Somalia: Creating Space for Fresh Approaches to Peacebuilding

This publication is a result of a collaboration between the Life & Peace Institute and the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. What emerges from the articles is that policy options discussed by decision makers inside and outside Somalia are based primarily on global and regional security concerns. They tend to overlook the local complexities and the potential for nonviolent conflict transformation that exist in the context. The article " Addressing terrorism: A theory of change approach" suggests that a more direct exploration of theories of change could create a more effective understanding of how best to approach and encourage constructive social change. "Al-Shabaab part of the solution to the problems faced by Somalia?" describes the role of Al-Shabaab in hindering peacebuilding in Somalia. "Civilian support and the foundations of al-Shabaab expansion" draws on the literature on rebel-civilian interactions in civil wars to provide a framework through which peacebuilding organizations can analyze the actions of al-Shabaab and support civilians give or withhold from al-Shabaab. "Re-thinking Somali national identity: Nationalism, state formation and peacebuilding in Somalia" examines nationalism and state formation in Somalia from the perspectives of history and identity politics. "US engagement in Somalia: Frames, missed opportunities and alternative options" presents a brief overview of US involvement in Somalia from the Cold War to the present and suggests how particular frameworks may have contributed to missed opportunities for a constructive US role in Somalia, or obstructed Somali and NGO led peacebuilding efforts. The distinct ways in which the international media frames Somalia shapes both the way the international community understands the conflict, and the range of responses that international actors consider. The article " Impact of international media in Somalia" provides a descriptive account of these frames over time, and hypothesizes the effects of these frames on local and international efforts at peacebuilding . "Criminalizing peace or containing violence?" focuses on the challenges peacebuilding agencies encounter when working in Somalia.