Preventing Deadly Conflict Lecture with Professor Abiodun Williams by Atrey Bhargava (A’21)

by jtijssen
Dec 04

During Parents’ Weekend, Director of the Institute for Global Leadership and Professor of the Practice of International Politics at The Fletcher School Abiodun Williams spoke about his experiences with preventive peacekeeping and the role of International Institutions in facilitating peace and justice across the world.

Highlighting his personal experience with the preventive peacekeeping mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Professor Williams laid out not only the probability of saving more human lives through this approach, but also the resources and monetary benefits that could be attained. Additionally, post-conflict reconciliation is further facilitated as preventive peacekeeping hinders the formation of cleavages amongst groups and organizations in society.

According to Professor Williams, this preventive approach is not universally applied because of the many diplomatic, financial and psychological constraints on the part of both countries and individual populations which value presentism and do not heed attention to future conflicts.

Furthermore, it is relatively more difficult to convince countries and populations to forgo the Westphalian adherence to sovereignty before a conflict has started. In referring to Kofi Annan, however, he brought about the former’s instrumental role in bringing to the forefront the sovereignty of an individual and the importance of universal human rights across the board. The doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect stands as one of former Secretary General’s most defining impacts on international policy formation and the understanding of human dignity.

Keeping the aforementioned thought in mind, Professor Williams laid out the diplomatic and financial architecture to support this preventive peacekeeping approach. He also laid out the emphasis on justice and the formation of the International Criminal Court and the criminal tribunals after the genocide in Rwanda and the civil conflict in Yugoslavia for better reconciliation in post-conflict societies.

The Distler Performance Hall in Granoff was filled to the brim.

Later in the day, the Institute also held an informational session featuring students from its different programs. Eva Kahan, ALLIES Co-President and EPIIC alumna; Matthew Jourlait, EPIIC alumnus and Empower co-coordinator; Cristina de Gama Henriquez, leader of the Tufts International Development Ecuador team; and myself, an EPIIC alumnus and co-leader of NIMEP, presented our experiences with the IGL.