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Spring 2015 Newsletter



Dear Friend

Dr. Linda Johnston, President

I hope that 2015 will be a good year for promoting peace research in the world. The IPRA Foundation continues to fund research and scholars who will help promote peace. Please have a look at our website to see the growing list of all the projects and research we have supported in the past. We welcome four new Peace Research Grant recipients to this list. Please take time to look over their work.

We are able to do this work through the generosity of donors who believe in the importance of promoting peace. The selection process for Peace Research Grants and Senesh Fellows is always a difficult one and I know that members of the selection committee struggle when deciding which grant and fellowship applications to support. We are very proud of the scholars we have funded and keep track of their continued success. Scholars also keep us informed when they publish a new book or begin a new project.

Linda M. Johnston, President



Femke Avtalyon-Bakker



Femke Avtalyon-Bakker, of the Netherlands, was granted this award in January 2015 for her project titled “Liberal norms and support for war in comparative cross-regime perspective: evaluating the presence and influence of liberal norms.”

Is Democracy a reason for war or peace? When President Clinton said “Democracies do not attack each other”, he did not simply express an ideological conviction, nor did he discuss a merely academic theory in his State of the Union address of 1994. He referred to what has often been called ‘the closest thing political science has to an empirical law’, namely the empirical finding that democracies do not go to war with other democracies. This finding, also called the ‘democratic peace’, is often interpreted by American and other Western policy makers as a prescription to promote democracy around the globe, with or without force, in an attempt to ’cause’ peace. Historically, the democratic peace traces its pedigree from the Abbe de St-Pierre and Immanuel Kant through to President Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations and more recent influences on successive National Security Strategies of the United States since the 1990s. Also the European Security Strategy has taken this notion to heart: “The best protection for our security is a world of well-governed states. Spreading good governance, supporting social and political reform, … and protecting human rights are the best means of strengthening the international order”. Peacebuilding missions aim to create a liberal-democratic political culture in order to foster domestic and international peace. Paradoxically, the democratic peace is even invoked as a rationale for war, such as the Iraq war in 2003.

Thus, policymakers and the public believe that socializing people into liberal norms is what a democratizing country needs to transform into a peaceful society and a peaceful player in world politics. However, within the current literature on the democratic peace there is insufficient evidence to veritably support that belief. The body of empirical work into an explanation for the democratic peace has focused only on liberal-democracies, which has led to a lack of information about different regime-types. Moreover, the necessary comparison between liberal-democracies and other regime-types has not yet been made. Considering the policy influence of democratic peace theory, the neglecting of evidence from other political regimes is a cause for concern. My own preliminary fieldwork suggests that in contrast to earlier research, there is no support to the claim that liberal-democratic political culture explains peace between democracies. These preliminary findings thus show that careful comparison between individuals in different political systems is of great importance to test the influence of liberal norms as expected within democratic peace theory, as they indicate that more extensive empirical testing as suggested in this research proposal, is necessary and useful. Moreover, the preliminary results have real world implications, suggesting that the emphasis on changing political cultures in non-democratic contexts, while admirable for any number of reasons, is unlikely to promote international peace.
This research project aims to assess the relationship between liberal-democratic norms and public support for war within different political settings. There is a unique opportunity to investigate the presence of liberal norms within different regime-types, and study their possible influence on the public support to use interstate force. The systematic collection of empirical evidence concerning liberal norms, and their influence on support for the use of force of my project will fill the existing empirical gap and thus contribute to theoretical clarification and thereby add to the knowledge about conditions for peace.
About Femke Avtalyon-Bakker
Femke Avtalyon-Bakker is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She holds a Research Masters (MPhil) in Political Science from Leiden University. She is the Internship Coordinator for MSc International Relations and Diplomacy and MSc Political Science.
Read more about Femke’s project at
To contact Femke, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we will gladly put you in contact.





Ilke Dagli



Ilke Dagli of Cyprus was granted this award in January, 2015, for her research project, titled“‘Securitisation of Ethnic Communities in Conflict Environments and its Implications for Peace-Building: The Case of Cyprus.

In Cyprus, politics and peace are an inescapable part of our daily lives and conversations. Unfortunately however, the failure to find a comprehensive settlement to the protracted conflict on the island has created peace fatigue among many Cypriots. In recognition of this and with a stubborn -and maybe naïve- passion about contributing to peace, I became involved in reconciliation efforts on the island when I was only 12 years old and have been working with bi-communal projects supported by various donors (e.g.EU UNDP, USAID, Anna Lindh Foundation) since 2006.
The Cyprus Problem, which can be traced back to 1950s, has attracted the attention of myriad international organisations and donors over the years. Although the literature on Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot identities and contemporary Cypriot politics is very rich, the literature on the Turkish settlers/migrants and how they influence and are influenced by the conflict has remained considerably shallow, rarely going beyond a debate about their numbers. Despite that the issue of Turkish settlers/migrants and demographics has been a big part of the peace negotiations, consistently coming up as a red herring in discussions about governance, security, identity and citizenship, and their growing number is perceived as an existential threat to the distinct Cypriot identity; the conflict resolution literature has predominantly focused on reconciliation between Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriots and failed to include the Turkish settlers/migrants in their analysis.
This research project looks at how Turkish settlers/migrants influence the identity and security dynamics of Cypriots and their perceived role within the conflict, with the aim of informing peace-building efforts and policy making. Turkish settlers/migrants are chosen as the focus of the study because they are politically charged and are perceived to be “different” than other migrants in Cyprus due to their ties to Turkey and Turkey’s role in the conflict.

About Ilke Dagli

Ilke is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the UK.

Read more about the project at

To contact Ilke, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we will gladly put you in contact.

Dr. Seema Shekhawat

Dr. Seema Shekhawat, of India, was granted this award in January 2015 for her project titled “Peace Process in Kashmir: Where are Women?.”

On 31 October, 2000, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security for advancement of gender equality in all processes of peace building. Notwithstanding the UN resolution, women continue to remain under-represented or absent from formal peace building processes. Amidst fierce debate on women’s association with peace being rooted either in their nature or nurture, it is disturbing to note their near total absence from the formal peace processes globally. Isn’t it a dichotomy that women are considered peaceful but they are denied due space in negotiating formal peace? And, Kashmir is no exception. In this research I posit the question – Where is the locus of the women in the peace building process in Kashmir? The whole conflict and peace politics in the region is ‘confined to the domain of men and the women remain outside it.’ There is an array of questions that need to be addressed: why women are not included in the peace making? What are the obstacles in the process of their inclusion? What difference can they make in peace process in comparison to male peace makers? Finally, in what capacities can they be involved in making peace sustainable? I will probe these questions in the context of Kashmir. The probing is crucial since the silence has perpetuated the negligence of women; giving rise to the notion that the gender insensitive peace process is fait accompli.

About Dr. Seema Shekhawat
Seema Shekhawat is a social scientist with a Ph.D. on the Impact of Conflict and Displacement on Women. She has researched and taught at the Universities of Jammu and Mumbai, India.
Read more about Seema’s project at
To contact Seema, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we will gladly put you in contact.




Leander Heldring



Leander Heldring, of the Netherlands, was granted this award in January 2015 for his research project, titled “State Capacity and Individual Preferences: Evidence from Rwanda.”

Success of state policies such as raising taxes or maintaining peace is determined by formal enforcement as well as norms that prescribe that obeying the government is a good thing to do. Does a well-functioning government actively influence these norms? And are norms of obedience something we should desire?

A state that has enough capacity to uphold peace, provide public goods and protect property rights is seen as essential for the development process (World Bank, 2004). Indeed, the absence of a strong state is one of the main drivers of civil violence (Fearon & Laitin, 2003). It is therefore no coincidence that the UN places state legitimacy, the extent to which the state is obeyed in absence of formal enforcement, at the heart of their peace building efforts (UNSC, 2001). Indeed, legitimation of state authority is the “primary challenge facing peacebuilding efforts today” (Talentino, 2007, p. 167). The aim of my research is to statistically uncover the effect of a well-functioning state on preferences of people. Are people who live in a strong state more trusting, altruistic or obedient?

This study is aimed at collecting a dataset at the level of the individual, recording data on measures of trust, altruism and obedience towards the state and relating these to the strength of the local state as well as the intensity of the genocide. Obtaining this data allows for answering my main questions: does a well-functioning state causally affect attitudes/preferences?

An affirmative answer to the first question has several important implications. First, it shows that a strong state actually influences people’s preferences. Second, these results would be the first to show how an administrative phenomenon such as state capacity relates to responses at a personal level. This is an important missing link in work that, for instance, relates state capacity to tax rates or property rights security.

The research strategy revolves around collecting data on attitudes and preferences in villages located in administrative sectors that have a) different state capacity and b) different intensities of violence in the 1994 genocide.

About Leander Heldring

Leander is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Read more about the project at

To contact Leander, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we will gladly put you in contact.

Dr. Katherine Layton, Ph.D.
for publication of her book:
Chechens: Culture and Society

Katherine Layton, of the U.S.A., was granted this award in July, 2012 for her project titled “Chechens.”
Announcement of Book Publication: Layton, Katherine S. (2014). Chechens: Culture and Society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Upon completion of her research document sponsored by IPRAF’s Small Peace Research Grant, Katherine S. Layton submitted a manuscript of the research to Palgrave Macmillan, culminating in the publication of her book, Chechens: Culture and Society (released December 2014).

Chechens: Culture and Society, is now widely available, and Layton has begun the process of contacting various Chechen administered websites, to inform of the publication and to invite discussion and dialogue. In addition, the author has constructed a Chechens Facebook page for the book with posts that include interesting extracts and examples of Chechen cultural norms, along with relevant current events.

Katherine S. Layton anticipates that Chechens: Culture and Society, will inform audiences of the complexity of the Russian-Chechen/Caucasus conflict, the diversity of Muslim cultures, and the struggles for peace and development that indigenous and transitional communities experience in our globalized world.

Chechens: Culture and Society is an ethnography that elaborates the lived experiences of Chechens, focusing primarily on relationships and socio-cultural norms within the context of the current conflict in the Chechen Republic. Drawing on ten years’ experience living and working with Chechens in the North Caucasus Republic of Ingushetia and Istanbul, Turkey, the author utilizes tales as data, incorporating direct observation and her own participation in Chechens’ lives. The book examines norms described in their ‘ideal’ form, as told by Chechens, but also norms as they are played out in real lives. At present, nearly one-third of the Chechen nation lives as refugees outside the homeland. This is a time of cultural exploration for Chechens, perhaps a revival, perhaps destruction. The book explores the socio-cultural structures involved in managing the Chechnan collective and also examines differences and conflicts within the collective, providing insight into the difficulties of maintaining cultural standards under difficult circumstances.


About Katherine S. Layton, Ph.D.

Katherine Layton, Ph.D., is currently an Adjunct Faculty member of Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, FL, U.S.A. She is an Instructor of Political Science.
Read more about Katherine’s book and project at

To contact Katherine, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we would be happy to put you in contact.


Dr. W. Timothy Austin, Ph.D.


W. Timothy Austin, of the U.S.A., was granted this award in November, 2012 for his project titled“Peacekeeping Models in a Terror-Prone Land: The Case of Northwestern Mindanao in the Southern Philippines.” A report of his research project follows.

In 1521 A.C.E., Ferdinand Magellan, a Catholic, along with a crew of 270 dropped anchor off the small island of Mactan in what is now the southern Philippines. After hard fought battles with natives, who happened to have already accepted the Islamic faith, Magellan was slain. Today, over 400 centuries later, the shrine to the Muslim warrior Lapu-Lapu who felled the Spanish captain is more majestic than that for Magellan himself. However, the Spanish aggressors eventually overcame the local tribes and claimed the entire 1,000 mile archipelago of over 7,000 islands for Spain. Today, after generations of Spanish dominion, and about fifty years of American rule, the Muslim-Christian relations on the large island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines remains unsteady and holds a reputation as a terror-prone land.

The IPRAF Small Grant program allowed me to spend part of the summer of 2013 to conduct ethnographic inquiry in the province of Lanao del Norte, about 150 miles south of the original Muslim-Christian battlefield on Mactan Island. Of concern was how the area was still considered a home for terrorists, of persons and groups determined to thwart government. Is there something about the geo-social structures of the Philippines-of being splintered into thousands of islands that is problematic, and that makes forging stable government in an ethnically diverse region difficult? How are locals adapting to life in what some refer to as an area of low-intensive warfare?

Three major conclusions surfaced. First, it appears that locals treat any fear of terrorism and any Muslim-Christian turmoil in the same way that they cope with natural disasters-of which there are many. Living side-by-side with volcanoes, earthquakes, and monsoons have become a fact of Philippine life, and so has life with periodic uprisings between Muslims and Christians. Second, it is true nonetheless that one can witness at the research site many ways to manage personal anxiety brought on by occasional natural disasters and/or terroristic events. Third, by the end of the summer research venture, local residents were grouped into dissimilar categories regarding how they responded to a fear of terrorism. Some became “organizational devotees” and joined the military or police. Others worked behind the scenes as “timid affiliates” by joining civil activities and societies where they could nonetheless safely discuss their views. Then there were the “lone crusaders” who remained in their homes sometimes to clip news items to hand out to visitors, including to the researcher. Finally there were the “habitués” who became so accustomed or hardened to any on-going fear of terrorism that they blocked it out entirely, refusing to acknowledge it as a problem. This last group represents the dominate mode of adaptation. Besides, as locals would imply, if you do not see a problem, you are better able to harvest the rice.

About W. Timothy Austin, Ph.D.
W. Timothy Austin, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Read more about Timothy’s project at

To contact Timothy, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we would be happy to put you in contact.

Dr. Maysa Siag

Maysa Siag, of Palestine., was granted this award in August, 2013 for her project titled “The Social Representations of the Self and Homeland shared by Palestinian Adolescents Born in Diaspora and Living in Refugee Camps.” A report of her research project follows.

The study was set out to explore and describe the social identity of 200 Adolescent Palestinian Refugees, living in Palestinian Refugee camps in Jordan, and attending the UNRWA schools and colleges which serves exclusively the Palestinian refugees. As an explorative study it was designed in 3 steps, aiming first at exploring the Adolescent Palestinian Refugees spontaneous self definitions and the representations adherent and produced by them, in addition to the emotions they associate with them. Second it aimed at exploring their social identity as a structure of organized meanings, checking how their identity elements and representations are situated in terms of acceptance and exposure; to define the hierarchy of their identity elements in relation to the most salient identity, accessible to their memory and evoked first. Also what are the elements that are widely shared and socially available. The third step sets out to investigate the salience of social identities -through a manipulation of layers of social identity- making one of the participants layers of social identities salient, to record the representational production and content for each layer of social identity (as either being a Palestinian, a Palestinian Refugee, a Young Person, an Arab, or a Muslim), and check if was different from those produced on the individual level -the spontaneous self definitions-. In addition, it aimed at investigating the structure and organization of the content and representations produced when one layer of social identity was salient. Finally, the third step aims at recording the change in emotions comparing the emotion descriptions and score for each layer of identity made salient and if different from the participants’ general states of emotion.

The main findings on adolescent Palestinian refugees were that the formation of a Palestinian social identity for the Palestinian adolescents living in Diaspora is a process interrupted, their Palestinian social identity is missing one of its contents: the land, and therefore their Palestinian social identity won’t be complete and achieved without their homeland. Nevertheless, they primarily define themselves as Palestinians.

The influence of the past violence suffered by the in-group was not evident in terms of narratives and images of war and violence, as the participants did not share such images or stories which might entail that the participants didn’t feel the need to remember, as if they were currently living in the ongoing act of violence. This could also be explained as a closure, the past violence is past and as young people they are living the present and aspiring the future.

The study found three motives for rejecting identities; the participants rejected identities that: (1) imply a threat for them, (2) describes the out-group, (3) related to negative identities they are labeled with.

The findings related to the manipulations making one layer of social identity salient for the participants did prove that the salience of one layer of social identity impacts the individual’s representational repertoire and is highly influenced by the group’s collective history. But that’s not all; it was also found that the broadness of the social identity plays a role in the produced content of the individual’s representational field as well as the security and stability of the social identity vs. the threatened identities. In addition to the findings concerning the saliency of a social identity and their structure it was proven that the firstly evoked content and how shared it is, changes according to the social identity layer made salient, showing that there are some sort of expectations, it terms of action, behaviour and emotions. Those findings implied that there is a general agreement between the participants and organized meanings for each of the social identities, where memory serves in providing first the most relevant contents.

About Dr. Maysa Siag
Dr. Maysa Siag is currently a Research Trainee at the European Doctorate on Social Representation and Communication at La Sapienza, University of Rome. Read more about Maysa’s project at
To contact Maysa, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we would be happy to put you in contact.


Dr. Saba Bebawi


Saba Bebawi, of Australia, was granted this award in September, 2013 for her project titled“Democracy Building in Post Conflict Regions: Investigative Journalism Training Post ‘Arab Spring’.” A report of her research project follows.

This project assesses the extent to which investigative journalism training for Arab journalists can be regarded as a knowledge and, in turn, a democracy building tool within the Arab world post the ‘Arab Spring’ protests. Specifically, this project focuses on how investigative journalism training and practice can be developed to provide in-depth news reporting in order to foster a democratic and transparent environment, which could lead to a sustainable and peaceful existence in post Arab Spring regions. Through interviews with Arab investigative reporting trainers, supervisors and journalists, this project uncovers the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing investigative journalism training in the Arab world.

This project, therefore, offers a clear perspective on the conditions, limitations and opportunities for investigative journalism training and practice in the Arab world, thus allowing for a better understanding of the extent to which such practice could play a role in democracy building and social empowerment. It discusses investigative journalism for print, radio, television and online platforms.

This study provides a set of policy recommendations on the state of investigative journalism training in the Arab region based on uncovering the limitations and opportunities investigative reporting is currently undergoing. These recommendations present a clear direction on what needs to be achieved or improved in order to allow investigative journalism to become a knowledge-building tool and a form of social empowerment, especially when the public is dependent on the media in post conflict times to reach a state of peace and development. Accordingly, this research project explores the extent to which investigative journalism training and practice for Arab journalists can be regarded as a knowledge and, in turn, a democracy building tool within the Arab world.

This project is divided into three stages, of which the IPRA Foundation grant provides funding for the first stage. This stage seeks to interview trainers and journalists at the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) as the nuclear training organization in the Arab world.

About Dr. Saba Bebawi
Saba Bebawi, Ph.D., is a journalism and media researcher with research interests in the role of media in democracy-building and media power. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Journalism at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Saba’s project at

To contact Saba, please send an email to info(at)iprafoundation(dot)org and we would be happy to put you in contact.

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Now Accepting Applications for the Peace Research Grants Program


The Peace Research Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for outstanding proposals. The IPRA Foundation accepts applications for the The Peace Research Grant Program on a rolling basis.

The Peace Research Grant Application and Instructions may be found at


The following five IPRA regional affiliates announce Calls For Papers for their conferences. Visit their individual websites for the Call For Papers information and Registration Forms.


AFPREA 2015 Conference, Abuja, Nigeria
April 13-15, 2015
Conference theme: “The Quest for Peace and Security in Africa: Socio-cultural, Economic, political and Legal Considerations” 2015 Conference, Tromsø, Norway
September 2-4, 2015
Conference theme: “The Framing of Europe: Peace Perspectives on Europe’s Future”
http://euprapeace.orgAPPRA 2015 Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal
October 9-11, 2015
Conference theme: “Pathways towards Just Peace: Reinventing security, justice and democracy in Asia-Pacific” 2015 Conference, Guatemala City
October 26-28, 2015
Conference theme:
“Latin America seeking the path towards a Sustainable Peace. Tools and Contributions” Contact: Maria Eugenia


PJSA 2015 Conference, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA October 15-17, 2015
Conference theme: “Cultivating the Just and Peaceable Self: Understanding Transformation and Transforming Understanding in Research and Practice”

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Dr. Linda M. Johnston, President
IPRA Foundation


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