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Apr 28, 2021

In a surprising, funny, and gut-wrenching book: The Frontlines of Peace,  Séverine Autesserre, award-winning author, peacebuilder, and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, explains the hopeful story of the ordinary yet extraordinary people who have figured out how to build lasting peace in their communities.  Sara Jamshidi talk with Autesserre about her book and experience as a peacebuilder.


Séverine Autesserre website – The word “peacebuilding” evokes a story we’ve all heard over and over: violence breaks out, foreign nations are scandalized, peacekeepers and million-dollar donors come rushing in, warring parties sign a peace agreement and, sadly, within months the situation is back to where it started—sometimes worse.

But what strategies have worked to build lasting peace in conflict zones, particularly for ordinary citizens on the ground? And why should other ordinary citizens, thousands of miles away, care?

In The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World Séverine Autesserre, award-winning researcher and peacebuilder, examines the well-intentioned but inherently flawed peace industry.

In her book, Autesserre gives examples drawn from across the globe. She reveals that peace can grow in the most unlikely circumstances. She argues that contrary to what most politicians preach, building peace doesn’t require billions in aid or massive international interventions. And, she believes that real, lasting peace requires giving power to local citizens.

The Frontlines of Peace tells the stories of the ordinary yet extraordinary individuals and organizations that are confronting violence in their communities effectively.

One thing is clear: Successful examples of peacebuilding around the world, in countries at war or at peace, have involved innovative grassroots initiatives led by local people, at times supported by foreigners, often employing methods shunned by the international elite.

By narrating success stories of this kind, Autesserre shows the radical changes we must take in our approach if we hope to build lasting peace around us—whether we live in Congo, the United States, or elsewhere.