The Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) is an Interdisciplinary research centre for the study of current armed conflict. We are part of the University of Oxford, based at Pembroke College and the Department of Politics and International Relations. We bring together scholars from several disciplines and build connections with many institutions around the world. In addition to a number of research projects, we offer bespoke policy advice and react to events in real time.
Conflict and Wellbeing Deprivation in sub-Saharan Africa
Ricardo Nogales gives a talk for the Changing Character of War seminar series.
Unpacking the Refugees-Terrorism Nexus
Sara Polo, University of Essex, gives a talk for the Changing Character of War seminar series.
The Russian Understanding of War
Oscar Jonsson, Stockholm Free World Forum, gives a talk for the Changing Character of War Programme.
Terrorism and Recent Developments in Human Rights
Lord John Alderdice gives a talk for the Changing Character of War seminar series.
A Westphalia for the Middle East?
This talk will discuss the parallels between the Thirty Years War and today’s Middle East and suggest ways in which lessons drawn from the congress and treaties of Westphalia. It was the original forever war, which went on interminably, fuelled by religious and constitutional disputes, personal ambition, fear of hegemony, and communal suspicion. It dragged in all the neighbouring powers. It was punctuated by repeated failed ceasefires. It inflicted suffering beyond belief and generated waves of refugees. This description could apply to Syria today, but actually refers to the Thirty Years War (1618-48), which turned much of central Europe into a disaster zone. The Thirty Years War is often cited as a parallel in discussions of current conflict in the Middle East. The Peace of Westphalia, which ended the war in Europe in 1648, has featured strongly in such discussions, usually with the observation that recent events in some parts of the region have seen the collapse of ideas of state sovereignty -ideas that supposedly originated with the 1648 settlement. This talk will discuss the parallels between the Thirty Years War and today’s Middle East and suggest ways in which lessons drawn from the congress and treaties of Westphalia might provide inspirations for a peace settlement for the Middle East’s new long wars. The talk is based on a recent book and ongoing collaborative project.
Patrick Milton was born in Zimbabwe and is a German-British research fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer at the Dept of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge. He was previously a postdoc at Freie Universitaet Berlin and has been working on the ‘Westphalia for the Middle East’ project since 2016.
The Consequences of Refugee Repatriation for Stayees: A Threat to Stability and Sustainable Development?
Using longitudinal data from Burundi collected in 2011 and 2015, this paper explores the consequences of repatriation for stayee households i.e. those who never left the country during the conflict Large-scale refugee repatriation is sometimes considered a threat to stability and sustainable development because of the burden it could impose on receiving communities. Yet the empirical evidence on the impacts of refugee return is limited. Using longitudinal data from Burundi collected in 2011 and 2015, this paper explores the consequences of repatriation for stayee households (i.e. those who never left the country during the conflict). Burundi experienced large-scale repatriation during the 2000s, with the returning refugees unevenly spread across the country. We use geographical features of the communities of origin, including altitude and proximity to the border, for identification purposes. The results suggest that a higher share of returnees in a community is associated with less livestock ownership, the principal form of capital accumulation in the country, and worse subjective economic conditions for stayee households. Additional analysis suggests that refugee return had a negative impact on food security and land access for stayees. The negative impact on food security largely disappears between rounds of the survey. Refugee return had no significant effect on the health outcomes of stayees. The article finishes with a discussion of the implications of the results for policies that aim to support refugee repatriation and long-term sustainable development in post conflict societies.
Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva is Research Director and Associate Professor at COMPAS. He is also the Director of the DPhil in Migration Studies and a member of Kellogg College. Carlos is also co-founder and current Associate Editor of the journal Migration Studies. He was also one of the researchers that developed the Migration Observatory in 2010, and acted as Director of the Observatory in 2014 and 2017.