The Initiative for Peacebuilding at the University of Melbourne is encouraging multidisciplinary research, teaching, policy development, and engagement in the fields of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
One of the essential conditions for global security and wellbeing is achievement of relative peace. Peace is pursued through the prevention and transformation of violent conflicts and the conditions that give rise to these, and support for the attitudes, institutions and structures that can sustain peaceful societies.
There is great value in widening the range of official and non-official multi-level mechanisms available for dialogue, problem-solving and sustained peacebuilding efforts.
Together with the University of Melbourne, The Initiative for Peacebuilding is working to establish a Centre for Peacebuilding in the Faculty of Arts.
The proposed Centre for Peacebuilding will provide Australia with a nationally based, regionally grounded, high-quality, professional non-government peace centre. The Centre’s mission is to promote multidisciplinary research, teaching, policy development to support effective engagement in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the Indo-Pacific region.
Peacebuilding Initiative Launch
On the 21st April 2021 the Initiative for Peacebuilding was launched with messages from the Vice Chancellor and the Deputy Secretary, DFAT along with Professor Langmore and Dr Miletic, from the Initiative. The launch was part of a Peace Symposium the university co-hosted with Rotary in Australia and New Zealand titled “The Future of Peace Leadership".
The Centre for Peacebuilding
The Centre for Peacebuilding’s approach to developing activities is guided by the principles of empirically-demand-driven support to peacebuilding that help analyse and address underlying causes of the conflict and support enhanced peacebuilding efforts to those best placed to engage.
The Centre's purpose is to deepen understanding about complex conflict issues and build important relationships with local actors in Asian and Pacific countries who are leading peacebuilding efforts in our region. The Initiative for Peacebuilding seeks to offer rigorous research into the causes of conflict, capacity to organise and strengthen dialogue amongst a range of actors and stakeholders, to think imaginatively about means for prevention of violent conflict and peacebuilding, through substantially enhancing availability of expert scholarship and experienced peacebuilding practitioners.
Professor John Langmore
Chair, Steering Committee, Initiative for Peacebuilding
T: +61 419 897 489
Dr Tania Miletic
Initiative for Peacebuilding
T: +61 437 272 287
Banner image: Bougainville, Credit: Sari Sutton
Professor John Langmore AM
Dr Tania Miletic
Other Members of the Initiative for Peacebuilding Board
Professor Karen Farquharson, Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS), Professor of Sociology
Professor Erika Feller, Professorial Fellow, Melbourne School of Government, Faculty of Law
Dr Emma Leslie, AM, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cambodia
Professor Adrian Little, Pro Vice Chancellor (International) and Professor of Political Theory, SSPS
John McCarthy AO, former senior Australian diplomat, analyst, and writer
Professor Russell Goulbourne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts
Associate Professor Tilman Ruff OA, Nossal Institute for Global Health, Melbourne School of Global and Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
Professor Derek McDougal, Professorial Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts.
Dr Carla Winston, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts.
Jacob is continuing his research into UN Special Political Missions and the politics of peacebuilding.
While the need for conflict mediation and peacebuilding support grows, the UN is seeking to adapt its systems and approaches for the evolving challenges of the 21st Century; in particular, with an emphasis on political methods and solutions. UN Special Political Missions have long played a crucial role in international conflict mitigation, but remarkably this has not been reflected by much rigorous analysis or significant treatment in the literature. These have a proven record for high quality peacebuilding and Jacob’s research will make a fitting contribution to understanding and enhancing this tradition.
Jacob’s research proposes to explore both the theoretical and practical dimensions of how UN Special Political Missions, and peace operations more broadly, engage in the politics of conflict to support peace. Jacob’s strong academic achievements and his decade of professional diplomatic experience would enable him to make substantial contributions to the Centre.
Naomi is a Master of International Relations student at the University of Melbourne, with an interest in conflict resolution and prevention and in peace building. She has experience studying and volunteering across Africa and Asia, predominantly in post-conflict Rwanda. She was recently published in the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Australian Outlook. Her article examined parallels between pre-genocide Rwanda and present day Burundi and proposed that the UN should remain vigilant, taking into account their experience in 1994 Rwanda: Burundi vs. Rwanda: Potential for a Future Genocide.
A current postgraduate student studying a Master of International Relations at the University of Melbourne, Patrick has long held a piercing interest in issues relating to conflict resolution, the international dimensions of global security decision–making, and the growing importance of multilateralism in the face of global challenges. Following previous research, Patrick’s current thesis seeks to explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of contested legitimacy within multilateral institutions and global decision making, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region.
Patrick’s research background has recently led him to intern for Australia’s Cyber Security CRC where he conducted major research into the growing spectre of geopolitical competition in outer space. By drawing particular attention to the lack of a coherent universal legal framework dedicated to the cybersecurity of space-based infrastructure, the research culminated in recommendations on the frontier of cutting-edge cybersecurity issues. The report's findings have since been integrated into the Space Industry Association of Australia’s submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ Critical Infrastructure Review.
The Centre for Peacebuilding’s approach to developing activities is guided by the principles of empirically-demand-driven support to peacebuilding that helps analyse and address underlying causes of the conflict and support enhanced peacebuilding efforts to those best placed to engage.
The three arms of the Centre for Peacebuilding – research, engagement, and education – aim to contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the region with the overall goal of enhancing the disciplinary knowledge base for more sustainable peace work. All projects undertaken under the Centre for Peacebuilding will be interdisciplinary, and focused on developing knowledge, understanding and analyses of conflicts and issues that seek to support and strengthen peacebuilding approaches in the region.
Photo Credit: Ian ‘Fred’ Smith, DFAT
Strengthening Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention
This research program will build on the substantial work of John Langmore, Tania Miletic and colleagues to analyse and recommend strategies for strengthening diplomacy and conflict prevention in Australian foreign policy. Based on the existing research data from the survey of 125 interviewees and the subsequent report Security Through Sustainable Peace: Australian international Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, John Langmore and Tania Miletic will prepare a series of scholarly and policy-oriented research papers for publication on key findings and topics from this body of work.
Contemporary conflicts occur in a globalised web of shared global challenges, all of which require political solutions. The project will focus on the importance of strengthening diplomacy and aid as critical to security through peace. Even before the pandemic, peacebuilding was under-resourced, a situation which was worsened by severe underfunding of diplomacy, diminishing aid and development allocations. With priorities shifting to COVID-19 responses, local peacebuilders fear further reductions in financial support and attention from international, government and non-government donors. Engaging with researchers from across the humanities and social sciences – political science, development studies, law, sociology, psychology and economics – enables a dynamic exploration of case studies from across the region, where partnerships already exist.
Indo-Pacific Peacebuilding in Focus
This research program will investigate key issues in our region and case studies (such as from Myanmar and Bougainville) for strengthening peacebuilding and conflict prevention in the Indo Pacific. Through partnerships with peacebuilding actors in Australia and across Asia and the Pacific, project proposals, consultancies (see below), and invitations to collaborate, the Centre will contribute to understanding, analysing and advancing peacebuilding knowledge and experience grounded in the region.
The project seeks to provide opportunities for reflection and strategic re-visioning of peacebuilding efforts and how best to learn from, share and support new opportunities to advance peace, focusing on the Indo-Pacific region. The project will include research-related and dialogue-driven opportunities for academics, diplomats, analysts, and practitioners to critically discuss experiences in the wider global pandemic context of challenges and opportunities for addressing violent conflicts and support to peacebuilding initiatives in the region.
John Langmore and Tania Miletic, 2021, Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to their Inquiry into Funding for Public Research into Foreign Policy Issues, March. The submission has been published by the Committee
Tania Miletic and John Langmore, 2020, ‘Australian Threadbare Diplomacy in Conflict,’ Australian Outlook, 26 November
Miletic, Tania. 2018, Diaspora and Peacebuilding. Prepared for Diaspora Learning Network and Diaspora Action Australia. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Miletic, Tania. 2018, Concept Note: Diaspora Peacebuilding and Reconciliation. Prepared for Diaspora Learning Network’s Seminar #1, DAA and DFAT.
Miletic, Tania. 2016, ‘Cambodia’s peace 25 years on’, Australian Outlook. Australian Institute of International Affairs, 26 October
John Langmore, Tania Miletic, Aran Martin, and Bob Breen, 2020, Security Through Sustainable Peace: Australian International Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Melbourne School of Government and School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
John Langmore, Tania Miletic, Aran Martin, and Nathan Shea, 2017, State Support for Peace Processes: A Multi-Country Review, Published by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Martin, A., Nathan S., and J. Langmore, 2017, ‘International mediation and Australian Foreign Policy: building institutional capacity to respond to overseas conflict’, Australian Journal of International Affairs 71 (1), 2017, 88-104.
Langmore, John and Jeremy Farrall, 2016, ‘Can Elected Members Make a Difference in the UN Security Council? Australia’s Experience in 2013-2014’, Global Governance, 22, 1, Jan. – March, pp 59 -77
Langmore, John and Ramesh Thakur, 2016, ‘The Elected and Neglected Security Council Members’, The Washington Quarterly, 39:2,99-114, DOI: 10.1080/0163660X.2016.1204412.
Langmore, John, 2013, ‘Australia’s Campaign for Security Council Membership’, 2013, Australian Journal of Political Science, March, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp 101 – 111
Langmore, John and Shaun Fitzgerald, 2012, ‘Strengthening Global Economic Governance’, in Kate Macdonald, Shelley Marshall and Sanjay Pinto (Eds.), New Visions for Market Governance: Crisis and Renewal, Routledge, New York, pp 94-106
McLachlan-Bent, Ashley and John Langmore, 2011, ‘A Crime against Humanity? Implications and Prospects of the Responsibility to Protect in the Wake of Cyclone Nargis’, Global Responsibility to Protect, Vol 3, No. 1, pp 37 – 60.
Langmore, John and Jan Egeland, 2011, ‘Learning from Norway: Independent Middle-Power Foreign Policy’, Griffith Review 32, May, pp 164 – 179.