common strategy to design such dialogue-based peacebuilding programs is to employ a consultative model with community members that is inclusive and participatory. The consultation revealed that transitional justice, poverty, attitudes during elections, and unemployment were among the core concerns for Burundians.

Community consultations further enhanced the trust between community members when filming was employed.

In the development of their program in Somalia, team members from the Berghof Foundation filmed focus groups in which a diverse group of community members dialogued about their hopes and concerns for the community and country under the new federalist system. Following over two decades of competing governance systems and violent conflict, the new Somali federal government of announced a strategy of federalism to unify the country under one governance structure.

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Further, as a Somalia team member explained, these filmed pre-program discussions were shared with similar focus groups in other villages to encourage open dialogue and to demonstrate commonalities and shared values between communities, which also contributed to the expansion of the program.

In addition to pre-program consultations, incorporating popular cultural practices into the design of conflict transformation initiatives has been a valuable approach taken by the CSSP, an organization that focuses on multi-track, dialogue-based approaches to peacebuilding. Therefore, the CSSP team developed a theater-facilitated dialogue initiative to expand peacebuilding beyond the politicized LPCs and to address a specific challenge related to post-conflict transition in Nepal at the community level: the reintegration of ex-combatants and the need for community reconciliation with them.

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Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. This book provides an in-depth analysis into the ways in which local leaders impact internationally-led democratic transition. Using three key case studies, Burundi, Cambodia and Liberia, it re-evaluates current transition paradigms delivering a new framework for understanding the roles of local leaders in democratic transition and peacebuilding. Peercy is a Lecturer in International Development at the University of Minnesota, USA and has extensive experience in governance issues including democratization, decentralization and national level development planning with governments and local organizations in Africa and Southeast Asia.