Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

South Africa: Social and Political Transformation


Since the fall of apartheid and the forty quarters of subsequent growth under Thabo Mbeki, South Africa has been recognized as an emerging global power and one of the most powerful countries in Africa. Because of its relatively newfound power and the way in which South Africa negotiated its own peace and freedom, it has taken a leading role in conflict resolution and peacemaking on the continent. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) assists South Africa in its dedication to diplomacy and conflict management. The biggest conflict resolution non-governmental organization in Africa, ACCORD works to peacefully resolve conflicts around the continent. It provides assistance and support to African governments in peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and democracy building. For my ISP I will be interning in the Peacekeeping Department at ACCORD. I worked primarily on training materials for peace personnel, policy brief recommendation documents and an occasional paper. I studied specifically how a South African non-governmental organization approaches peacekeeping in 2015 on the most conflict-prone continent of the last 25 years. I focused on ACCORD’s Peacekeeping Unit’s research tasks as potentially innovative approaches to peacekeeping. My methodology will centre on analysis of my unit’s publications, but also on participant observation, and I will also conduct informal interviews with ACCORD staff and make as many non-participant observations as I can around the office.

I will detail my findings through a research case study to show ACCORD’s approach to international peacekeeping and how it relates to South Africa’s progressive constitution. I discovered that, through a research project on gender issues in African mission support elements of peace operations and through general observations of the organization, ACCORD’s primary focus in peace operations are the people. That might seem trite, but it is not as widely-shared a mentality as people tend to think.


African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Peace and Conflict Studies