News Archive for 2008

Uppsala University supports the Uppsala Conflict Data Program

The University Board [Konsistoriet] of Uppsala University decided on November 5, 2008, to give an annual appropriation to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) for the up-keep of its conflict database. This is a part of the University’s decision to make peace, democracy and justice a profile research area for the University.

– This is very encouraging, says the Director of UCDP, Professor Peter Wallensteen. “It means that basic work of the data collection and presentation now is secured. The database can continue to be an international resource based at Uppsala University and reinforce the University as a preeminent center for peace research. It also means that UCDP researchers now can focus their creativity on front-line research.”

The UCDP is a world leading provider of data on armed conflicts around the world. The program has existed for more than 25 years. Its information is annually presented in the SIPRI Yearbook (since 1988), Journal of Peace Research (JPR, since 1993), the Human Security Report (since 2005) and in the in-house publication States in Armed Conflict. Its information is used in scholarly articles, popular media and teaching resources worldwide. Its articles in JPR are among the most cited sources internationally on armed conflicts in recent years.

– Previously, funding for the UCDP has been based on grants received in stiff competition from funding agencies, such as the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, The Science Council of Sweden, The Folke Bernadotte Academy and Sida. This has provided concern for the sustainability of the database, and that insecurity has now been removed, says Dr Erik Melander, Deputy Director of UCDP.


Ahtisaari receives Nobel Peace Prize

Professor Peter Wallensteen (to the right), a member of the Lecture Committee, moderated the discussions with President Ahtisaari in the University Aula (Photo: Tommy Westberg).

The Department of Peace and Conflict Research congratulates Martti Ahtisaari, President of Finland 1994-2000, for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize 2008. Peter Wallensteen, Dag Hammaskjöld Professor at the Department, said: "Ahtisaari's tireless efforts for Peace on several continentsNOW get the recognition they deserve. It is important that mediation initiatives are encouraged by the international community."

The Department has had continuous relations with mediators and Nobel Laureates, notably Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan. Jan Eliasson, UN Mediator for Darfur 2007-08, is also a visting Professor with the Department.

Erik Noreen, Head of the Department, joins the congratulations: "Our congratulations go to Helsinki! We are thankful, not just for Mr Ahtisaari's hard-working efforts for Peace, but especially for sharing his first hand experiences with students and scholars in Uppsala less than four weeks ago."

Ahtisaari held Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture in September.

Mr Martii Ahtisaari, was this year’s Dag Hammarskjöld Lecturer (see photo). He spoke to large student audience in the University Aula on September 18, the day Hammarskjöld died in Africa in 1961. Ahtisaari’s theme was “Can the International Community Meet the Challenges Ahead of Us?” In particular he emphasized rising unemployment among youth as a major challenge and a potential sources of conflict. In the questions and answers session he elaborated on his experience as a mediator and on the Kosovo conflict. The majority of the questions came from students in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

After leaving office Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative, an organization based in Helsinki, Finland, that was instrumental in concluding a peace agreement in the Aceh conflict in Indonesia. Ahtisaari was also the UN negotiator in the Kosovo conflict from 2005 on. Earlier he worked with the UN and led the first comprehensive peace keeping mission, launched in Namibia in 1988.

The annual Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture is a joint undertaking between Uppsala University and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. Apart from the public lecture, Ahitsaari also talked to an expert seminar on mediation and received the special Hammarskjöld medal from the hands of the University Vice Chancellor, Dr Anders Hallberg. The Lecture is regularly published by Hammarskjöld Foundation (in English). Lecturer 2007 were Sture Linnér and Sverker Åström, both having worked with Hammarskjöld. Their lectures, in Swedish, are available from the Department.


New Students, New Courses - some 250 students studying at the Dept

Lisa Hultman (left) in talks with new students at the Department. Lisa Hultman succeeded Louise Olsson as Director of Studies for the undergraduate and Master level in August.

The Department introduces several innovative and interactive courses on Master level. One exemple during this Fall is International Negotiation: Theories and Practice. This course provides an overview of negotiation theories and practices of international importance. The emphasis is on different approaches to understanding what drives negotiation process and explains the outcome. Case studies and examples from different issue areas are used to learn more generally about contemporary international negotiations. The course is taught through lectures, seminars, exercises, and a study trip.

Other interesting courses given by the department during Fall term 2008 are Causes of War and New Non-Military Threats.

In November 2008 the Department is welcoming 25 participants from developing countries all over the world for a ten days long Top Level Seminar on Peace and Security. This advanced international training programme is funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The target group is university researchers, teachers, decision makers in international organisations and NGO’s, as well as persons with considerable experience from relevant governmental agencies. The Department has been running similar training programs since the 1980’s.


Global Peace and Global Health

Sharon Stone visits the Department of Peace and Conflict Research to receive input from Deptartment experts.


From left: Karen Brounéus, Jan Eliasson, Sharon Stone, Peter Wallensteen and Ann-Marie Tung Hermelin in the University Hall May 28, 2008 (Photo: private) (watch the video of the panel discussion).

On May 28, 2008 famous US actress Sharon Stone visited the Department of Peace and Conflict Research in Uppsala. In addition to acting, Ms. Stone is involved in lobbying work and fundraising activities for combatting HIV/AIDS and other diseases, particularly in Africa. Of late, she has also focused her efforts on the linkages between deteriorating health conditions and armed conflict.

Thus, Ms. Stone’s visit to the Department centred on possible connections between Health and Peace. Department researchers briefed Ms. Stone on significant recent findings on this linkage. Ms. Stone was very engaged and exchanged views with the researchers.

After the meeting at the Department Ms Stone gave a press conference where she presented her own ideas on a peace department. Then she participated in a public round table discussion in the University Aula Magna. The session was chaired by Professor Peter Wallensteen from the DPCR. The other participants were Dr. Karen Brounéus, who presented key aspects of her recent dissertation on mental health and Rwanda, and Ms Ann-Marie Tung Hermelin from the Center for the study of men’s violence against women. Visting Professor and Ambassador Jan Eliasson commented on the presentations and added from his experience as the UN Special Envoy for Darfur in Sudan.

At a following lunch, offered by the Rector of Uppsala University, Professor Anders Hallberg, Ms. Stone also heard presentations from the Faculty of Medicine of Uppsala University.