Margaux Pinaud

Thesis title

'Home-grown peace: civil society roles in ceasefire implementation processes'

Wars in the 21st century are presenting a set of new challenges. Key among them are the increased targeting of civilians, through violence or persecution, the concomitant rise in global displacement, and the difficulty in finding political solutions to increasingly complex internal conflicts involving a multiplicity of actors and interests.

In the face of these challenges, calls for inclusive approaches to resolving conflicts and insecurity have grown louder. Indeed, as civilians have the most direct experience of conflicts and typically suffer disproportionately from them, they become arguably the greatest beneficiaries of, but also the greatest allies to, peace processes. Notwithstanding, the study and practice of conflict resolution and peace building seem to have taken a “technocratic turn”, whereby expertise is exogenous and local actors are passive recipients rather than active agents of such processes.

The aim of this thesis, therefore, is to bring the focus back on civilians by shedding greater light on their role in conflict resolution efforts. More specifically, by examining the nature and contribution of civil society in the implementation of ceasefire agreements, this research investigates the relevance of including local actors from the earliest stages of conflict resolution efforts, as a means to making and building peace more inclusively, and more durably.


Research interests

  • Conflict analysis
  • Conflict resolution

Professional background

I have several years of professional experience in the fields of international security, humanitarian analysis and international justice support. I have been working for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED) since 2015, supporting the compilation and analysis of realtime data and trends on political violence in Africa.

I also worked as an Information Analyst for the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), tracking the evolution of humanitarian needs across various contexts, including in relations to the final phase of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and as a Program Associate for Justice Rapid Response (JRR), supporting the rapid deployment of highly-specialised criminal justice and human rights experts to national or international investigations.

Previous education

  • MA in International Relations, King’s College London, War Studies Department
  • BA in International Relations, University of Geneva

Why I’m doing a PhD at HCRI

Over the past few years, I have developed a strong interest in conducting timely, objective and thorough research and analysis into the conflict/humanitarian nexus, so as to promote the grounding of responders’ operational needs within contextual environments. By pursuing a PhD at HCRI, I am seeking to better understand the field of conflict resolution, and to support its development and transformation through research outcomes that will extend the knowledge, understanding and practice linked to it.

In particular, I want to generate new perspectives on cross-actor and cross-sectorial engagement in responses to conflict, and bring the focus back on civilians’ roles in peace processes. I am most enthusiastic about the structure of the PhD programme at HCRI. Working in personalised conditions, with unparalleled access to material resources and experts based at HCRI or within its wider network, will support my aim of producing an original and high-quality scientific contribution in the field. 


(Non-academic publications)

  • Conflict Trends Reports (various contributions since October 2016), Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED). View online
  • Country Report, Popular Mobilisation in Ethiopia: An Investigation of Activity from November 2015 to May 2017, June 2017, Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED). View online
  • Ebola outbreak in West Africa: challenges to the reintegration of affected groups into communities, Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), 11 November 2015. View online.

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