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Conflict, Security & Development Research Group

News & Events

New article in Foreign Policy by Ashley Jackson

PhD candidate Ashley Jackson has authored an article exploring the strategy employed by the Taliban to 'out-govern' the US-backed administration in Kabul. Read the full piece here. 


In addition to her doctoral work, Ashley Jackson is a researcher, consultant and writer with extensive experience in conflict and complex emergencies, She has worked with the UN, Red Cross and various NGOs. Her primary focus is on conflict mediation and negotiating with armed groups and insurgencies. Her work has been published in various academic and media outlets and she has been widely quoted by the press, including Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and others.

Ashley is currently affiliated to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an independent think tank in London, as a Research Associate. She spent several years working in Afghanistan with Oxfam and the UN Political Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, and as an advisor to the UK Parliament on Afghanistan. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a MSc in Gender and Development from the London School of Economics. She is undertaking her PhD in the Department of War Studies at King's College London, entitled 'Governance in the Shadows: Islamist Insurgent Governance', under the supervision of Dr Kieran Mitton.

The UN Genocide Convention at Seventy. The Politics of Mass Atrocity Prevention

Professor Mats Berdal and Dr Kieran Mitton spoke at the Norwegian Holocaust Center in Oslo on 6-7 September as part of an event marking the seventieth anniversary of the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.


The international interdisciplinary conference, financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, covered a wide range of topics, including the relationship between law and politics; the rhetoric of genocide; non-state perpetrators of genocide; comparative research about causes of mass violence and implications for prevention; tools for prevention including early warning and R2P; and case studies of effective de-escalation of violence.

You can view videos of the conference proceedings here:

Day 1-

Day 2 -


New Book Published


Dr Christine Cheng's new book 'Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia: How Trade Makes the State' is out now, published by Oxford University Press.

In the aftermath of the Liberian civil war, groups of ex-combatants seized control of natural resource enclaves in the rubber, diamond, and timber sectors. With some of them threatening a return to war, these groups were widely viewed as the most significant threats to Liberia's hard-won peace. Building on fieldwork and socio-historical analysis, this book shows how extralegal groups are driven to provide basic governance goods in their bid to create a stable commercial environment ... read more

Norway in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 (The Godal Report) launched at CSDRG

AfghanistanThe report of the official inquiry into Norway’s role in Afghanistan, for which Professor Mats Berdal was a commission member, was launched at a CSDRG seminar on 14 June 2018, "Lessons from Norway’s and the UK’s Military and Civilian Contribution to Allied Operations and State-Building in Afghanistan”. The full report A Good Ally – Norway in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 (The Godal Report) is available here. Mats Berdal and Astri Suhrke have also published an article in the Journal of Strategic Studies which examines the findings of the commission - read more here.


New ESRC-funded project: Democratization and UN Peacebuilding

Dr Oisin Tansey has been awarded an ESRC grant to examine the relationship between peacebuilding and authoritarianism and the ways in which peacebuilding shapes authoritarianism at the local level. The project runs from June 2018 - May 2021 and will give timely focus to four case studies: the DRC, Haiti,Cambodia, and Liberia. Tansey (Principal Investigator) will work alongside Co-Investigators Dr Sarah Von Billerbeck and Birte Gippert. Read more about the project rationale, aims and planned outputs.

PhD Award

Congratulations to Dr Lesley Warner, who was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in June 2018 for her outstanding thesis on The Role of Military Integration in War-to-Peace Transitions – The Case of South Sudan, 2006-13. Lesley was supervised by Professor Mats Berdal.
You can follow Lesley and her work on Twitter at @Lesley_Warner

Stabilisation Unit Elite BargainsCSDRG contributes to major UK research project on ending conflict

How can engaging in politics lead to sustainable pathways out of conflict? Our members helped tackle this question in new research for the UK’s Stabilisation Unit project 'Elite Bargains and Political Deals'. The 18 month study sought to provide a more robust evidence base for the UK’s approach to stabilisation, to help policymakers provide more effective interventions in conflict contexts.

Lessons from global conflicts, past and present, are identified in the report, which was co-authored by Dr Christine Cheng. Expert country case studies were contributed by Dr Kieran Mitton and Dr David Ucko. The report was launched on 14 June by the Minister for the Middle East and for International Development, Alistair Burt.

You can download the report and country case studies here.

Past News & Events



Casualty Recording Post-Chilcot




Understanding the Colombian Peace Process



Female Combatants & the Renegotiation of Agency in Sri Lanka




The International Politics of Authoritarian Rule



Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World




Thinking the Unthinkable: Brexit? Trump? Migration? Russia?



Ukraine: A Frontline Perspective of the War in the East




Sexual Abuse & UN Peacekeeping Ops: Reflections from the Field




Displacement, Development, and Climate Change




The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide




A New Peacekeeping & Peacebuilding Architecture?






Hidden Power: The Strategic Logic of Organized Crime




The State of UN Peacekeeping – Lessons from Congo



What Works in Reducing Community Violence?




Projecting Sovereignty: UN Aid and the Syrian Regime



South Sudan: The Untold Story from Independence to Civil War




Shooting Up: A History Of Drugs in Warfare




Of Ruptures & Continuities: Theory & Methodology in Research on Sexual Violence Against Women in War and Peace




How Has Violent Political Conflict Changed Over the Last Two Centuries?



Rape as a Practice of War: Towards a Typology of Political Violence




A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence




Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally




State Violence and Wartime Civilian Agency: Evidence from Peru



How Should We Write About Violence?





Colombia's Peace Negotiations With FARC

8 February 2016

Politics in Drag: Sipping Toffee with Hamas in Brussels

Performed by Dr Catherine Charrett, University of Chichester.

Chair: Dr Christine Cheng, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.


4 February 2016

Learning from the Ebola Crisis: Civil-Military Cooperation & Future Interventions

Ebola CIMICPhoto: Emelie Poignant-Khafagi


Panel Speakers:

• Brigadier Charlie Herbert, former Commander of UK forces in Sierra Leone and Deputy Head of the UK Ebola Response

• Dr Sophie Harman, Reader in International Relations, Queen Mary University of London

• James Fairhead, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Sussex

• OB Sisay OBE, former Director of Situation Room at the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Sierra Leone

• Richard Sullivan, Professor of Cancer & Global Health at King's College London, Director of the Institute of Cancer Policy and Co-Director of the Conflict & Health Research Group, King's College London.

Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London


18 January 2016

Dealing with Painful History & Building Sustainable Peace in Northeast Asia (podcast)

Speaker: Professor Kevin Clements, University of Otago, New Zealand.

Chair: Dr Christine Cheng, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.
(post-talk interview)


12 December 2015
CSDRG to Collaborate with the Carter Center to work on the Political Reintegration of Syria's Armed Groups

The Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG)  has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Conflict Resolution Program of the Carter Center. The MOU will enable CSDRG to access the Carter Center's unique database on the Syrian conflict. As part of this agreement, CSDRG is developing a research project in collaboration with the Carter Center on the reintegration of Syria’s armed groups. 

The purpose of the CSDRG Syrian reintegration project is to develop a pre-emptive understanding of the reintegration needs of Syria's armed groups, to use this research to encourage an effective international and Syrian response to the reintegration challenge in Syria.

The Syrian conflict is perhaps the best-documented conflict in history. The Carter Center has developed a database that uses sophisticated computer software (provided by Palantir) to harvest the vast online information on the conflict, combining these technological capabilities with on-the-ground information gathering through a wide variety of interlocutors in Syria (including dozens of faction commanders). This is being used to create a fine-grained database of information on Syria’s thousands of armed groups. The database currently includes 7,000 active and formerly active armed groups. The CSDRG Syrian reintegration project will combine the Carter Center’s peerless database of information on the armed groups in Syria with CSDRG’s world-leading thematic expertise on the reintegration of armed groups. 

CSDRG is already deeply involved in the Syrian crisis through the group's track II mediation unit which works closely with the United Nations and other peacemaking partners. This work will be used to inform the United Nations and other international efforts to facilitate a peace process in Syria.

10 December 2015

Ineffective But Indispensible? The UN Security Council in the 21st Century

Panel Speakers:

• Professor Mats Berdal, War Studies & Director of CSDRG, King's College London.

• Sebastian von Einsiedel, director of the UNU Center for Policy Research and Co-Editor of 'The UN Security Council in the 21st Century.'

• Matthew Preston, Head of the Multilateral Research Group, Research Analysts, Multilateral Policy Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Chair: Dr David Malone, UNU, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

25 November 2015

Beyond Comprehension? Cruelty & Violence in the Sierra Leonean Civil War

Speaker: Dr Kieran Mitton, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.
Chair: David Keen, Professor of Complex Emergencies, LSE.


23 November 2015

Capacity Building and Development in the Absence of Politics – the Case Study of Helmand 2004-14

Speaker: Tom Rodwell, UK Stabilisation Unit.

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.

12-13 November 2015
International Aspects of Defence Policy in Brazil

Conference & speaker details

Day 1 - Keynote Address by His Excellency Celso Amorim, former Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations (1993-1995 and 2003-2010) and Minister of Defence (2011-2014) - VIDEO

12 November 2015

A Case of Old Wine in New Bottle? From Humanitarian Intervention to R2P

(post-talk interview)

Speaker: Professor Ramesh Thakur, Crawford School of Public Policy, the Australian National University.

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSD Research Group, War Studies, King's College London.


9 November 2015

Ending the Crisis in South Sudan: African Solutions to African Problems or Peace Process by Proxy?

Speaker: Richard Rands, adviser to the IGAD PLUS peace process for South Sudan.

Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.


4 November 2015

The Iran Deal - A Brazilian Perspective (podcast)

Speaker: His Excellency Celso Amorim, former Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations (1993-1995 and 2003-2010) and Minister of Defence (2011-2014).

Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.

19 October 2015

What Happens After Mugabe? Inside Robert Mugabe's Succession Crisis

Speaker: Dr Miles Blessing Tendi.University of Oxford.

Chair: Dr Christine Cheng, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.


12 October 2015

Sustaining Peace - What does it take? Learning Lessons from UN Peace Operations (podcast) 
Speaker: Hilde F. Johnson, Norwegian Institute for International Affairs.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.

Protection of Civilians - Rhetoric or Reality? UN Peaces Operations and the Case of South Sudan (podcast) 
Speaker: Hilde F. Johnson, Norwegian Institute for International Affairs.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.


5 October 2015

Ukraine: A Year of Monitoring War in the East (podcast)
Speaker: Dr Samir Puri, War Studies, CSDRG, King's College London.
Chair: Dr Natasha Khurt. War Studies, King's College London.


25 September 2015

From Isolated Sect to Regional Security Challenge (podcast)

Speaker: Virginia Comolli, International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Chair: Dr Christine Cheng, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.


28 September 2015

Book Launch: Rebels in a Rotten State

Speaker: Dr Kieran Mitton, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG, War Studies, King's College London.

16 September 2015
Free access to selected CSD Journal Articles 

CSDJournalCSD is collaborating with the Centre for Security Governance (a Canadian think tank dedicated to the study of security transitions in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states) in its SSR Resource Centre project which has recently launched a new blog series - Academic Spotlight

These blog posts feature recent research findings on security governance issues published in academic journals. They provide a venue for debates and discussions between academics and practitioners on new ideas, innovative findings and key empirical evidence in this thematic area. 

As part of the partnership between CSD and the Centre for Security Governance, summaries of selected CSD articles, written by the authors, are posted on the blog and linked to the full text (which is free to access for a limited period). Find out more.

20 August 2015
New book published - 'Rebels in a Rotten State'

Based on years of fieldwork and interviews with former rebels in Sierra Leone, Dr Kieran Mitton's book sheds light on some of the most extreme and perplexing forms of violence perpetrated during the eleven year civil war. Featuring first-hand accounts from perpetrators, victims and witnesses of atrocity, his analysis draws upon contributions from both the social and behavioural sciences to specifically examine the psychological and emotional aspects that shape violence.

rebelsinarottenstate‘No author to date has been able to supply a convincing explanation of the reasons for the RUF’s extraordinary brutality, but in this lucid, well organised and well expressed book Kieran Mitton does just that. A significant and original contribution.’

— Stephen Ellis, Desmond Tutu Professor, Free University, Amsterdam and author of External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

‘Kieran Mitton goes beyond analysis of violence as “breakdown” or “strategy” to provide a compelling, fascinating and very insightful account of the psychological functions of violence in Sierra Leone’s vicious civil war.’

— David Keen, Professor of Complex Emergencies, London School of Economics

Rebels in a Rotten State: Understanding Atrocity in Sierra Leone is published by Hurst and Oxford University Press and can be ordered online at:



7 May 2015

New article by Dr Billerbeck on Local Ownership & UN Peacebuilding

The latest issue of the journal Global Governance features an article by CSDRG's Dr Sarah von Billerbeck on the tensions between discourse and operationalisation of local ownership in United Nations efforts to build peace. View the article here.


1 May 2015

CSD Annual Conference Podcasts 

Full recordings of the 'Post-2015 Development Challenges in Conflict Zones' conference are now available. You can listen directly via the conference blog or access via the CSDRG page here.   


17 April 2015

Dr Mitton talks about Reconciliation and Reintegration in Sierra Leone

Speaking at the LSE Africa Summit, Dr Kieran Mitton presented recent research on the links between reconciliation and reintegration processes, drawing on fieldwork in Sierra Leone. You can view video of the talk and the full conference here.


15 April 2015

Article by Dr Krause on Women Peace Activists

Dr Jana Krause, in collaboration with Cynthia Enloe, has published an article in the International Feminist Journal of Politics. The article explores conversations between international women peace activists at the 'Women Lead to Peace Summit', preceding the Geneva II peace talks on Syria. The article can be accessed free for a limited time here.


31 March 2015

Dr Billerbeck on Peacebuilding and Local Ownership
Dr Sara von Billerbeck recently gave a talk at the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations,organized by the journal Global Governance. She addressed the issue of local ownership in peacebuilding activities, and how practice often lags behind theory. You can read her related blog about the topic here.


30 March 2015

Dr Cheng Speaks on Extralegal Groups in Liberia

Dr Christine Cheng gave a talk on extralegal groups in Liberia to the Institute of Development Studies, based at the University of Sussex. The seminar explained how extralegal groups came about, how they persisted, and the threats and opportunities that they created for statebuilding in the aftermath of the civil war. Further details of Dr Cheng's research and forthcoming book on the subject can be found here.


24 March 2015

Book launch: Regulating Business for Peace

Speaker: Dr. Jo Ford, University of Oxford

What role is there for business in peace-building? What should public policy do to promote conflict-sensitive business practices in fragile states and situations? Dr. Jo Ford is the author of Regulating Business for Peace.

More information




18 March 2015

New Journal Article on Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping Operations  

As part of ongoing CSDRG research, Mats Berdal and David Ucko have published an article on 'The Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Problems and Prospects' in the latest edition of the RUSI Journal. You can access the full article free here.


12-13 March 2015

CSD student-led conference on the topic of Post-2015 Development Challenges in Conflict Zones


The Conflict Security and Development annual conference - a sell-out event - proved a great success again in its second year. A collaboration by students of the War Studies department and the International Development Institute at King's College, the conference ran for two days on the theme of Post-2015 development challenges, drawing speakers and attendees from across academia, the policy world and development practice. For more information please visit the conference page.


10 of March 2015

Book launch: Thieves of State - Why Corruption Threatens Global Security 

Speaker: Sarah Chayes, Carnegie Endowment

Chayes presents a powerful new way to understand global extremism, making a compelling case that we must confront corruption for it is a cause and not a result of global instability.

More information



3 March 2015
Rethinking Livelihoods, Violence, and Vulnerability in DRC's Cannabis Trade

Speaker: Dr Ann Laudati, University of Bristol

 Ann Laudati is a lecturer of human-environmental geography at the University of Bristol's School of Geographical Sciences. She has conducted fieldwork in the Democratic of Congo since 2009.



9 February 2015

Responsibility to Protect: Old Wine in New Bottles?

Speaker: Professor Richard Caplan, Oxford University



3 February 2015
From War to Political Violence: Complex Processes and Difficult Comparisons

Speaker: Professor Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva



26 January 2015

The Flow of Illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean.
Speaker: Rear Admiral (IT.C.G.) Cristiano Aliperta

18 January 2015 
Fragile Alliances among Colombian Violent Non-state Actors.
Speaker: Dr. Annette Idler, Oxford University


13 January 2015

Book Launch: Peaceland - Conflict Resolution & the Everyday Politics of International Intervention

Speaker: Professor Severine Autesserre, Columbia University



The Use of Force in Peacekeeping: CSDRG members edit special journal issue 


As part of a CSDRG project on the use of force in peacekeeping operations, Professor Mats Berdal and Dr David Ucko have edited a special issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies. You can see the issue online here.


  •  'The United Nations and the Use of Force: Between Promise and Peril' by Mats Berdal & David H. Ucko
  • 'The Evolution of the Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping by James Sloan
  • 'In the Footsteps of Dr Bunche: The Congo, UN Peacekeeping and the Use of Force' by Alan Doss
  • 'The Futility of Force? Strategic Lessons for Dealing with Unconventional Armed Groups from the UN’s War on Haiti’s Gangs' by James Cockayne
  • 'The Reluctant Peacekeeper: France and the Use of Force in Peace Operations' by Thierry Tardy

24th of November 2014

The UN's development summit in 2015: Irrelevant?

Speaker: David Malone, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Rector of the UN University

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG

David M. Malone became Rector of the UN University (UNU), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with the rank of Under‐Secretary‐General of the United Nations, on March 1, 2013. UNU, a confederation of research institutions and partnerships located on all continents, serves as the UN’s principal think‐tank. Malone was educated at the University of Montreal, the American University of Cairo and Harvard University and holds a D.Phil from Oxford University. He was President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), one of the world’s leading funders of policy‐relevant research in developing countries (2008‐2013). A career foreign service officer, he served as Canada’s envoy to India and non‐resident Ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal (2006‐2008) and as a Canadian ambassador at the UN (1992‐1994).  


17th of November 2014


Ebola - Changing the Civil-Military Cooperation Paradigm in Global Health

Speaker: Professor Richard Sullivan, KCL

Chair: Dr Preeti Patel, CSDRG

Professor Richard Sullivan teaches on the conflict and security module of the Global Health iBSc and is the cancer lead for the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership. He is Director of the Institute of Cancer Policy and KHP Integrated Cancer Centre global health work
Richard’s research programmes cover the development of care and research systems in emerging economies and the development of public health systems, particularly NCDs, in high-risk conflict areas focusing on DR Congo, Afghanistan & Libya.



12th of November 2014
The Risks of Corruption in Lebanon's Nascent Petroleum Sector

Co-hosted by the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies (MEMS) and the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG).
Dr Reinoud Leenders is Reader in International Relations and Middle East Studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He is the author of several articles in academic journals and edited volumes as well as his recently authored book ‘Spoils of Truce: Corruption and State Building in Post-War Lebanon’ (Cornell University Press 2012). In this timely and topical talk, Dr Leenders discusses the politics and controversies surrounding Lebanon’s emerging petroleum sector. 



10th of November 2014

 Book launch - Blinded by Humanity: Inside the UN's Humanitarian Operations


Speaker: Martin Barber, OBE, Ph.D.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG


In ‘Blinded by Humanity: Inside the UN’s Humanitarian Operations’, Martin Barber addresses the question of how to respond effectively to humanitarian crises. For many years a senior UN humanitarian official, Barber argues that the explanation for UN ‘failures’ or only partial successes lies not with any lack of idealism or good intentions; it is to be found rather in the constraints placed on aid workers by ill-considered policies and poor practical application – officials are ‘blinded by  humanity’



03rd of November 2014

Functional and dysfunctional fragile states in the eastern horn of Africa

Speaker: Dr. Ken Menkhaus, Professor of Political Science at Davidson College.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, CSDRG

 What are the prospects for state-building in the Eastern Horn of Africa? Drawing on decades of research and recent fieldwork in Somalia, Dr Ken Menkhaus discusses his latest article on fragile states in the Eastern Horn of Africa.


22th of October 2014

Saharan politics and the rise of of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Speaker: Dr Yvan Guichaoua, lecturer in International Politics at the University of East Anglia.

Chair: Dr. Kieran Mitton, CSDGR.

Yvan Guichaoua is a lecturer in International Politics at the University of East Anglia. He has been studying the dynamics of
irregular armed groups in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger since 2004. Since 2007, Yvan Guichaoua has been studying Tuareg
 recurring rebellions in Niger and Mali and the rise of Jihadism in the Sahel. His works pays close attention to the complex interactions
 between violent entrepreneurs and low level combatants shaping the success or failure of irregular armed groups as well as the forms of
 violence they perpetrate. Yvan Guichaoua is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters and the editor of “Understanding Collective Political Violence” and co-editor of “The Developmental Challenges of Mining and Oil” (Palgrave-Macmillan). 


20th of October 2014
Community-Based Approaches to Transitional Justice & Peace-building in Africa's Great Lakes

 Speaker: Phil Clark , SOAS, University of London.

 Phil Clark is a Reader in Comparative and International Politics at SOAS, University of London. He was previously co-founder and convenor of Oxford Transitional Justice Research at the University of Oxford. He specialises in conflict and post-conflict issues in Africa, with a particular focus on peace, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation in the Great Lakes region. His latest book is The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers (Cambridge University Press) and he is currently completing a book on the politics of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


13th of October 2014

The Private sector's role in conflict, security and development

Speaker: Dr Jolyon Ford, Chatham House and University of Oxford.

Dr Jolyon Ford is an associate fellow at Chatham House and a research associate of the Global Economic Governance Programme at the University of Oxford.  Dr. Ford focuses his research on the regulation of investor and business activity in fragile and conflict affected states,considering options for fostering responsible and conflict sensitive business practices on the private sector's role in meeting development goals.

25 September 2014

New CSDRG report – ‘Burundi Defence Review: Lessons Identified’


Between 2011 and 2014 the Government of Burundi undertook a strategic defence review with the assistance of the Government of the Netherlands. The review’s overall objective was to help Burundi to adapt its National Defence Force to the changing security environment facing the country. Following completion of the review, the Burundi review team conducted its own lesson learning exercise, facilitated by Dylan Hendrickson of CSDRG.  This led to the publication of a report assessing Burundi’s experiences and presenting the key lessons identified which may have relevance for future defence reviews in Burundi or other countries.

You can download the full report here: English  French

In addition, Dylan Hendrickson has authored an African Leadership Centre monograph piece ‘The Burundi defence review, 2011-14: Charting a new path for peace, stability and security’ which can be accessed here:

English   French



20th June 2014

Why Syria Matters- The Moral Imperative of Toppling the House of Assad.

Speaker: Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

 Chaired by Dr  Craig Larking,  Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, MEMS.
Co-hosted by The Conflict, Security & Development Group and  The Lebanon and Syria Research Group

 Nader Hashemi is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies (Oxford University Press, 2009) and co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future (Melville House, 2011) and The Syria Dilemma (MITPress, 2013).


20 May 2014

Kofi Annan at the CSDRG


On May 20th, 2014, the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group at the Department of War Studies co-hosted former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an exclusive UN Forum 2014 preview event. The event was held jointly with the Kofi Annan Foundation and UNA-UK.  In conversation with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chairman of UNA-UK, and in response to questions from the audience, Kofi Annan discussed the role of the UN in the 21st Century, a theme of his new book ‘We the Peoples’, a collection of his major speeches as Secretary-General. Read the full report here


10 April 2014

Women in Combat Roles

CSDRG’s Dr Christine Cheng took part in a discussion of the role of women in frontline combat roles for BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. Audio


25 March 2014

TRICCS Seminar Series

Speaker: Hanna Ketola

Topic: Gender, agency and peacebuilding practices in post-conflict Nepal

Transitions: Research in Conflict, Change and Security (TRICCS) is a PhD student-led research group affiliated with CSDRG, which brings together PhD students focussing on transitions between war and peace.


13 March 2014

The UNHCR, Refugee Protection & Security

Speaker:  Dr Anne Hammerstad, University of Kent 

Discussant: Dr Alexander Betts, University of Oxford

Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton

Dr Anne Hammerstad discussed her new book 'The Rise and Decline of a Global Security Actor: UNHCR, Refugee Protection, and Security (Oxford: OUP, 2014).  ‘The rise and decline of a global Security actor’ takes the reader through the fast-paced changes in international refugee and humanitarian politics by following the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its experience through some of the past two decades’ major conflict-induced humanitarian crises, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo and eastern Zaire/Congo.


11 March 2014

TRICCS Seminar Series

Speaker: Sarah Kayss

Topic: The relevance and understanding of the national past to the motivation to enlist British and German Officer Cadets in comparison


6 March 2014


CSD Conference: Organised Crime in Conflict Zones

On Thursday 6th March 2014, CSD MA students held the first annual CSD conference in the Great Hall, Strand Campus, King's College London. The one-day conference focused on transnational organised crime – a multi-billion pound global business and an area of growing international concern. The programme addressed the conflict-crime nexus and focused on three key areas of organised crime. These were drug trafficking, terrorist criminality and human trafficking. The conference objective was to address gaps in policy and scholarship, and to encourage research into this subject of growing relevance. For further details, please visit the CSD conference page.


25 February 2014

TRICCS Seminar Series

Speaker: Jessica Watkins

Topic: Community Policing in Jordan: Law Enforcement and/or Tribal Dispute Resolution?


28 January 2014

TRICCS Seminar Series

Speaker: Andrew Cunningham

Topic: When is a crisis no longer a crisis? The challenge of post-conflict contexts for humanitarian organizations


14 January 2014

TRICCS Seminar Series

Speaker: Alison Brettle

Topic: Social Networks, Informal Mechanisms and the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants



9 December 2013


Screening & public talk. The Act of Killing - Dealing with the Past in Indonesia

Speakers: Professor John Sidel, LSE; Mr Paul Barber, TAPOL

Chair: Dr Jana Krause. 


The Conflict, Security & Development Research Group (CSDRG) hosts a screening of the documentary ‘The Act of Killing.’ Following the screening, Professor John Sidel (LSE) and Mr Paul Barber (TAPOL) will give a commentary on dealing with the past in Indonesia.  PODCAST

5 December 2013

Repression is Not A Stupid Thing: How the Syrian Regime Outsmarted its Enemies

Speaker: Dr Reinoud Leenders  Chair: Professor Mats Berdal

The Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG) hosts a talk by Middle East-expert and new CSDRG member, Dr Reinoud Leenders, on how the Syrian regime has fared since March 2011. Dr Leenders will argue that far from being in danger of collapse, the regime has been highly calculative and dangerously close to coming out on top.


22 November 2013

Book LaunchSierra Leone: A Political History 

Speaker: Dr David Harris, Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Bradford.

Chair: Professor Patrick Chabal, King’s College London.

Dr Harris discusses his latest book - an examination of 225 years of Sierra Leone’s history which offers a fresh perspective on the 1991-2002 civil war.


13 November 2013 

Two Decades of Oslo and the Future of the Two-State Paradigm

Speaker: Mouin Rabbani  Chair: Dr Reinoud Leenders.

Mouin Rabbani is an independent researcher and analyst specialising in Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rabbani will explore assumptions surrounding the Oslo agreement and their consequences for various formulas designed to produce a lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.



7 November 2013

intpeacekeepJournal of International Peacekeeping publishes CSDRG Special DDR Forum

The latest findings and research from the CSDRG’s long-running project on ‘The Political Reintegration of Armed Groups in the Aftermath of War’ has been published in Volume 20, Issue 3 of International Peacekeeping.  

The contributions comprise case studies covering Sierra Leone, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Mozambique, with an introduction by CSDRG’s Professor Mats Berdal and Dr David Ucko discussing implications for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) in thinking, policy and practice.

Mats Berdal & David H. Ucko, ‘Introduction to the DDR Forum: Rethinking the Reintegration of Former Combatants’.

Kieran Mitton, Where is the War? Explaining Peace in Sierra Leone’.

Sabiiti Mutengesa, ‘Facile Acronyms and Tangled Processes: A Re-Examination of the 1990s ‘DDR’ In Uganda’.

Tom H. J. Hill, ‘The Deception of Victory: The JVP in Sri Lanka and the Long-Term Dynamics of Rebel Reintegration’.

Alex Vines, ‘Renamo's Rise and Decline: The Politics of Reintegration in Mozambique’.


1 November 2013

Professor Berdal speaks at the UN University on the Use of Force for Humanitarian Purposes

CSDRG director Professor Mats Berdal and UNU Rector David M. Malone engaged in a public discussion at the United Nations University Headquarters, Tokyo on the topic ‘From Sarajevo to Benghazi: The Use of Force in Defence of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era.

Exploring the normative and geopolitical factors behind the increased use of military force for humanitarian purposes, Professor Berdal was interviewed prior to the discussion by UNU Office of the Rector Junior Fellows. Watch video 


19 June 2013

Warrior Geeks: How 21st Century Technology Is Changing The Way We Fight and Think About War

Book launch.

Speaker: Christopher Coker, Professor, London School of Economics & Political Science.

Chaired by Professor Mats Berdal (CSDRG).

The age of martial robots is upon us; drones are merely the harbinger of a new age of war – the post-human. Warrior Geeks explains some of the implications for war - what Thucydides called ‘the human thing’; it is what we humans do very well. But as we press ahead with new technological designs  from the cybernetic battle space to the co-existence of men and robots are we diminishing our own ‘humanity,’ the word we use to describe not only a species, but also the qualities we deem it to embody?


11 February, 2013

New funding for Conflict, Security and Development Research Group

In January 2013, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs renewed and extended its funding for the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group (CSDRG) situated within the Department of War Studies. Since 2005, the CSDRG has been conducting research on topics of immediate relevance to war-to-peace transitions. These include three ongoing modules on the reintegration of armed groups; on international organisations and peacebuilding; and on the use of force in peace operations. Past modules have explored the role of women in peace and security and the effectiveness of aid in ending conflict and consolidating peace agreements. This year, funds have been raised to allow for an expansion of the programme, with the creation of a new module examining the role of atrocities in civil war. The CSDRG is led by Professor Mats Berdal of the Department of War Studies.


1 November 2013

Professor Berdal speaks at the UN University on the Use of Force for Humanitarian Purposes

CSDRG director Professor Mats Berdal and UNU Rector David M. Malone engaged in a public discussion at the United Nations University Headquarters, Tokyo on the topic ‘From Sarajevo to Benghazi: The Use of Force in Defence of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era.

Exploring the normative and geopolitical factors behind the increased use of military force for humanitarian purposes, Professor Berdal was interviewed prior to the discussion by UNU Office of the Rector Junior Fellows. Watch video 


3 December 2012

Roland Paris: The Liberal Peace Revisited

Chaired by Dr Christine Cheng (CSDRG)

Roland Paris is University Research Chair in International Security and Governance at the University of Ottawa, founding Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, and Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. His research interests are in the fields of international security, international governance and foreign policy.

Before joining the University of Ottawa in 2006, he was Director of Research at the Conference Board of Canada, the country's largest think tank; foreign policy advisor in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Privy Council Office of the Canadian government; Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Visiting Researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. He has won two awards for public service and four awards for teaching. In 2012 Paris was appointed a Global Ethics Fellow by the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

Paris' writings have appeared in leading academic journals including International Security and International Studies Quarterly. His book At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2004) won the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving Global Order and the International Studies Association's prize for best book on multilateralism. He has co-edited two other volumes on peacebuilding, and is co-editor of the Security & Governance book series at Routledge.

7 November 2012

Political Economy of Statebuilding: Power After Peace

Book launch.

Speakers: Professor Mats Berdal, Dr Oisín Tansey, Dr Christine Cheng (CSDRG) and Dr Dominik Zaum, Reader in International Relations at the University of Reading, and a Senior Research Fellow at DFID.

This volume examines and evaluates the impact of international statebuilding interventions on the political economy of conflict-affected countries over the past 20 years. It focuses on countries that are emerging, or have recently emerged, from periods of war and protracted conflict. The interventions covered fall into three broad categories: international administrations and transformative occupations (East Timor, Iraq, and Kosovo); complex peace operations (Afghanistan, Burundi, Haiti, and Sudan); governance and statebuilding programmes conducted in the context of economic assistance (Georgia and Macedonia).

‘This book, which contains a magisterial introduction by Mats Berdal and Dominik Zaum, brings together some of the top thinkers in the world of peacebuilding. It takes the commonly expressed idea that “development” is a necessary route to peacebuilding, and shows how neo-liberal interpretations of “development” have often promoted instability, not least by promoting large-scale unemployment.’ David Keen, LSE, UK

24 October 2012

Addressing violent extremism: lessons from Sri Lanka Democracy, Sovereignty and Terror: Lakshman Kadirgamar on the Foundations of International Order.

Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, foreshadowed his own assassination at his home in Colombo in August 2005. He had a clear and prophetic view not only of the conflict in Sri Lanka, but also of the threat posed by political violence to stability within and between states throughout the world. Long before 9/11, he warned Western democracies that they were too passive about the fundraising and planning activities of foreign terrorist movements that were taking place under their noses.

Speaker: Sir Adam Roberts is President of the British Academy, a post he has held since July 2009, having been elected to the Fellowship of the Academy in 1990. He is a renowned expert in international relations, with research expertise in international security, international organizations and international law, including the laws of war. He is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University, and an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal, Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group.

25 April 2012

The UN Civil War & War Studies

Speakers: Dr Matthew Preston, Head of the Multilateral Research Group, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Professor Mats Berdal, Department of War Studies.

The speakers will cover the records of UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding interventions, the rise of "humanitarianism" culminating in the idea of a "responsibility to protect" (R2P), divergencies of view on the (R2P) and where the doctrine stands after Libya and Syria and Security Council politics (possibility or not for reform).

Part of the War Studies 50th Anniversary Seminar Series

20 March 2012

Digging the dirt with Yellow Berets: putting the Earth’s resources at the heart of post-conflict reconstruction

.CSDRG Director Professor Mats Berdal talks at this event hosted by the Department of War Studies. 


Professor Mats Berdal, Professor of Security and Development, Department of War Studies, King’s College.

Dr David Connolly, Post-war Reconstruction Development Unit, York University; subject: 'Transitional Governance: The Case of Community Driven Reconstruction in Afghanistan'.

Jamie MacCullum, vice-chairman of the IUCN-WCPA Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group; subject: ‘Transboundary security threats to biodiversity in Arizona's protected areas.’

Richard Milburn, UK representative of the PolePole Foundation (POPOF), Democratic Republic of the Congo; subject: ‘Ecological development: putting the Earth centre-stage in post-c0nflict reconstruction’ : with Congo case study

17 January 2012

Book Launch & Panel Discussion with James Mayall, Dominik Zaum, Ricardo Soares de Oliveira and Mats Berdal.

What made the new protectorates possible? What were they like as an actual political experience? How contradictory was their reception? Why was the process of governing others for their own good so flawed and why were the outcomes so disappointing? These are among the questions addressed by some of the leading authorities in the field, including Stefan Halper, Christopher Clapham, Mats Berdal and Richard Caplan in this new book by Hurst.

Hosted by the Conflict, Security and Development Research Group and Portuguese Institute.


Thursday 10 November 2011

The Department of War Studies hosted a conversation with the President of the World Bank, Mr Robert Zoellick on 10 November. Mr Zoellick discussed the connections between the global financial crisis and its intrinsic links to economy and security with Professor Mats Berdal, Professor of Conflict, Security and Development in the Department of War Studies. Watch the interview.  Read more


Thursday 27 May 2011
Peacebuilding, State-building and the Liberal Peace Debate
Professor Chuck T. Call
Venue: K-1.14
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal
Tuesday 16 March 2011
India and China: Can Two Tigers Share a Mountain
Dr David Malone, President of IDRC , Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Law, Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal
Wednesday 20 January 2011
The British in Basra
Speaker: Colonel Richard Iron CMG OBE, Chief Mentor to General Mohan al-Furayji, Basra Operations Commander, December 2007 - November 2008.
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal


Tuesday 15 December 2009
Protracted State Failure and the Somalia Crisis
Speaker: Professor Ken Menkhaus, Davidson College, NC
Chair: Professor Mats Berdal
Wednesday 11 November 2009
Building Peace After War
Prof. Mats Berdal presented his new Adelphi Book, Building Peace After War.
23-24 April 2009
Militancy and Violence in West Africa:
Tracing Antecedents, Monitoring trends, Identifying Actors, Anticipating Possibilities and Analysing Existing Preventive Mechanisms.
Sponsored by: The Swedish Defence College, King’s College London International Peace and Security and Conflict Security and Development Groups. Part of the New Security Challenges: “Radicalisation” and Violence Programme.


21 November 2007
The Political Reintegration of Armed Groups following Conflict
London Workshop
Organised by the Conflict Security & Development Research Group, with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
20 April 2007
Ambiguous Agreements: Aid in negotiating processes

Authors workshop to discuss the key themes emerging from research into aid and aid policy in conflict. The research focuses on the processes of negotiation, settlement and implementation of agreements between aid providers (donors and NGOs) and political or military parties in countries in which there is, or has recently been, open fighting. What part does aid play in the agreements made? What impact do these agreements have on the operating conditions for aid organisations and on the political dynamics in-country?


14-15 November 2005
The Political Reintegration of Armed Groups following Conflict
London Workshop
Organised by the Conflict Security & Development Research Group with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
3 November 2005
Women, Peace and Security Workshop
Organised by the Conflict Security & Development Research Group, in collaboration with Akina Mama wa Afrika and supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
26 April 2005
Real Time Crises: New Real Time Tensions.
Speaker: Nik Gowing.
Since February 1996 Nik Gowing has been a main programme anchor for the BBC's 24-hour international TV news and information channel BBC World, produced by BBC News. The channel's global audience is more than 267 million in 200 countries.
4 March 2005
Business in risky environments: the Shell experience with managing risk and security in developing countries.
Speaker: Mattia Romani, Global Business Environment Team, Shell
Speaker: James Husemeyer, Global Security Team, Shell


17-18 November 2003
The Linkages between Security and Development in the Aftermath of Armed Conflict.
Geneva Workshop Agenda
Organised jointly by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), King’s College London and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation

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