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Danish research center to boost international conflict resolution

When war or conflict strikes around the globe, Danish research in conflict resolution can halt growing tensions and spurring conflicts.

Since the beginning of the Arab spring, a number of countries can consider themselves as part of a conflict, each in their own distinctive way. From the daily deaths of demonstrators in Egypt to a bloody civil war in Syria and a wave of instability in the aftermaths in Libya, which has now spread to a military intervention in Mali.

In Denmark, a typical reaction to a global conflict is »we have to do something«. And doing something often means military intervention. Non-military intervention has often not been considered an option.

The research in conflict resolution can help illuminate the non-military possibilities for intervention and contribute to avoid the unsuccessful use of military intervention. Regardless of one’s response to a conflict, whether that be as a mediator, donor, human rights monitor, or peacekeeping effort, you inevitably become part of the conflict. That applies to an NGO like the Red Cross, an individual, a state or an international organization.

Focuses on the long term effects

»It is crucial for the results that we properly understand the driving forces and patterns in a conflict on a local level – and from that point find out how we can contribute the best. How will our contributions affect the crisis here and now and how will it affect the conflict on a long term basis? It is questions like these the research in our new center will seek answers to«, says the new center leader, Professor Ole Wæver from the University of Copenhagen.

The new center, which is named ’Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts’ (CRIC) is being established with a 15,5 mio. Dkr. sum from the Strategic Council of Research (Det Strategiske Forskningsråd). The center will ensemble best researchers from Denmark and collaborate with some of the leading researchers within the field internationally.

The center will focus on the consequences of historical memory in long term conflicts like Israel-Palestine, and on the phase of conflicts where they escalate and what factors determine how violent they become. Furthermore, the center will research the role of experts in terms of the knowledge they have about a given conflict and what that means to the media, the parties involved and Western politicians. The center will work with both state and non-state practitioners to develop new concepts that will make the scientific insights about conflicts more applicable.

Read the full story in Danish at the University of Copenhagen’s own website here.

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