The politics of engagement : diaspora and religious actors' involvement in the Liberian peace process
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This dissertation examines the involvement of Liberia's religious and diaspora groups in the peace process that ended the 14-year Liberian Civil War (1989-2003). Its aims include determining the extent of, the rationale for, as well as the effects of the involvement of Liberia's religious and diaspora groups in the peacemaking efforts that were undertaken in the course of the Liberian conflict. While findings show that a multiplicity of factors were responsible for the eventual resolution of the protracted conflict, they also reveal that the action of both religious and diaspora actors influenced the trajectory of the conflict and the outcome of the peace process. The religious actors, being the initiators of the Liberian peace process, played such roles as mediators, dialogue facilitators, watchdogs and trustees of the entire process. Although their efforts were mainly influenced by the desire to fulfil the divine mandate to 'tend to the flock', achievable only in a peaceful and stable environment, religious actors' peacemaking roles also presented an opportunity to regain some of the societal influence that organized religion, especially Christianity, enjoyed during the 158 years of minority 'Americo-Liberian' rule. For diaspora actors, whose roles ranged from being founders and sponsors of warring factions, to providing succour to Liberians back home through remittances, and subsequently engaging the peace process, attaining political power through the barrel of the gun or through peaceful means served the same purpose. In achieving the dissertation's aims, a historical analysis of Liberia's socio-political environment is undertaken. Also examined are the roles played by various international, regional and national actors, either as peacemakers or as sponsors of various warring factions engaged in hostilities, as well as relevant theories or paradigms such as Conflict Transformation, Social Capital and Liberal Peace. This empirical study employed the means of qualitative research methods, obtaining primary data through interviews conducted in Liberia, Ghana, the USA and Nigeria.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 4th February 2020
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations