From Urban to Rural, Social Cohesion, Resilience, & Climate Change: Opportunities for Peacebuilding


From Urban to Rural, Social Cohesion, Resilience, and Climate Change: Opportunities for Peacebuilding

This panel provides an opportunity to identify and discuss the linkages between social cohesion, resilience, and climate change. Academics and implementers who focus these issues in both urban and rural settings in Latin AMerica, South Sudan, and Nigeria will highlight emerging issues and findings from operational research, project implementation, and long-term studies. Panelists will discuss the drivers of conflict and climate-related migration to urban areas and their impact on people in rural communities, explore how climate change can have either a negative or positive impact on social cohesion, and surface innovative strategies to strengthen social cohesion and community resilience in response to these dynamics in conflict-affected areas.

Katja Starc Card
Katja Starc Card is a Governance Researcher at the Airbel Impact Lab where she leads IRC’s research on peacebuilding, governance and urbanization. Before joining the IRC, Katja worked in Afghanistan as a researcher and monitoring and evaluation professional for local research NGOs and international humanitarian and development organizations, covering local governance, development, and stabilization projects. She will draw on IRC’s research conducted in 2021 in Bukavu, DRC and Maiduguri, funded by the U.S. Institute of Peace, which explored how displacement affects urban areas and the promising approaches to enhance resilience and mitigate the risk of violent conflict.

Edmore Mahlupeka
Edmore Mahlupeka is a Governance Coordinator in South Sudan with the International Rescue Committee. He leads the USAID-funded Communities Managing Conflict (CMC) project which used a people-to-people approach to work with communities affected by conflict in Unity State, South Sudan. He has extensive experience in peacebuilding/social cohesion, protection, durable solutions, and rule of law, working with local partners, youth, women, communities affected by conflict crisis including internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, and host communities in Zimbabwe, Northeast Syria and South Sudan.

Imrana Buba
Imrana Buba is a PhD researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo. His research is on the dynamics of political violence, social resilience, and peace in northern Nigeria. Before starting the PhD, he worked as a community development and conflict sensitivity specialist for several international organizations. Imrana is also the founder of the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, a volunteer-based youth organization working to unite youth against violent extremism in Nigeria. He received the 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the 2017 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award for promoting a culture of peace. He holds BSc Political Science from the University of Maiduguri and MSc in Africa and International Development from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Achim Wennmann
Dr Wennmann, is an expert on the economic perspectives of violent conflict, peace mediation and peacebuilding with years of experience in conflict response: peace processes, conflict prevention, and violence reduction. He is Senior Researcher at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva where he specializes in state fragility and hybrid political orders, the private sector in complex markets, natural resource management in fragile states and armed groups and conflict financing.

Jessie Anderson
Jessie Anderson is the Senior Conflict Advisor for USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where she leads work on conflict integration and humanitarian-development-peace coherence. Previously at USAID she was a Democracy Fellow in conflict, fragility and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Agency she founded a startup supporting local peacebuilding efforts, consulted for aid organizations, and researched peace operations as a fellow at the Stimson Center. She also coordinated events on the future of humanitarian aid at GWU, where she earned her PhD in political science.

Laurie Ashley
Laurie Ashley, Resilience and Climate Adaptation Specialist Laurie is a resilience and climate adaptation specialist dedicated to advancing adaptation strategies across sectors. She has designed, implemented, and provided technical assistance for climate change adaptation and natural resource management programs for more than 20 years. Laurie currently serves as an advisor and technical authority on sectoral and cross-sectoral adaptation policy and programming for USAID, partner governments, implementers, and other stakeholders.


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