Conflict Management and Resolution: Policy and Practice

Submitting Institution

University of Wolverhampton

Unit of Assessment


Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Political Science
Law and Legal Studies: Law

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Summary of the impact

This case study demonstrates the impact of historical research into conflict management and resolution on:

  • national and local government institutions (British, Australian and US armies; Local Democracy Agency; West Midlands Local Government Association; West Midlands Probation Service Trust; West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit)
    Impact: policy making; education; cultural life
  • NGOs (Peace Direct; the Peace Museum, Manchester; Preventing Violent Extremism Programme)
    Impact: civil society, cultural life, policy making
  • training and policy think-tanks (Royal United Services Institute; Joint Services Command and Staff College; RAF Cranwell)
    Impact: education; policy making; civil society

This case study is based on research into the history of conflict resolution/management, peace implementation and public diplomacy in Europe, North America, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Underpinning research

The research has been conducted by Professor Stephen Badsey (in post since 2007); Dr George Kassimeris (in post since 2004); Dr Eamonn O'Kane (in post since 2004); and Professor John Buckley (in post since 1992).

a). Conflict Resolution, Peace Implementation and Democratisation, 2001-2011 supported by the EU (Serbia, 2004-2011 and Norway, 2009-2010).

This research project, conducted by Buckley and O'Kane and involving Badsey and Kassimeris, has focused on techniques and methods for resolving or avoiding conflict. O'Kane's work on the peace process in Northern Ireland and the results and theories that have been so derived, and Buckley's work on the use of armed forces and in particular air power as a means of resolution and peace enforcement have driven this analysis. Research findings have been employed in workshops conducted at the Falstad Memorial and Human Rights Centre, Trondheim, Norway, and in Subotica, Serbia, which brought together different user groups involved in forming, shaping and implementing policies to develop, embed and enhance peace and reconciliation methods and strategies. Local and national government policy makers, academics, armed service educators and trainers, and NGOs contributed their experience and research findings to refine existing methodologies and to devise new approaches.

b). Preventing Terrorism and Political Extremism, 2001-2013, supported by the EU (2010) and The Leverhulme Trust (2010).

Kassimeris has researched and published in the field of addressing and analysing the history of political extremism and terrorism in order to shape our understanding of the methods and approaches to violence perpetrated in the contemporary world. He has worked on Greek terrorism, political extremism and investigated why terrorists cease their activity, publishing two monographs and five articles. O'Kane has published and researched in the field of combatting political extremism and violence in Northern Ireland. This has focused on theories and methodologies of de-escalating violence and political extremism and defining approaches and findings that can be employed in a wider context. This research has resulted in two books (one single-authored, one joint-authored) and ten articles/book chapters. The project has been further underpinned via publications and workshops in Barcelona and with local government in the UK, Sri Lanka and the Balkans, which have further refined practices and policies.

c). Conflict Management and Public Diplomacy, 2007-2013.

Badsey has researched aspects of the history of UK Armed Forces in civil-military and media-military relations, the use of public diplomacy in conflict and in conflict resolution scenarios, and in the field of counterinsurgency. He has been invited to brief and give presentations to UK, NATO, Australian, United States and Japanese defence institutions. His work has focussed on the inter-action between armed forces, the media, public opinion in the widest sense, and the conduct of military operations in practice. He has shown that there are fundamental historical themes and principles underlying these relationships, as well as significant impacts from new technologies both of warfare and communications. Since his appointment in 2007, his research has had a direct impact on the changing nature of conflict/conflict management and the enhanced role of public diplomacy.

References to the research

1. Eamonn O'Kane, `The Impact of Third Party Intervention on Peace Processes: Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka', in A. Edwards and S. Bloomer (eds.), Transforming the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: From Terrorism to Democratic Politics (Irish Academic Press, 2008). This was a peer reviewed and academically refereed collection.

2. John Buckley and Eamonn O'Kane, `Conflict Resolution and Peace Implementation Programme', Falstad, Trondheim, Norway 2009-2010, funded by EU Leonardo Programme (€72,000), and validated through participant feedback and peer-reviewed after activity reports ratified by the EU.

3. George Kassimeris, `Preventing Violent Extremism', Barcelona, funded by EU Leonardo Programme (€55,000) and validated through participant feedback and peer-reviewed after activity reports ratified by the EU.

4. George Kassimeris, `Why do terrorists give up?' Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, peer reviewed competitive research grant of £24,000.

5. George Kassimeris, `Why do Greek Terrorists Give Up? Analyzing Individual Exit from the Revolutionary Organization 17 November' in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (Volume 34, Issue 7, 2011). This is a rigorous academic journal and all articles are subjected to an external refereeing process.


6. Stephen Badsey, `Beyond Doctrine: A Historical Perspective on the Information Operations Debate in Media-Military Relations,' in Kendall D. Gott (ed.) The US Army and the Media in Wartime: Historical Perspectives (Fort Leavenworth KA: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2010).This was a piece based on primary research and part of a fully refereed international publication.

Details of the impact

This case study demonstrates impact on civil society, cultural life, education and policy making.

Policy Making and Education

The most important impact in this area has been on policy making on a variety of levels. The work of O'Kane and Buckley (supported by Badsey and Kassimeris) with the Conflict Resolution and Peace Implementation programme brought together a range of participant individuals, groups, institutions and bodies who develop and implement policy. Participants in the Falstad workshops included British government and armed forces policy groups (e.g. RAF Cranwell, Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham) and NGOs (e.g. Peace Direct) and military/security professionals to analyse contemporary and historical models, theories and practices relating to conflict resolution and peace implementation in the modern world. This interaction between and dissemination of O'Kane's, Buckley's, Badsey's and Kassimeris' research has caused a re-evaluation of NGO and armed forces educational establishments' policies and training methods (see Sources 4 and 5, Section 5).

O'Kane's work in Serbia shaped the development of peace implementation policies in the Subotica region as part of an on-going process of democracy building. He employed his research into the history of peace building and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland to inform and shape the development of policies in Subotica. This has resulted in impact on the policies and training methods employed in Subotica in underpinning democratisation and peace building initiatives (see Source 10, Section 5).

Kassimeris's research on the history of preventing terrorism and understanding how and why terrorists move away from violence impacted upon the West Midlands Probation Service Trust and the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism unit's policy and practice development and implementation. This has resulted in refinement to counter-terrorism intelligence policies in the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit and recasting of understanding of prevention polities and training in the Preventing Violent Extremism Programme. As Paul Marriot, the programme manager of Preventing Violent Extremism, has noted: "From the perspective of a CTU officer I was extremely interested to hear about the Spanish police structure, based upon the national/regional/local levels, and how that must be really difficult with regards to co-ordination and information/intelligence sharing" (see Sources 6, 7, 8 and 9, Section 5).

Badsey's research has impacted upon policies devised for and implemented in the field of public diplomacy. His research and work for the Royal United Services Institute has promoted discussion and debate on policies of managing the relationship between the military, government and the media in the contemporary world. As Michael Codner, Senior Research Fellow in Military Sciences and Editorial Director of RUSI Defence Systems, has noted, the research "raised some specific challenges for the Ministry of Defence which were discussed by key officials". Badsey's work for the Australian and American armed forces has shaped their policies on information operations and media relations and informed their educational and training methods (see Sources 1, 2 and 3, Section 5).

Civil Society and Cultural Life

This research has impacted upon clearly defined areas of civil society in terms of promoting democracy, stabilisation and peace implementation in two ways. Firstly, the work of O'Kane in Subotica was founded upon his work on the Northern Ireland peace process and how such models and theories could be employed in the Balkans. His research input shaped the development of local government through the Local Democracy Agency programme and particularly in the intercultural governance area. His work brought his research together with local government perspectives, including Wolverhampton City Council and local institutions in Subotica, Serbia (see Source 10, Section 5).

Kassimeris's research has impacted upon the understanding of terrorism, the issues behind its development and how it can be prevented. His work through publications and workshops, funded by the EU and Leverhulme, has guided the interaction between different groups focused on cultural understanding and exchange in order to limit the development of terrorism. The exchange of best practice, underpinned by Kassimeris' specific research findings, disseminated through the Barcelona workshop and other media, has helped to define cultural understanding between the participant groups (see Sources 6, 7, 8 and 9, Section 5).

Badsey's work has shaped the interaction between groups involved in the process of managing relationships between the military, media and government, thus promoting enhanced communications and understanding between participant groups. His work has formed debate (RUSI), driven discussion (US Army) and generated a richer environment in which this process can develop (Australian defence forces) (see Sources 1, 2 and 3, Section 5).

Sources to corroborate the impact

  1. `In the Public's Eye: The British Army and Military-Media Relations,' by Stephen Badsey, Expanding the Learning Curve, Royal United Services Institute website, (Autumn 2009), URL:
    This work followed a request to develop the debate in this area from RUSI.
  2. Email from Michael Codner, Senior Research Fellow in Military Sciences and Editorial Director of RUSI Defence Systems: "A very valuable contribution at the time to our `Expanding the Learning Curve' series and raised some specific challenges for the Ministry of Defence which were discussed by key officials". (2013)
  3. Discussion piece 'The Military and the Media: Past and Future' in The Military, the Media and Information Warfare: The 2008 Chief of Army Military History Conference edited by Jeffrey Grey, (Canberra: Army History Unit, 2009). Badsey was the keynote speaker for this seminar aimed at promoting thinking and policy development in the Australian armed forces.
  4. Conflict Resolution and Peace Implementation Workshops, Falstad, Norway (2009/10), Leonardo Programme. Impact of Buckley, O'Kane, Badsey and Kassimeris captured by feedback forms and comments on the EU programme, archived at University of Wolverhampton.
  5. Email from Tom Gillhespy, Peace Direct NGO, on the work of O'Kane and Buckley in Falstad: The project has "led to sharing our work on local indicators with the University of St Andrews, giving annual lectures at the University of Central London and the Metropolitan University and most recently a peer review of impact studies of peacebuilding work in DRC". (2013)
  6. Preventing Violent Extremism, Barcelona, 2010, Leonardo Programme. Impact of Kassimeris' work captured by participant feedback forms and comments on the EU programme, archived at University of Wolverhampton.
  7. Email from Robert Spencer, Head of Intelligence, West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit. "I used and distributed George Kassimeris's Why Greek Terrorists Give Up article in my keynote address to the National Preventing Violent Extremism coordinators' conference in January 2012. The paper's findings informed and challenged our thinking specifically with regard to how individuals, who are already deeply embedded within terrorist groups and who often want a way out of what seems to be a hopeless situation, can be influenced and given an escape route". (2013)
  8. Email from Paul Marriot, programme manager of Preventing Violent Extremism: "I have been in contact with two of the Spanish officers since returning as they are really keen to learn about our Prevent work, especially around profiling and identifying vulnerability". (2010).
  9. Email from Parveen Brique, Senior Probation Officer, Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust on Preventing Violent Extremism: "Upon return [from Barcelona Workshop] I was able to share with my work colleagues in the Probation Service the strategies that can be implemented with some of the individuals involved, to encourage them to explore different options. It enhanced the work of the Probation service".
  10. 'Local Partnerships for Tolerance', Local Democracy Agency, Subotica, Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA). Eamonn O'Kane was contributor to and editor for this process. (2011).