Carter School research takes faculty and students to local, national, and global communities to engage with the most pressing challenges in our world.
You’ll find us everywhere, from building bridges between communities in Ukraine, searching for evidence of what works to build peace around the world, empowering women in the Middle East to participate in political processes, and working on race and social justice issues here at home. Our faculty and students take the words engaged scholarships to heart and emphasize making a real-world difference through our research and practice projects.
Local Government Partnerships
The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution has a long history of successful partnerships with local governments in Northern Virginia and we look forward to additional opportunities to expand those collaborations. Previous and ongoing projects with both County government and Public Schools provide a solid basis and history to build future collaborations. In addition, partnerships with Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties provides ideas and models for how the Carter School can support the work of local government agencies.
Carter School faculty are working with an initiative called Restorative Arlington to build capacity within Arlington County to expand the reach of restorative practices in schools, the legal system, and the community more broadly. Carter School’s contributions will include training programs, evaluative and scholarly research, and student engagement in restorative practices county-wide. A student and faculty team is currently providing support to community organizations that have expressed interested in mounting restorative programs and also to Arlington Public Schools for training programs.
This Arlington specific activity is happening at the same time as the Carter School is consolidating our research and practice work around justice issues, including restorative practices. This includes faculty trained in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program modality as well as many other projects aimed at shifting how we approach justice. Funding for some of these initiatives has been sought through the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the American Arbitration Association, and the Department of Justice, including the Victims of Crime Act initiative.
Over the last decade we have partnered with Arlington on several occasions to run dialogue processes within the community. This includes Diversity Dialogues in 2008, Nauck Neighborhood (renamed as Green Valley in 2019) diversity dialogues in 2010 and private community intervention. More recently we worked with a variety of Arlington agency’s including the county’s Director of Community Engagement, under the umbrella of the Community Progress Network, to design and facilitate a set of dialogues on health, energy, and parking in the County.
In Fairfax county=we have partnered with Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services on a series of projects over the last 5 years. These included a needs and capacity assessment for a day labor community in Centreville, multiple projects bringing restorative practices into Teen, Senior, and Community Centers and a series of projects with NGO partners.
Carter faculty and students are partnering with Fairfax City, wto allow the community to engage with the City’s Civil War legacy and take on questions of street names, the City Seal, and monuments and markers. This project will also asurface larger structural issues that community wants to address. This program will include a set of learning series conversations addressing historical patterns and how they interact with community values alongside community dialogues and facilitation of a City Council appointed Stakeholder Group.
Carter School faculty have a long history of engagement with school systems to work on conflict issues and develop capacity among faculty, staff, and students to manage conflicts more productively. This includes a 20+ year relationship with Fairfax County Public Schools peer mediation program, including faculty serving on the steering committee and hosting the annual conference for elementary, middle, and high schoolers.
In 2018 we worked with Arlington Public Schools Department of School and Community Relations office to implement a multi-phase community engagement process about the values that should be embodied in the names of Arlington County Public Schools. This included engagements in schools with high school students, parent and alumni surveys, and staff surveys to inform the development of a school naming policy.
More broadly, since 2017 we have been running a project for the Virginia Department of Education to bring skilled facilitators in to assist with IEP meetings to curtail the need for further legal or mediation action. This pilot started in 10 counties around the state and is expanding statewide
This project led to a specific engagement with Loudoun County Public Schools to work directly with special education supervisors to provide them training, facilitated feedback sessions, and to co-develop with them training that has been rolled out to special education designees, caseworkers, administrators and future supervisors around the county. The 18-month long project left LCPS with the internal capacity to maintain the training and education for future cohorts and new hires.
Since October 2019, Carter faculty are supporting Ch Arlington County Public Schools to lead a community engagement process on the role of School Resource Officers in public schools. This commission-based process will involve a stakeholder group of 48 members working through a series of policy, operations, and implementation questions about the role of police in school discipline.
Our engagement with the Centreville community started as a request from Fairfax County Police to Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) to help with increased levels of violence within a specific diaspora community of predominately day laborers. Over the next six months, we worked with the local day labor center, library, churches, police, NCS, and most importantly the day laborers themselves to map out the stresses, service gaps, existing conflict resolution mechanisms, and drives of violence in that particular community.
We designed and provided training to community members as well as worked with NCS to develop a report that was used by Fairfax County planners to fill service gaps and engage the local faith communities to provide services.
This work has since expanded in the Lorton area where we have been working for two years with the Franconia District Station on a sustained community engagement effort with one of the neighborhoods in their patrol area that is the most alienated from police. Again, this partnership formed with the Lorton Community Action Center, Lorton brand of the Fairfax County Public library, and Carter school faculty and students. Following community wide engagement efforts, we are turning toward youth focused engagement. As a result of our longer-term engagement around the county we have a faculty member serving on the Fairfax County Police's citizen human relations policy review committee.
In February 2021, Carter School faculty completed a project with an external legal consultant to lead a 6 month long multi-stage process to evaluate Arlington County Police Practices. This includes a technical review of APD policies and practices (led by the law firm) and a 6 month long facilitated process with a steering group of 15 community leaders. This facilitated process began with 2 months of research /education for the community steering group on national initiatives in policing followed by 4 months of community engagement processes led by the steering group to provide community feedback to the county manager.
2016 kicked off a multi-year partnership with the Fairfax County Public Libraries on a project to bring media literacy and civil dialogue workshops to library patrons around the county. The program was developed originally to build these skills more generally and has now been modified as a mechanism for civic conversation in the lead up to elections. This combination of media literacy and dialogue skills training has been expanded to other parts of the United States and Internationally to support grass roots level community reconciliation along side scalable programming brining these tools to wider audiences.
Carter School faculty are regular contributors to both the Fairfax based Osher Life Long learning Center and the Arlington based Encore program that serves the needs of older adults. We have also contributed to youth leadership development through faculty connections with the Leadership Center for Excellence.
The Carter School places great value in our relationships in the communities we live, learn, and teach in. While many of our faculty and students have a vision of peacebuilding in international context, we have a strong commitment among our community to engage in effective peacebuilding in our own back yard. We’ve listed here some of the ways that we have engaged with local governments in Northern Virginia in service to that commitment to our communities. Most of these partnerships started with the exploration of a problem, and a creative co-development of solutions between Carter School faculty and students and our government partners. We continue to look for ways that we can serve the needs of our local community.
The Carter School also conducts research at the national and international levels, often in conjunction with other researchers, humanitarian organizations, and other partners, to study the nature and underlying causes of conflict between and within nations, races, and political and cultural groups throughout the world. It is our hope that these insights will not only be used to build peace, but to proactively and ethically address the causes of conflict before they can escalate – ending the cycle of violence.
The project analyzes the perceptions of relations and reconciliation processes between Japan and the Republic of Korea. The analysis is conducted from the perspectives of multiple symbolic boundaries, power and outgroup threat, as well as historical narratives and collective memory.
June 2015 – current
PI: Karina Korostelina, Professor
The project is supported by the following Fellowships:
- Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship at the University of Singapore, Singapore, “Collective memories and symbolic boundaries in North-East Asia,” 2020.
- POSCO Visiting Fellowship with the East-West Center (EWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii, 2019. Video.
- Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, “Historic Representations and Perspectives on Japanese-Korean reconciliation,” 2018.
- Fellowship at the Northeast Asia History Foundation, Seoul, South Korea, “Reconciliation in Northeast Asia: The social identity approach,” 2015.
It resulted in the following publications:
- (2020) (with Yuji Uesugi) Japanese Perspective on Korean Reunification: An Analysis of Interrelations between Social Identity and Power, Asian International Studies Review Vol. 21 No.1 (June 2020): 47-71.
- (2020) (with Yuji Uesugi) Impact of Symbolic Boundaries on perceptions of relations between Japan and South Korea, National Identities.
- (2019) (with Yuji Uesugi) Perception of Korean Reunification among Japanese Experts: The Collective Frame Approach, In WIAS Research Bulletin, 11, pp.5-16.
- (2019) The normative function of national historical narratives: South Korea perceptions of relations with Japan. In National Identities, 21(2), pp. 171-189.
Carter School professors Richard Rubenstein and Solon Simmons have put together a book featuring articles by themselves and twelve other conflict experts on Conflict Resolution After the Pandemic: Building Peace, Pursuing Justice (Routledge Press, March 2021). This is the first major attempt by conflict resolution scholars and practitioners to assess the impact of the pandemic on social conflicts in the U.S. and around the globe, and to discuss how these struggles can be peacefully resolved.
The topics covered include conflicts involving race, class, nationality, gender, and religion, as well as the possibilities of creating new methods of changing the systems that generate violence. Contributors to this book will be discussing their insights online as part of the Carter School's Peace Week broadcasts in early March 2021.
With this project we seek to gather and disseminate the stories of Sudanese civilians regarding, first, their account of the violence in their home region that they witnessed, experienced or learned about and, second, their vision for a just Sudan that overcomes the systemic injustices that pervade the nation. Such an oral history will contribute to the peacebuilding efforts of officials of the transitional government by responding to the needs, fears, and hopes of Sudanese citizens.
December 2020 - December 2021
PI: Daniel Rothbart, Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Co-PI Karina Korostelina, Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
We will select only those civilians who are at least 45 years old, based on the belief that this segment of the population was born during or before the first period of peace that occurred between 1972 and 1983 and then witnessed cycles of large-scale war and peace in their region. We seek to document the oral history of 100 Sudanese divided through the three war-affected regions – Darfur region & Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile states. The direct beneficiaries will be the 100 Sudanese who will be interviewed. They will have an opportunity to recount their experiences and observations of past violence; such expression will have a healing effect on those who have experienced trauma. Summaries of these oral histories will be distributed to officials of the transitional governing bodies, including the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council.
The project aims at establishing Dialogue and Difference Program at the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine and incorporating conflict analysis and resolution into academic curricula of the University. The project addresses the urgent need to create a safe space for the University students to discuss the most important political and social issues in Ukrainian society affected by the war as well as chronic violence and IDP issues in the region, and promote tolerance and appreciation of diversity among young generation of Ukrainians.
Supported by the Department of State
March 2019 - May 2021
PI: Dr. Karina Korostelina, professor.
Co-PIs: Julie Shedd, Mara Schoeny, Patricia Maulden.
The project has two components: (1) It establishes the Dialogue and Difference Program (DDP) to promote cultural, political, and social understanding through the process of community dialogue participation; (2) it incorporates modules on conflict analysis and resolution in the following courses taught by the faculty of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.
The proposed project aims to establish the Internship Program (IP) for undergraduate students of three regional Universities (V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Pryazovskyi State Technical University, and Kherson State University). The 3-week internship during the fall of senior year will bring students to local administrations and NGOs working with IDPs and on community development.
April 2020 – August 2021
Supported by the Department of State
PI: Dr. Karina Korostelina, professor.
Co-PIs: Julie Shedd, Mara Schoeny.
Establishing the IP connects students to important contemporary issues in Ukrainian society, enhances career counseling at Ukrainian universities, and provides students with skills to become leaders of society. It also creates collaboration between Universities and local administrations and NGOs providing them with crucial support in increasing inclusion of marginalized populations and fostering reginal development. This educational revision will bring innovations in teaching conflict resolution and promoting the service to local communities from the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University with its 35 years of experience revealing and addressing the underlying sources and effects of conflicts.
The Better Evidence Project in the Center for Peacemaking Practice has awarded $68,864 to Horn of Africa Women Empowerment Network (HAWENKA) to study how indigenous women navigate barriers to peacebuilding to achieve success, how international peace actors can learn from knowledge among local women in peacebuilding, and what can be done for increasing success in peacebuilding as well as building a framework for sustainable peace at the local level.
The study will conduct interviews, observations, and focus groups with sixty participants in three counties to build a localized model based on indigenous knowledge. Amina Hassan Ahmed will lead the project.
Supported by Milt Lauenstein and the DT Institute
August 2020 - July 2021
Better Evidence Project PI: Susan Allen
Project PI: Amina Hassan Ahmed
The Better Evidence Project in the Center for Peacemaking Practice has awarded $73,485 to Harvard University to study ways of measuring the success of peacebuilding efforts. This project will also analyze how assessments of locally led peacebuilding efforts differ from assessments of broader peacebuilding efforts.
Acting at these two levels of analysis the project will: 1) define the concept of peacebuilding effectiveness, 2) analyze the usefulness of indicators currently used to assess peacebuilding effectiveness, 3) apply those indicators at the community level, and 4) finally develop a core of key effectiveness indicators at the national and community levels. Professor Phuong Pham will lead the research.
Supported by Milt Lauenstein and the DT Institute
August 2020 - July 2021
Better Evidence Project PI: Susan Allen
Project PI: Phuong Pham
This on-going project, originally part of C.P.P’s Latin American Program, aims at highlighting lessons about how local, [mainly rural] communities can develop strategies that enable them to minimize local violence, assist development and strengthen local democracy in the wholly adverse circumstances of a civil war. It focuses on grassroots efforts to provide safety and sanctuary, to return to homes from which people have driven, to negotiate with local armed actors and to encourage participation in local and regional decision-making.
It aims to share best practices from a variety of strife torn countries, currently including Colombia, El Salvador, the Philippines, and other countries in Asia and Africa through a descriptive data set of over 100 peace zones or communities (currently under reconstruction); and to publish articles and books analyzing the histories of individual peace zones. The latest of these, entitled Confronting Peace, will be published in the Spring of 2021 by Palgrave/Macmillan.
Supported by: The Leach Bursary Fund
2002 – 2025
PI. Dr Susan Allen
Co-PIs: Christopher Mitchell, Landon Hancock (Kent State University).
Associated institutions; FLACSO, Ecuador; REDEPAZ, Colombia; Notre Dame University.