Why Peacemakers Fail

Event Date: Thursday April 21, 2022
Time: 12:00-1:00 pm

The Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution presents:

Why Peacemakers Fail

A virtual talk with:


Matt Waldman
Associate, Oxford University Centre for International Studies
Senior Adviser, European Institute of Peace
Director, Center for Empathy in International Affairs
Senior Mediation Advisor, United States Institute of Peace

Thursday, April 21, 2022
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, ET (US and Canada)

Free and open to the public.

This session will be recorded. Pending approval, we will post the recorded webinar on this page after the session.


About the talk:

There are more armed conflicts worldwide than at any point since 1946. Around the world, peacemaking and mediation efforts are failing to resolve or prevent armed conflict. Why? To answer that question, mediation specialist Matt Waldman conducted 86 non-attributable interviews with the world’s leading mediators and mediation experts – the largest consultation of its kind. The interviewees have between them over 1,500 years of mediation experience.

In this seminar, Waldman reveals how the interviewees overwhelmingly believe that mediation efforts are failing or falling short. They identify serious flaws and deficiencies in a range of areas, such as goals, methods and systems. Interviewees believe more can be done to improve the chances of success. In some areas their views converge, but on some issues, such as the overarching approach required, there is divergence or contention. Waldman will outline the arguments of this nascent but vitally important debate about how to improve the prospects for peace.

About the speaker:

Matt Waldman is an Associate at Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies, Senior Adviser at the European Institute of Peace, and Director of the Center for Empathy in International Affairs. Matt has served as a special adviser to UN envoys for Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. He has undertaken mediation work in the Middle East and Africa with the European Institute of Peace and Inter Mediate. Matt has also undertaken academic research on psychology in foreign policymaking, conflict resolution and mediation effectiveness as a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and Cambridge University.

About the Herbert C. Kelman Seminar Series:

The Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution series is sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Boston area members of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. The seminar considers ways to strengthen the capacity to prevent, resolve, and transform ethnonational conflicts.

 For more information on the Kelman Seminar Series, contact Donna Hicks at dhicks@wcfia.harvard.edu.


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