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Seton Hall University

David Wood

Professor of Practice
School of Diplomacy and International Relations

Professor David Wood has spent 14 years working internationally in violent settings to promote conflict resolution and transformation. His work involves local mediation and peacebuilding, support for national peace processes and facilitation at the international level. He has worked with international and national non-governmental organizations, UNDP, and a range of government agencies, including the Europe Union's External Action Service, Germany's Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the UK's Department for International Development and USAID. At the end of 2011, Professor Wood established the international peacebuilding organization the 'Peaceful Change initiative', focused on supporting the change processes across the Middle East and North Africa that resulted from the Arab Spring. He joined the School of Diplomacy in 2018 to lead on the development of its projects in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as teaching peacemaking and peacekeeping to graduate students.

Professor Wood has explored participatory approaches to dialogue and mediation, especially during periods of open violence when national dialogue or political negotiations become stalled. He has supported community-level mediation processes (Libya and Syria), facilitated practical national dialogue processes (Libya and Georgia), and organized community input into formal conflict management mechanisms (Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia).

He has also focused on promoting more effective approaches to stabilisation, statebuilding and 'the nexus' with development and humanitarianism, so as to better integrate peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity. This has included the establishment of participatory conflict sensitivity processes (Libya, Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia), advisory support to organizations working in conflict settings (Yemen), and analysis and advocacy on the interaction between statebuilding and peacebuilding. Practically, Professor Wood has also established social peace mechanisms in Libya and Syria, and has assisted the Stabilisation Facility to Libya.

Professor Wood has a depth of experience in finding creative ways to help community groups feel safer and access justice during periods of open conflict, or when the legitimacy of national authorities is contested. He has supported national police reform processes (Bosnia, Georgia, Moldova and Sri Lanka), has established community safety networks (Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia, the Balkans), has worked to engage non-state actors in community safety projects, established alternative early-warning mechanisms (Georgia, Libya and Nagoro-Karabakh), and worked to increase controls over private security and military companies (the Balkans).