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Exploring Careers in Conflict Transformation is a collaborative series developed by the Center for Careers and Internships and Middlebury in DC with content contributions from members of the Middlebury Professional Network and Middlebury students.

Conflict is part of the human experience. The field of conflict transformation (CT) explores how destructive conflicts can change and become relatively constructive. The transformations that emerge might happen at the personal level (a change of heart), the structural level (a change in power), or somewhere in between. As an area of practice, conflict transformation encompasses a wide array of work, from mindfulness and interpersonal relationships to international mediation and peacebuilding. This series explores the many dimensions of CT through interviews with professional practitioners in various roles and organizations globally.

Episode 5: Advancing Democracy, Justice, and Human Rights

Guest Speaker: Brian Concannon ’85, Executive Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Interviewer: Laura Rivera ‘23
Video: 32 minutes

Human rights lawyer Brian Concannon ‘85 (History, French) is the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which helps bring Haitians’ centuries-long struggle for justice to the United States and other places abroad where too many decisions about Haitians’ human rights are made. Brian lived and worked in Haiti from 1995 to 2004, first with the United Nations, and after 1996 with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port-au-Prince, a human rights law firm. Brian’s cases include the prosecution of the 1994 Raboteau massacre in Haitian courts, Neptune v.Haiti, the first Haiti case at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the prosecution of former President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier and a lawsuit on behalf of the victims of cholera introduced by reckless disposal of waste at a UN Peacekeeping base in 2010. 

Brian is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. He held a Brandeis International Fellowship in Human Rights, Intervention and International Law from 2001-2003, and was a 2005-06 Wasserstein Public Interest Law Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Episode 4: Trust, the Glue Holding Society Together

Guest Speaker: Rachel Sider ’14, Senior Executive Officer, Interpeace
Interviewer: Teyonce Allison ‘25
Video: 31 minutes 

Rachel Sider ‘14 has witnessed how poorly conceived policy and relief programmes can exacerbate risks to civilians and undermine sustainable peace. Most recently, Rachel was a policy advisor with the Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar. Prior to this she worked for three years on Syria where she led research on humanitarian access in government-controlled areas, shaped the UN Security Council’s debates, and advised donor governments on addressing protection risks in displacement and crisis. Rachel has also lived and worked in Jordan, Iraq and Jerusalem. She holds a Bachelor in Arts in International Studies from Middlebury College and a Master in Public Policy from the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. She is proficient in Arabic and Spanish.

Episode 3: Peacebuilding in Afghanistan

Guest Speaker: Kate Bateman ’00, Senior Expert Afghanistan, United States Institute of Peace
Interviewer: Kate Goodman ‘24
Video: 28 minutes

Kate Bateman ‘00 is a senior expert on Afghanistan for the U.S. Institute of Peace. Previously, Bateman was a project lead in the Lessons Learned Program at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), where she led reports on anticorruption, counternarcotics, reintegration of ex-combatants and gender equality. In 2016 to 2017, as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Bateman researched and wrote on corruption as a national security issue. She has also served in intelligence and policy positions at the State Department, in Washington, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, and was a legislative aide on Capitol Hill.

Bateman’s research focuses on the Afghanistan conflict, stabilization and peacebuilding efforts in fragile states, and the intersection of corruption and U.S. foreign policy interests. She has a master’s from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a bachelor’s from Middlebury College.

In addition to Bateman’s published work at USIP, CNAS, and SIGAR, her analysis has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Lawfare, The National Interest, The Hill and Proceedings.

Episode 3: Peacebuilding in Afghanistan

Episode 2: Quantitative Research in Peacebuilding

Guest Speaker: Shaziya DeYoung, MIIS ’18, Researcher Learning & Evidence, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Interviewer: Quinn Pidgeon ‘24
Video: 18 minutes

Shaziya DeYoung MIIS ‘18 is the Researcher with the Learning and Evidence team at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. She graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, where she focused on peacebuilding and conflict resolution specifically in the context of monitoring, learning, and evaluation (MEL). In line with this area of interest and passion, she has worked with various organizations in the DC area as an M&E consultant where she focused on the development of indicators, survey tools, and M&E frameworks for peacebuilding programs. She also consulted on social change programs as a data analyst focusing on qualitative data analysis techniques and social network analysis. Over the past 4 years, she has been focusing on various research efforts that aim to build and synthesize the evidence base for peacebuilding programming while also working on initiatives to translate and disseminate that knowledge and information. At the heart of all her endeavors, Shaziya is deeply passionate about capacity development and consistently looks for opportunities to foster greater capacities across the field, especially in research and MEL expertise.

Episode 1: Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding

Guest Speaker: Theo Dolan ’94, Global Lead for Innovation in Countering Disinformation, IREX
Interviewer: Shawn Adams ‘24
Video: 25 minutes

Theo Dolan ‘94 is currently the Global Lead for Innovation in Countering Disinformation at IREX where he leads the strategic growth of IREX’s Learn to Discern digital programs. These programs build citizens’ resilience to manipulative information in more than 20 countries, including Ukraine. He has worked at the intersection of media, technology, and peacebuilding for nearly 20 years, mainly by designing and managing complex peacebuilding projects and analytical studies in conflict-affected countries. Previously, at FHI 360, he provided technical leadership on programs and activities aimed at preventing violent conflict, preventing and/or countering violent extremism, combating digital threats like hate speech and disinformation, and engaging and empowering vulnerable youth. From 2015-2018, Theo directed the PeaceTech Lab in Nairobi, Kenya, where he developed an innovative research methodology for identifying and analyzing online hate speech in countries such as South Sudan, Nigeria, and Myanmar. He also collaborated with local partners to design, produce, and broadcast behavior change communications programs to promote peacebuilding in Iraq, South Sudan, and Somalia.

Episode 1: Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding