The Centre for International Development- Northumbria, UK( co-founder of the centre)
The Centre for International Development team comprises a multi-disciplinary group of staff drawn from across the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, whose work engages with diverse aspects of International Development. Details of our key staff members can be found below. https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/academic-departments/social-sciences-languages/research/centre-for-international-development/
The Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH)
Established in Jerusalem in December 1998, MIFTAH seeks to promote the principles of democracy and good governance within various components of Palestinian society; it further seeks to engage local and international public opinion and official circles on the Palestinian cause. To that end, MIFTAH adopts the mechanisms of an active and in-depth dialogue, the free flow of information and ideas, as well as local and international networking. http://www.miftah.org
Women Media and Development
TAM was established in September of 2003 by a group of media women and activists in community work and was registered in February 2004 in accordance to the Palestinian Charities and civil Organizations law no. (1) of 2000. The idea behind launching TAM as it was initiated by a group of media women who felt that there was a severe shortage of programs and information materials of social and feministic issues in Palestine, and by their profound faith in the importance of media as an essential instrument in community development and empowerment of women and the use of media as a tool for developing, disseminating and publicizing of gender concepts, this group of media women sought the establishment of TAM in September of 2003 and headquartered in Bethlehem while its work scope covered Palestine. + More
TAM tasks are derived from the principles of human rights, gender, democracy and justice, non-violence, dialogue, combating all forms of discrimination and the protection of the bodily, spiritual and moral freedoms and the effective and active participation and creativity.
The Richardson Institute is the oldest peace and conflict research centre in the UK, based in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. Lancaster has a strong tradition of exploring issues in Peace and conflict studies and the Lancaster Peace Research Centre was formed in 1959, at the same time as the Norwegian Peace Research Institute Oslo. The Richardson Institute was formed in 1969, named after the Quaker Scientist Lewis Fry Richardson, although it emerged out of a number of embryonic initiatives in both Lancaster and London. After a period of time in the capital, the institute moved to Lancaster in 1978 where it has since been directed by Michael Nicholson, Paul Smoker, Morris Bradley, Hugh Miall, Feargel Cochrane and Simon Mabon, who was appointed Director of the institute in 2012. + More
The institute engages in a range of activities from funded research to teaching. In 1997-8 an MA in Conflict Resolution was established and the following year, a combined major in Peace Studies and International Relations was approved. In 2012, an internship programme was established that gives students from PPR and the wider faculty the opportunity to work with a range of different organisations on issues pertaining to peace and conflict.
The Institute is currently undertaking the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-Sectarianisation project, funded by Carnegie Corporation. It also hosts a Critical Thinking group, which discusses contemporary political issues in the Morecambe Bay area.
The Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation (SEPAD) project based at Lancaster University’s Richardson Institute is a collaborative project aimed at understanding the conditions that give rise to sectarian violence and proxy conflicts along religious lines with the aim of creating space for a ‘de-sectarianisation’ of socio-political life. + More
After the onset of the Arab Uprisings and the fragmentation of regime-society relations, communal relations across the Middle East have become increasingly strained as societal actors retreat into sub-state identities whilst difference becomes increasingly violent, spilling out beyond state borders. The power of religion - and trans-state nature of belief and linkages - has provided the means for external actors to exert influence over a number of groups across the region. Moving beyond such static views, this project seeks to explore the conditions that give rise to such conditions, looking at political, legal and theological factors to create space for a 'de-sectarianisation' of socio-political life. The idea of de-sectarianism seeks to erode “primordialist” and deterministic views that see religious tensions, in particular between Sunnis and Shi’as, as preordained and immutable and as the unmovable source of conflicts in the region. By focusing on other factors that influence the transformation and diffusion of sectarian identities, ‘de-sectarianisation’ is the process of deconstructing exclusionary and binary forms of identity to reveal the contingent factors that shape life.
Since 2003, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has occupied a central role in shaping the nature of Middle Eastern politics. Amidst fragmentation of state-society relations across the region, both states have attempted to increase their regional power by exerting influence across a number of proxies along ethnic and religious lines. In Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, both states have cultivated relationships with indigenous groups that has fed into the entrenchment of political and sectarian difference, often spilling over into violence with catastrophic consequences. This project seeks to understand how and why such relationships operate, along with proposing strategies and a conceptual toolkit to a) mitigate the capacity for proxy rivalries to emerge and b) de-escalate tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Efforts to understand the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran have produced a body of literature that can be separated into three camps: The first suggests that the rivalry is best understood through a balance of power in the Gulf. The second camp suggests that religion plays a prominent role in shaping the nature of the rivalry and that proxy conflicts have been drawn along sectarian lines. The third camp suggests that a more nuanced approach is needed, drawing upon concerns about regime power and legitimacy - externally and internally - with instrumentalised use of religious difference.
The use of Islamic rhetoric serves not only to legitimise rulers domestically, but also provides opportunities to increase power and influence across the region. The spread of identities across Middle Eastern states - which are predominantly Arab and Sunni - mean that Shi'a and Persian (Iranian) identities have often been securitized as a means of ensuring control and regime survival. This trend has indeed facilitated the rise of sectarian tensions both within and across state, which consequently lead to the proliferation of proxy actors and tensions. Because of this, the project seeks to identify and documents the conditions that give rise through proxy conflicts by analysing them through the lens of sectarianism, as these two phenomena are too tightly interrelated to be unpacked separately.