Whittier College Awarded Grant from U.S. Institute Of Peace

Friday, June 14, 2013

A $112,372 grant from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) will fund a research project, “Women and Post-conflict Transformation: Lessons of the Past, Implications for the Future,” led by political science professor Joyce Kaufman, director of Whittier College's Center for Engagement with Communities, that will result in recommendations for the disarmament, demobilization, and social reintegration of former female combatants in post-conflict zones around the world.

According to Kaufman, this project directly supports USIP’s mission “to improve the theory and practice of conflict resolution and peacebuilding” by addressing questions pertaining to women during post-conflict reconciliation. This project builds on Kaufman’s earlier research on women and conflict , including understanding women's political activism as a response to conflict situations. Kaufman will be collaborating with Dr. Kristen P. Williams of Clark University, her collaborator on three previous books, and a number of other internationally recognized scholars. 

The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration into society (“DDR”) of former combatants are widely recognized as an essential part of ending violent conflict.

“While the DDR process as it applies to male combatants has been widely studied, little attention has been paid to the process in relation to women who have engaged in violence,” said Kaufman.

“Their experiences often differ from those of men, and the inclusiveness of the DDR process affects the quality of peace. This project will address the situation of women in relations to DDR, provide practical recommendations for policymakers, and will result in an edited volume that combines theoretical understanding of the issue with specific case studies.”

Over the next two years Kaufman and Williams will be using a multi-pronged approach of traditional academic research, interviews, meetings, and discussions to examine what role(s) women have played in the DDR processes.

The United States Institute of Peace is the country’s global conflict management center. Created by Congress to be independent and nonpartisan, USIP works to prevent, mitigate and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means. 

As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a significant portion of its budget to grant-making in the fields of peacebuilding and conflict management. Over 20 years, the Institute's Grant Program has awarded more than 2,200 grants in 47 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in 87 foreign countries. The Grant Program increases the breadth and depth of the Institute's work by supporting peacebuilding projects managed by non-profit organizations including educational institutions, research institutions, and civil society organizations.

In 1988, Whittier College was a recipient of one of USIP’s first education grants to fund the International Negotiation Project, a simulation of international negotiation and decision making that has continued long after the grant period ended. This fall, Whittier will be running a simulation for the 24th consecutive year.

Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College's primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service. Whittier College is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County.