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Illuminating the Public Sphere in Post-Conflict and Fragile Environments

8th October 2008

In two new papers released by the World Bank, Shanthi Kalathil and Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau argue for the importance of a holistic, "public sphere"-based approach in addressing the challenges of post-conflict and fragile states. The elements of the public sphere – a robust civil society, independent media, transparent and responsive government institutions, and state-citizen dialogue – sit at the very heart of post-conflict work, yet they are rarely explicitly addressed by policymakers and practitioners. Kalathil and von Kaltenborn-Stachau note in their respective papers that these fundamental, communication-related building blocks of governance and peacebuilding should be emphasized and elevated in post-conflict policy and practice.

To read more aboput the report, please click here

Speaker Bios:

Shanthi Kalathil is spearheading several projects focused on democracy, good governance and the public sphere at the Communication for Governance and Accountability Program (CommGAP) at the World Bank. Ms. Kalathil was formerly a Senior Democracy Fellow based in the Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID, where she provided policy and programmatic advice on issues relating to civil society, media, fragile states, and the Near East/Asia region, and traveled on mission to Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Indonesia, East Timor, and Cambodia. Prior to that, Ms. Kalathil was an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focused on authoritarian political transitions in the information age. Her 2003 co-authored book, Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule, examined the political effect of the Internet on eight authoritarian countries, including China and Cuba. A former Hong Kong-based staff reporter for The Asian Wall Street Journal, she holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.Sc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau is a post-conflict specialist of the Communication for Governance & Accountability Program (CommGAP) at the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. von Kaltenborn-Stachau worked for the United Nations in various headquarter and field assignments, including multi-year postings to Timor-Leste and the Middle East. She is a specialist in political governance and public sphere analysis in conflict and post-conflict environments and has delivered numerous trainings in early warning and conflict analysis for the United Nations. A German national, Ms. von Kaltenborn-Stachau holds a masters degree in Organizational Psychology from the Technical University Darmstadt; a postgraduate degree in Media-Psychology from the EWH Landau, as well as a M.A. in International Relations and International Economics from The Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration on conflict management.

Event Details:

Wednesday 8th October, G108, Level One, Kingsway, LSE, 1.00-2.30

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