Jul 5 2011

The Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant makes its first awards

Dr Dominique Jacquin-Berdal 1966-2006

The Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant was established by the International Relations Department at the LSE in memory of Dr Dominique Jacquin-Berdal who was a lecturer in the Department from 1999 until her death in 2006.  She taught on nationalism and Africa as well as in the field of international relations theory.  Her most well-known publication is Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Horn of Africa published in 2002.  Her colleague James Mayall wrote an obituary in The Guardian, plus a longer piece in the IR Department journal Millennium.

The annual grant of £2,500 is intended to support travel and living costs for IR Department students’ research in the fields of Africa, ethnicity and nationalism.  The 2011 grant holder is Mark Kersten and the 2010 grant holder is Simone Datzberger.  They give their reactions, plus details of their projects, below.

Simone Datzberger (2010 grant holder)

Simone Datzberger

“When I got the info that I received the grant my first thought was ‘LSE just made my summer’ and I am sincerely grateful for the trust in my fieldwork and the opportunity to be in Sierra Leone and learn from the local people and their initiatives to recover from war and move towards sustainable development.”
Simone Datzberger

Thesis Title:    Fostering National Capacities or External Dependency? A Network Analysis of the Peacebuilding Process in Burundi and Sierra Leone

Simone’s thesis is an exploration of post-conflict peacebuilding processes in Sierra Leone.  Building on some of the recent academic literature which critiques the existing ‘cookie-cutter’/‘one-size fits all’ approach to post-conflict peacebuilding, the thesis looks at the mechanisms and processes of fostering local capacity and local ownership of the peacebuilding project. Through extensive fieldwork interviews, Simone’s thesis will explore the networks of relations between local, grass roots and civil society organisations which for the most part are outside of, ignored or marginalised by current practices.  She will examine how these can be mobilised as a basis for building and strengthening national capacities and how they may be constructing ‘local’ peace that doesn’t conform readily or easily to the ideas and intentions of liberal peacebuilding promoted by the international community. This is an under-explored area in the existing research on peacebuilding and through her empirically ground research, Simone’s work will make a real contribution to the field both conceptually and substantively – as well as having implications for policy.

Mark Kersten (2011 grant holder)

Mark Kersten

“It is an incredible privilege and honour to receive a Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant scholarship. I can only hope that my research, focussing on the effects of the International Criminal Court on peace processes, can continue in the proud tradition set by the late Dr. Jacquin Berdal, whose dedication, energy and humility in studying the challenges facing Africa this reward honours.”
Mark Kersten

Thesis title:    Justice at the negotiating table – The Implications of the ICC’s investigations and indictments on peace processes and negotiations in Darfur and N. Uganda

Mark’s PhD project is both timely and important and examines the International Criminal Court’s engagement in Uganda and Sudan. The principal fault-line in the literature on international criminal law is currently the debate between those who believe that justice brings peace, and those who see the imposition of justice mechanisms as a threat to peace. Yet there is little robust conceptual or empirical work on how exactly justice mechanisms impact on peace processes. Mark will provide an in-depth analysis of how ICC investigations and arrest warrants affect peace processes, looking at whether, when and how pursuing justice bolsters or hinders peace.

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