Dr. Noura Hamladji
This fall, Seton Hall's Center for Peace and Conflict Studies had the honor of hosting Dr. Noura Hamladji, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) Bureau for Africa. Ms. Hamladji's provided an overview of challenges and opportunities with peacebuilding and state building based on her wide-ranging experience serving with UNDP in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. During a dynamic question and answer session with students, Ms. Hamladji offered lessons learned and insightful rules of the road for aspiring practitioners.
Dr. Noura Hamladji (center) with Diplomacy faculty members.
Lessons Learned From a Rich Career
Ms. Hamladji reflected on her work with UNDP in East Timor, the first new state to be created in the 21st century. She noted that state building required stakeholders be thoughtful about how best to establish "the foundation of a state that functions…the bureaucracy, the machinery, and all of the functions of the state, such as printing money, ensuring the security of its citizens, and being able to deliver basic services." The UNDP team did this by working in a post-conflict environment at the local level with diverse communities, including them in the planning and implementation process to best meet the needs of the people. Ms. Hamladji stressed that development and democracy "must come from within, from the people themselves, it cannot be brought from the outside."
Dr. Noura Hamladji with Dean Elizabeth Halpin (far left) and students in the Women in Diplomacy Leadership Program.
While noting the importance of cherishing and respecting cultural difference, Ms. Hamladji pointed to the limits of a narrow and culturally specific approach to every issue. The UN, she pointed out, is based on core universal values that we all share as part of humanity. Climate change, for example, is a global problem that affects everyone, people of all countries, religions, and genders, and it therefore requires a global solution and the sharing of global good practices. She recalled sitting with the President of Mozambique and being struck by hearing him recount the number of natural disasters the country had faced in the past five years. In addition to traditional political conflict, the byproducts of climate change are a challenging reality many countries are managing.
Rules of the Road For Success
Despite the range of challenges, Ms. Hamladji firmly believes we must stay hopeful and invest in multilateral institutions that are working toward solutions. Partnering in close association with governments, she suggests, is critical to making things move in the right direction. For those seeking to enter the field, she emphasized the importance of gaining and maintaining a good reputation among your contacts and partner institutions, because at the end of the day, this is instrumental to the success of the organizations we will go on to represent. On the margins of the event, Ms. Hamladji shared how impressed in particular she was with her interaction with Seton Hall students. She enjoyed her time on campus, and said it was energizing to hear the questions and diverse perspectives of our campus community.
Learn more about the event host, the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, by visiting its webpage.