Afghan Peace and Development Research Program
The Afghan Peace and Development Research Program (APDRP) is a collaborative platform to support and amplify the voices of Afghan peace and development scholars and practitioners. The program will identify lessons of the past 20 years and their implications for the future, and explore future options for initiating and supporting peace and development efforts in Afghanistan.
The program is hosted by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Pulte Institute for Global Development, both part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.
Over the next two years, the APDRP will create a platform to support and amplify the voices of Afghan peace scholars and practitioners. The APDRP will generate workshops and conferences, as well as conduct research and publish reports.
The APDRP draws on a rich body of work over the last decade related to supporting Afghan initiatives on peace and development, including:
- In 2021, the Pulte Institute for Global Development Director Ray Offenheiser’s Global Pathways Podcast featured an episode, “Spotlight on Afghanistan: A grassroots perspective on the plight of Afghan women and refugees.” Offenheiser, Professor of the Practice, formerly led Oxfam America where he interfaced with U.S. development efforts in Afghanistan. The Pulte Institute also published a policy brief co-authored by Susanne Jalbert, David Cortright, and Robert Lord-Biggers and titled “Gender and Politics: Maintaining Women’s Meaningful Participation in Afghanistan” (2020).
- The Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) team at the Kroc Institute is working to distill best practices in peacemaking and peace agreement design and implementation to support facilitators, negotiators, and conflict parties working in Afghanistan. PAM Director Josefina Echavarría Alvarez works with PAM’s research associates and partners who provide expert briefs and substantive advice on issues related to peace in Afghanistan.
- As part of his work with PAM, Research Professor Madhav Joshi has published many blogs and op-eds on peacebuilding, inclusive peace processes, and women’s rights in Afghanistan. Joshi most recently published policy research reports including “Assessing Implementation of the 2020 US-Taliban Peace Accord” and “Building a Network for a Successful Peace Process in Afghanistan: Social Network Analysis of the Afghan Peace Process Actors.”
- In October 2021, Mediation Program Director Laurie Nathan convened a public seminar in Washington, D.C., on “Prioritizing Afghan Voices: How the International Community Can Assist Afghanistan.” During the event, Afghan speakers made concrete policy proposals, including offering input on a possible post-Doha Bonn conference and regional dialogue. The Mediation Program previously convened a webinar on “U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Afghan Women Speak Out.” The Program has a partnership with Global Impact Management Consulting, which seeks to empower Afghan peacemakers at local level.
- In August 2021, the Kroc Institute co-hosted the event, “Flash Panel: The Unfolding Situation in Afghanistan.” The event featured conversation unpacking the events directly following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and discussing what comes next in Afghanistan, the prognosis for human rights and women’s rights throughout the country, and the role of international actors and NGOs in navigating the current crisis.
- The Contending Modernities (CM) research initiative at the Kroc Institute analyzes the role religion plays in the constitutional and legal order of Afghanistan. Ebrahim Moosa, CM Co-Director and Mirza Family Professor of Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies, is examining the judicial and legislative developments under the Taliban as well as working to engage a new generation of Madrasa-educated theologians on issues of revitalizing and exploring theology and tradition. A tried and tested educational curriculum piloted in other parts of South Asia helps traditional Muslim scholars (ʿulamāʾ) in South and Central Asia to navigate a number of social, political, theological, and legal issues by deepening their theological and scientific literacy.
David Cortright, Director of the Global Policy Initiative and Special Advisor for Policy Studies at the Keough School, co-authored with Kristin Wall the policy report Afghan Women Speak: Enhancing Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan (2012). Cortright also published the book Ending Obama’s War: Responsible Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Routledge, 2011).
Lisa Schirch, Richard G. Starmann, Sr. Professor of the Practice of Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute, published the United States Institute of Peace report Designing a Comprehensive Peace Process in Afghanistan (2011). She engages in ongoing work to amplify the voices of Afghan civil society experts on peace and human security.
- In January 2022, as part of The Kroc Cast podcast series, the Kroc Institute published the episode, “What’s Happening with Afghan Women: An Inside Look.” The episode, hosted by Malalai Habibi (MGA ’19), featured guests Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Director of Afghan Women Skills Development Center who is joining us from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Founder and Executive Director of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and director of the London School of Economics Center for Women, Peace and Security.
Aref Dostyar is former Consul General of Afghanistan in Los Angeles and serves as a Senior Advisor to the APDRP. Previously he worked in Afghanistan’s Office of the National Security Council, serving as the Director General for International Relations and Regional Cooperation and Director of Peace and Reconciliation Affairs. In these leadership positions, he provided regular policy insight to Afghanistan’s National Security Council and served as liaison to global foreign policy directors.
Dostyar's writing can be found in the New York Times, the BBC, the book In Search of Peace for Afghanistan (Kakar History Foundation Press 2021), Strategic Analysis (Routledge 2016), Hasht-e-Subh Daily, and other publications. Through a Fulbright Scholarship, Dostyar earned a Master's in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Malalai Habibi serves as an advisor to the APDRP. She currently works with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) as a Program Officer and furthers the women, peace and security agenda, with a particular focus on supporting Afghan women peacebuilders. Previously, she worked with the Afghan diaspora, particularly with women and children in Iran. She has also worked at Herat University in Afghanistan on women, peace, and education.
Her publications on Afghanistan in both Farsi and English can be found in Devex, Peace Direct, Etilaatroz, BBC Farsi, VOA Dari, and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She is a 2019 graduate of the Master of Global Affairs, International Peace Studies program and is originally from Herat, Afghanistan.
Notre Dame Faculty
The following Notre Dame faculty members are active as part of the APDRP.
Josefina Echavarría Alvarez, Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM)
David Cortright, Director of the Global Policy Initiative and Special Advisor for Policy Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs; Professor Emeritus of the Practice, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Madhav Joshi, Research Professor and Associate Director of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM)
Ebrahim Moosa, Mirza Family Professor of Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies, Keough School of Global Affairs, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and Department of History
Laurie Nathan, Professor of the Practice of Mediation and Kroc Institute Mediation Program Director
Ray Offenheiser, William J. Pulte Director, Pulte Institute for Global Development; Professor of the Practice
Lisa Schirch, Richard G. Starmann, Sr. Professor of the Practice of Peace Studies, Kroc Institute