Of all the issues facing sustainable political, economic, and social development, few other factors have a more deleterious effect on progress than violent armed conflict. Not only do conflicts involve a tragic waste of precious lives and natural resources but they can also destabilize governments, leave countries bereft of sound infrastructure, and displace entire populations. Given our research criteria, there are currently well over 40 different active civil wars throughout the developing world, impeding the progress of sustainable development.
PEDL researchers Mike Findley, Dan Nielson, and Joel Selway are currently engaged in numerous projects to address some of the motivations that cause these conflicts and what factors are most influential in ending them. Dr. Findley has published several notable works regarding empirical studies of data on peace processes and insurgency. All the researchers regularly include students in field studies throughout Africa and Central America using experimental methods to better understand such vital issues as xenophobia and ethnic violence through firsthand interactions with residents of post-conflict societies.