Reflections on Election Conflict and Violence Prevention: Lessons from Southern Africa
On August 29th 2018, ECES’ Executive Director, Fabio Bargiacchi, and ECES’ Senior Election Conflict Management Advisor, Victoria Florinder, were invited at pre-workshop of the American Association of Political Science (APSA) titled “New Challenges in Electoral Management, Building Better Elections”.
The workshop occurred in Boston at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was organized by the Electoral Management Network, the Electoral Integrity Project and the MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL).
It offered a unique opportunity for a large number of universities, academic institutions and electoral support organisations (such as Carter Centre, IFES, NDI, ECES and others) to engage in discussion with the scholarly community.
ECES specifically contributed at a panel titled “Mitigating Electoral Violence”. We presented on the lessons that can be learned from Southern Africa in regard to preventing electoral conflicts and violence by releasing a handbook “Preventing and Mitigating Electoral Conflict and Violence” and a paper derivating from this Handbook, both of them produced in the context of a project funded by the European Union and implemented by ECES since 2013.
Following the completion of this 4 years project on preventing electoral violence in Southern African countries, ECES has much to share with the academic world about best practices and the practical implementation of violence mitigation and prevention techniques in the field. ECES’ specialisation in this area has created the ability to challenge assumed norms and theories.
This workshop was not only a great place to present the lessons ECES has learned over half a decade in preventing electoral violence, but also provided an opportunity to exchange ideas with some of the leading minds in the field. By bringing together scholars and practitioners to discuss the challenges facing electoral management bodies and electoral systems as a whole, ECES will be able to further collaboration and come into contact with new ideas of how to better prevent electoral conflicts and violence.
ECES would like to thank the workshop organizers, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Electoral Management Network and the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP). The Electoral Management Network is a network of academics researching electoral management around the world, While the EIP, spearheaded by Pippa Norris, is an independent academic project based at Harvard University and the University of Sydney focusing on electoral integrity and the outcomes of elections which fail to have adequate integrity.
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