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Webinar 28 – Fragility and Conflict: Perspectives on a Pandemic

Webinar Date and Time: Wednesday, April 15 at 11:00 EST. Click here to view the webinar recording. 

Webinar Description: In isolation, the COVID-19 Pandemic presents numerous public health, economic and political obstacles to control and mitigate its impact. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, COVID-19 underscores linkages and our mutually reinforced vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are particularly acute in fragile, unstable and conflict-affected contexts where governments lack the resources, will or legitimacy to sufficiently respond to the crisis. It is in these contexts that COVID-19 presents additional challenges and heightens the social and economic costs of an inadequate response.

Guest speakers Rachel Locke, Director of Impact: Peace at The University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice and Richard Gowan, United Nations Director at the International Crisis Group, join Peace Exchange to explore potential secondary and tertiary effects of the pandemic, including increased violence and human rights abuses, deepening social cleavages, and windows of opportunity for illicit and criminal groups. Rachel and Richard will discuss key concerns and considerations including for humanitarian and development responses, global community coordination to mitigate potential downstream effects and building resilience to future challenges in areas of fragility, instability or conflict.

Speaker Bios: 

Rachel Locke joined the Kroc IPJ as Director of Impact:Peace in July 2019. Rachel has extensive experience delivering evidence-based violence prevention solutions to some of the most difficult international contexts while simultaneously advancing policy for peace. Prior to joining IPJ, Rachel was Head of Research for violence prevention with the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. In this capacity, Rachel led coalition building and evidence curation with the UN,  bilateral governments, the African Union, civil society and others to explore the challenge of delivering the 2030 Agenda targets for peaceful societies (SDG 16.1).

Earlier in her career, Rachel served as Senior Policy Advisor with the US Agency for International Development where she developed and represented agency-wide policy on issues concerning conflict, violence and fragility. She also led USAID research and policy on crime, conflict, and fragility and worked extensively on program design, implementational and evaluation primarily in Africa. After leaving USAID, Rachel launched a new area of work for the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, bridging effective violence reduction approaches from the U.S. to municipalities globally. This work involved direct collaboration with law enforcement, national and city-level government and civil society actors. Among other initiatives, Rachel launched a three-year effort across two states and five municipalities in Mexico at a time of exceptionally high violence.

Rachel’s experience bridges the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and urban violence realms. She holds a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. She has also published a variety of articles and other works focusing on violence prevention, humanitarian aid, conflict and transnational organized crime.

Richard Gowan oversees Crisis Group’s advocacy work at the United Nations, liaising with diplomats and UN officials in New York. Richard was previously a Consulting Analyst with ICG in 2016 and 2017. He has worked with the European Council on Foreign Relations, New York University Center on International Cooperation and the Foreign Policy Centre (London). He has taught at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Stanford in New York. He has also worked as a consultant for the organisations including UN Department of Political Affairs, the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Rasmussen Global, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Global Affairs Canada. From 2013 to 2019, he wrote a weekly column (“Diplomatic Fallout”) for World Politics Review.


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