The first major repository of legal practices for mediators and conflict parties to draw on when negotiating peace, developed by a team from Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL), has won the top prize in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Awards at the University of Cambridge.
Hundreds of post-war peace settlements were trawled through by the team, led by Professor Marc Weller, to build this innovative research tool. Outputs from the work have been used to assist mediators engaged with some of the world’s most violent and tragic conflicts.
Drawing on a ten-year research programme addressing self-determination and ethnic conflicts, the Legal Tools of Peace-making project presents, for the first time, the vast practice revealed through peace agreements on an issue-by issue basis, making it instantly accessible to practitioners and academics.
The project uses this repository to derive realistic settlement options for use in actual peace-negotiations, and making these available to the United Nations, the African Union, the EU and other mediating agencies. The work has had immediate impact on on-going, high-level peace negotiations in the inter-ethnic negotiations in Myanmar, the UN-led negotiations on Syria, discussions on Catalonia, the independence of Kosovo, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia and several others.
The award was announced at a prize ceremony on 9 July, during which a number of other awards were also presented to Cambridge researchers for projects that have made significant contributions to society – including work on prisons, pandemics, and pollution.
Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “This award scheme, now in its third year, received nearly a hundred nominations from all areas of research within the University, which were of an extremely high calibre across the board.”
“Impact is at the heart of the University’s mission. Engaging the public is crucial to helping our University deliver on its mission, and to be a good citizen in our city and community. Institutions such as ours have a vital role to play in restoring trust and faith in expertise and ways of knowing.”
The Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Awards were established to recognise and reward those whose research has led to excellent impact beyond academia, whether on the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life.