The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Oliver Richmond (Editor-in-Chief), Gëzim Visoka (Editor-in-Chief)

DR Congo: Local and International Peacebuilders’ Interaction

Living reference work entry


The way local and international peacebuilders interact in a given conflict context is a crucial factor for understanding the success or failure of their efforts. However, most scholars have focused on either the local or the international side of the interaction. Authors focusing on local peacebuilders usually concentrate on civil society and its role in peacebuilding (e.g., Kanol 2010; Paffenholz 2010; Pouligny 2005). They assess different local peace initiatives and show that they can make an important contribution to peace (Call and Cook 2003; Haider 2009; Prendergast and Plumb 2002; Van Tongeren et al. 1999, 2005). However, they do not always provide an in-depth analysis of how these different local efforts interact with international peacebuilding programs. If they do, the focus is often limited to reflections on how international peacebuilders can best support local initiatives and less on how local peacebuilders can contribute to improving international programs (Donais 2012; Hoksbergen 2005). Other authors focus on international peacebuilders. As Call and Cook (2003) state, peace scholars often take it for granted to focus on international actors as the latter are assumed to have the lead in addressing conflict-affected contexts. This does not mean that they completely overlook local actors, but they rarely consider local actors as peacebuilders in their own right. Rather they focus on how international peacebuilders interact with the local population more broadly. This risks portraying local actors as “objects” rather than “subjects” of peacebuilding. In contrast to these previous studies, this entry underlines the importance of understanding the interaction between local and international peacebuilders as a central factor influencing the effectiveness of efforts to address armed conflicts. It first defines key terms and provides a review of the literature on local and international peacebuilders. It then presents insights from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) illustrating the importance of analyzing the interaction between local and international peacebuilders to understand the success or failure of their efforts.


Peacebuilding Local peace Democratic Republic of Congo 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre on Conflict, Development and PeacebuildingGraduate Institute of International and Development StudiesGenevaSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jasmin Ramovic
  • Liridona Veliu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Law and GovernmentDublin City UniversityDublinIreland