“Local or Global? The Future of Peacebuilding in Africa”

On May 2, the academic and practitioner worlds converged in a sit-down conversation between Séverine Autesserre, professor and chair of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University and João Honwana, former director of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs of the UN. They discussed the tensions that often exist between the international peacebuilding agenda set by the United Nations and the local implementation realities. This is hybrid event took place at HFG’s New York office.

Watch Video Below

Severine Autessere is an award-winning author, peacebuilder, and researcher, as well as a Professor and Chair of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of The Trouble with the Congo (2010), Peaceland (2014), and The Frontlines of Peace (2021).

João Honwana is a Senior Advisor with the Mediation Program at the Kroc Institute. He was the 2017 Sérgio Vieira de Mello Chair at Seaton Hall University. He is a retired senior official of the United Nations, having served as Representative of the UN Secretary General in Guinea Bissau; Director of the Africa Divisions 1 & 2 in the Department of Political Affairs; Chief of Staff of UNMIS in Sudan; Head of the UN Office in Mali; and Chief of the Conventional Arms Branch at the Department of Disarmament.


“Conflict and Climate: How Global Warming Leads to Global Violence”

On March 21, three academics examined the complex relationship between conflict and climate at HFG’s first speaker series event of 2024. They discussed how climate intersects with other vulnerabilities and how these factors contribute to violence often attributed to climate change. The speakers challenged dominant narratives about climate-induced conflict; noted the impact of war and conflict on the environment itself, and examined the psychological impact of climate change. They also delved into the historical impact of colonialism, capitalism, and militarism on climate change, with special emphasis on the global south.

Speakers included:

Marwa Daoudy is Associate Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (SFS) and the Seif Ghobash Chair in Arab Studies at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University.

Sarah Njeri is a Lecturer in Humanitarian and Development at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.

Javier Puente is Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Chair of Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Smith College.


“Weapons of War: Examining Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Zones”

This is the first panel of a three-part series titled “Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence”. Read more about the full series here.

With examples from El Salvador and Ethiopia, this international panel discussed how government and non-state actors can formulate humanitarian responses to conflict-related sexual violence. They also suggested new areas for research in the fields of gender, international relations, and political science.

This, the first installment of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation’s Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence speaker series, was moderated by HFG Program Officer Nyeleti Honwana joined by these experts on gender-based violence:

  • Abby Cordova, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame
  • Romina Istratii, School of History, Religions and Philosophies, SOAS

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Knowledge Against Violence Speaker Series provides timely research and analysis for an informed audience from leading violence experts. Guest speakers, drawn from the Foundation’s network of scholars and practitioners, seek to illuminate the causes, manifestations, and responses to violence in areas such as war, crime, terrorism, intimate relationships, climate instability, and political extremism.

Watch Panel II: “Reckoning with Intimate-Partner Violence after the Pandemic”

Watch Panel III: “Sex Work: Does Legitimization Mitigate Violence?”


“Reckoning with Intimate-Partner Violence after the Pandemic”

This is the second panel of a three-part series titled “Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence”. Read more about the full series here.

Violence against women increased markedly during COVID-19, prompting the United Nations to call it a “shadow pandemic.” The phenomenon was seen worldwide. Years after state-mandated lockdowns, intimate partner violence levels remain elevated in many regions of the world. What accounts for this and what does the latest research tell us about effective responses from health and other sectors?

For the second installment of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation’s Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence speaker series, HFG Program Officer Nyeleti Honwana moderated a discussion of this issue with these experts on gender-based violence:

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Knowledge Against Violence Speaker Series provides timely research and analysis for an informed audience from leading violence experts. Guest speakers, drawn from the Foundation’s network of scholars and practitioners, seek to illuminate the causes, manifestations, and responses to violence in areas such as war, crime, terrorism, intimate relationships, climate instability, and political extremism.

Watch Panel I: “Weapons of War: Examining Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Zones”

Watch Panel III: “Sex Work: Does Legitimization Mitigate Violence?”


“Sex Work: Does Legitimization Mitigate Violence?”

This is the third panel of a three-part series titled “Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence”. Read more about the full series here.

The legitimization and legalization of sex work are much-debated topics in countries around the world. From issues of women’s agency to concerns over human trafficking and exposure to violence, this conversation examined how sex workers make choices about their profession in conflict-affected regions. It also delved into the implications of reducing violence against sex workers should the practice become legalized.

For the third installment of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation’s Global Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence speaker series, HFG Program Officer Nyeleti Honwana moderated a discussion of the issues with these experts on gender-based violence:

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Knowledge Against Violence Speaker Series provides timely research and analysis for an informed audience from leading violence experts. Guest speakers, drawn from the Foundation’s network of scholars and practitioners, seek to illuminate the causes, manifestations, and responses to violence in areas such as war, crime, terrorism, intimate relationships, climate instability, and political extremism.

Watch Panel I: “Weapons of War: Examining Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Zones”

Watch Panel II: “Reckoning with Intimate-Partner Violence after the Pandemic”


“Beyond the Crisis: Reimagining Migrant Protection”

HFG’s June 29, 2023 Knowledge Against Violence Speaker Series event, “Beyond the Crisis: Reimagining Migrant Protection,” explored migrant rights and protections from the perspective of three scholars who study the issue from Europe, Africa and North and South America.

The panel was moderated by historian and HFG Pembroke College Research Fellow (2017-2020) Nicki Kindersley of Cardiff University. The panelists included Surulola Eke, a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen’s University, who studies links among autochthony, natural resources, and conflicts in West Africa, and Charles Larratt-Smith, an assistant professor of political science at Tecnológico de Monterrey who studies migrants affected by conflict in Mexico and Colombia.

The conversation explored the utility of the 1951 Refugee Convention as it applies to migrant protections today; how migrants are shaping conflict landscapes; and how we reconcile international agendas with local and regional realities. It highlighted the legalities and policies around international regional and local migrant protection and the importance of getting broader racial, ethnic, gendered, and economic considerations right as they pertain to north-south and south-south migration and the violence that migrants face.

Watch Video Below

Nicki Kindersley is a Lecturer in African History at the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. She was the Harry Frank Guggenheim Research Fellow from 2017-2020 at Pembroke College, Cambridge University.

Surulola Eke is Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University, Canada. He was awarded an HFG Distinguished Scholar Award in 2023.

Charles Larratt-Smith is an Assistant Professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. He was awarded an HFG Emerging Scholar Award in 2017 and an HFG Distinguished Scholar Award in 2023.


“Why Have Homicide Rates Gone up Since 2015? A Historical Perspective”: Dr. Randolph Roth

Thursday, March 30 | 1 p.m. ET

Dr. Randolph Roth, a Professor of History and Sociology at Ohio State University, is the author of American Homicide.

Scholars have been puzzled by the rise in homicides since 2015. Many theories that have been put forth have merit, but most take a short-term view of why the rate of violent crime has changed in recent years. 

Join Professor Roth for HFG’s next Speaker Series talk where he takes a longer, historical view of the reasons why rates of violent crime change over time—a view that focuses on the degree to which modern and early modern societies have been successful at nation building. As he suggests, the fundamental requisites for low levels of violence are political stability, legitimate government, a legitimate social hierarchy, and fellow feeling and a sense of kinship among citizens.

Roth received a 2013 Distinguished Scholar (then called Research Grant) award from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. His project was titled Child Murder in America.

Watch video below

About American Homicide from Harvard University Press: 

In American Homicide, Randolph Roth charts changes in the character and incidence of homicide in the U.S. from colonial times to the present. Roth argues that the United States is distinctive in its level of violence among unrelated adults—friends, acquaintances, and strangers.

America was extraordinarily homicidal in the mid-seventeenth century, but it became relatively non-homicidal by the mid-eighteenth century, even in the slave South; and by the early nineteenth century, rates in the North and the mountain South were extremely low. But the homicide rate rose substantially among unrelated adults in the slave South after the American Revolution; and it skyrocketed across the United States from the late 1840s through the mid-1870s, while rates in most other Western nations held steady or fell. That surge—and all subsequent increases in the homicide rate—correlated closely with four distinct phenomena: political instability; a loss of government legitimacy; a loss of fellow-feeling among members of society caused by racial, religious, or political antagonism; and a loss of faith in the social hierarchy. Those four factors, Roth argues, best explain why homicide rates have gone up and down in the United States and in other Western nations over the past four centuries, and why the United States is today the most homicidal affluent nation.


“Protectors or Predators: Understanding Urban Gang Violence Around the World” Panel

Urban Gang Violence is widely synonymous with criminality and deviance. However, this conversation showcased examples from Pakistan, Brazil, Ecuador and DR Congo to complicate our understanding of gangs. From violent criminal behavior to service provision and community legitimacy, HFG grantees explored the sometimes paradoxical role of urban gangs and offered suggestions for mitigating the violence they inflict.

Speakers Included:

Watch Video Below

Nicholas Barnes is a Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews and an affiliated faculty at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

David C. Brotherton is Professor of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center and affiliated with Ph.D. programs in Urban Education, Sociology and Criminal Justice.

Adeem Suhail is an assistant professor in social anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College.

Rosette Sifa Vuninga is Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Western Cape’s Centre for the Humanities Research in Cape Town, South Africa.

Thomas Abt is the founding director of the Center for the Study and Practice of Violence Reduction (VRC) and an associate research professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.

Links shared:

  • Atlanta example: https://streetgroomers.org/
  • Nyumba kumi example: Ndono, Phyllis Wamaitha, Nzioka John Muthama, and Kariuki Muigua. “Effectiveness of the Nyumba Kumi community policing initiative in Kenya.” Journal of Sustainability, Environment and Peace 1, no. 2 (2019): 63-67.


“Understanding the Drivers of Violent Extremism in Africa” Panel

Violent extremism remains one of Africa’s most pressing security threats. Employing asymmetric tactics and integrating within local communities, militant groups have sought to amplify grievances and intercommunal differences as a means of mobilizing recruitment and fostering antigovernment sentiments.” (Africa Center for Strategic Studies)

This conversation drew on the work and expertise of two HFG grantees and explored the dominant narratives of violent extremism on the African continent, the role of the state, and the dichotomy between victims and perpetrators of violence in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique. Speakers Included:

Watch Video Below

Daniel Agbiboa is the author of They Eat Our Sweat: Transport Labor, Corruption, and Everyday Survival in Urban Nigeria and Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Rachel Sweet is Assistant Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


“Rising Violent Crime in Mexico” Panel

This panel featured three HFG Distinguished Scholars who examined the rapid rise in gang- and drug-related violence across the country. It is estimated that in 2021 some 45,000 people were displaced, as Mexicans fled their homes to escape the violence. Just in the last month, drug cartels and gangs attacked police, businesses and civilian property in four states. From crippled intelligence and investigative units to failing security policies, this discussion delved into what’s behind the rise in violence, what research questions can help us better understand it, and ultimately what should be done about it. Speakers included:

Watch video below.

Angélica Durán-Martínez is the author of the book The Politics of Drug Violence, and is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Global Studies PhD program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Guillermo Trejo is a co-author of the book Votes, Drugs, and Violence: The Political Logic of Criminal Wars in Mexico, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, and the Director of the Violence and Transitional Justice Lab at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Javier Osorio is a co-author of Legacies of Resistance: Mobilization Against Organized Crime in Mexico, and is an Associate Professor at the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona.


Welcome to the website of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Sign up here for Foundation news and updates on our programs and research.