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Return from Peacekeeping: Mission Effects on Veterans, States, and Communities

The ‘Return from Peacekeeping’ project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK and will run from November 2019 until April 2023. The project PI is Dr Maggie Dwyer of the University of Edinburgh and the Co-I is Dr Oystein Rolandsen of the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Project Focus

The number of peacekeepers deployed to Africa has doubled over the last decade and the majority of deployed soldiers are now drawn from African militaries. In addition to this significant personnel contribution from African countries, substantial international resources in the form of equipment and training are invested into preparing African soldiers for peacekeeping and supporting them while on deployment. Yet, little is known about the impact of peacekeeping deployments on the thousands of soldiers that return home each year.

This project looks at the effects that peacekeeping deployments can have on soldiers, militaries, and communities upon return from the mission. In doing so, it expands the conventional view of focusing on peacekeeping as an action that takes place at a specific time and in a location abroad. Instead, the project proposes to explore gradual impacts, which may occur over years and in a soldier’s home country. The study also looks beyond an individual’s identity in the military to explore the social and cultural networks that soldiers are part of and how these may shift following foreign missions.

Using in-depth interviews with returned peacekeepers and military decision makers, the project focuses on three key themes: professionalism, livelihoods, and state support. Research will take place in five African countries: Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Uganda. The diverse peacekeeping profile of these countries allows for a deeper understanding of variations in motivations for sending peacekeepers as well as differences in state support for veteran peacekeepers.

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