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).
- Peace mediation, CSS/Swiss FDFA, 2016
- Religion and Mediation, CSS/Swiss FDFA, 2015
- M.A., Politics, Security and Integration, University College London, 2004
- B.A., Philosophy and Russian, Bristol University, 2001
Areas of expertise:
- Participatory approaches to dialogue and mediation
- Community-based approaches to security and early-warning
- Conflict analysis
- Conflict sensitivity
- The nexus between peacebuilding, humanitarianism and development
- Stabilisation programming
- The Middle East and North Africa, focused on Libya, Syria and Yemen
- The South Caucasus
- Peace and Conflict Assessment of Libya: the potential for aid to promote peace (Seton Hall University and GIZ, January 2019)
- Catalysing conflict sensitivity in Yemen: enabling more effective assistance (Seton Hall University and Search for Common Ground, December 2018)
- Building peace within Syrian communities (Co-author, Peaceful Change initiative and CCSD, March 2014)
- Social peace and local development in Libya: A handbook for local government and community leaders (Peaceful Change initiative, March 2014)
- Security issues and challenges facing women in Syria (Co-author, Peaceful Change initiative and CCSD, July 2013)
- A peacebuilding agenda for Libya (Peaceful Change initiative and Afaq Libya, October 2012)
- Isolation and opportunity in Eastern Abkhazia: A survey of community security (Saferworld, Institute for Democracy, March 2011)
- The effects of the August War: Who is doing what to address them and how is this affecting people's lives (GYLA, CIPDD, Saferworld, March 2011)
- Understanding and responding to security needs in conflict-affected communities (Saferworld, CIPDD, February 2011)
- Life on the boundary line: the future of security in Shida Kartli (Saferworld, October 2010)
- Measuring up? Arms transfer controls in Moldova (Co-author, Saferworld, August 2008)
- Romania's arms transfer control system at EU accession: an analysis (Co-author, Saferworld, February 2007)
- Taking stock: Small arms and human security in Georgia (Saferworld/CIPDD, September 2006)
- SALW Survey of Moldova (UNDP SEESAC, July 2006)
- The Sarajevo Code of Conduct for Private Security Companies (UNDP SEESAC, July 2006)
- SALW and private security companies in South Eastern Europe: A cause or effect of insecurity? (co-author, UNDP SEESAC, August 2005)