Josie Lianna Kaye

Ms Josie Lianna Kaye

Job Market Candidate

Research topic:
The Business of Peace and the Politics of Inclusion: What Role for Local ‘Licit’ and ‘Illicit’ Business Actors in Peace Mediation?
Degree course:

Research Themes:
United Nations Conflict management International relations Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Power Foreign Policy and Diplomacy International organisations Political economy and international political economy Violence, security and conflict 

Academic Profile

Josie Lianna Kaye is a D.Phil Candidate at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Oxford.  Josie brings over twelve years of professional experience working in the fields of international conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding to her D.Phil. She is the Director of London-based TrustWorks Global (TrustWorks), which prevents and manages company-community conflicts in complex contexts, especially conflicts around natural resources including extractives, water and land. Aside from her work at TrustWorks, Josie has extensive experience consulting for United Nations Secretariat entities, agencies funds and programmes and related think-tanks on issues related to mediation, conflict analysis, conflict prevention, preventing violent extremism, sustaining peace and conflict sensitivity from a strategic perspective, as well as programme design, assessment and implementation - at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Josie has gained unique experience supporting Track I and Track II mediation processes in diverse settings and has trained as a mediator/mediation expert with both the New York Peace Institute in Manhattan, and with the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs swisspeace - focusing on community mediation and peace mediation respectively. Prior to her work as Director and independent consultant, Josie served for five years as the Assistant Director of Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution, supporting all the Center’s activiites in the realms of ‘practice', research and teaching. Josie has two Masters degrees in International Affairs - from Sciences Po Paris on conflict and security, and from Columbia University, specialised in conflict resolution - and a First-Class honours degree in ‘Politics' from the University of Nottingham. Josie is a fluent french speaker. 


Thesis Abstract

The increasing recognition of the negative and positive roles played by local business actors in countries in conflict has yet to translate into their consistent inclusion in peace mediation. Despite the ‘local turn’ in peacebuilding, local businesses actors are excluded from the United Nations-led discourse on inclusion, which prioritises non-state armed groups, civil society, women and, increasingly, youth. This discourse overlaps with the discourse on ‘business for peace’ (B4P), which constructs businesses as economic actors and excludes peace mediation from its definition of ‘peace’. Consequently, since 1990 only: 13.3 per cent of peace agreements reference at least one ‘licit’ business actor; 4.4 per cent reference ‘illicit’ business actors; and, a mere 2.5 per cent reference both - 22 peace agreements out of 889 in 30 years. Using case studies on Yemen (2011-2016) and Somaliland (1990-1997), this thesis demonstrates that both ‘licit’ and ‘illicit’ business actors play distinctly political roles in war to peace transitions, as: supporters and/or humanitarian aid providers (‘benefactors’); beneficiaries of the government and the war economy (‘profiteers’); mediators and peacemakers (‘intermediaries’); and, conflict actors or spoilers (‘agitators’). Indeed, such actors are deeply enmeshed in the dynamics of conflict and peace, and simultaneously in the production of statehood and in processes that undermine it as a result of social ties that inform, shape and constrain the roles business actors play. Their exclusion from the analyses, strategies and considerations of international mediators may inadvertently be contributing to pervasive cycles of violence and conflict. This thesis advances the theory – and, practice - of a ‘local business lens in peace mediation’ which can be used by international mediators across all mediation ‘tracks’ to engage meaningfully with local power dynamics through the inclusion of local business actors in: mediation strategies/processes; peace agreements/settlements; and to better inform the structure of peace processes.  



2014: Oxford-Wolfson-Marriott-DPIR Graduate Scholarship, University of Oxford. 

2007-2008: International Conflict Resolution Scholarship, Columbia University in New York. 

2005-2007: Entente Cordiale Scholarship for study at Sciences Po (IEP), awarded by the French Embassy in London. 

2005: University of Nottingham Prize for ‘Best Student’/highest-ever grades. 



‘Sustaining peace as governance’ in Africa: Time for a radical paradigm shift? With Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, forthcoming), March 2017.  

Transforming governance in Africa: Is a new concept of governance the key to accelerating the prosperity agenda? High-level conference paper, Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme, 2016-2017.

Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach (ProDoc), Regional and Multi-Country Project Document, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), November 2015.

Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners (Handbook) co-authored with Michael J. Brown, Alex Grzybowski and David Jensen, published at the United Nations Environment Program and the Department of Political Affairs, 2015.

The Essential Guide to the United Nations for Senior Leaders (Book), commissioned by the United Nations Office for Human Resource Management (UN-OHRM), 2013. 

Trustbuilding in Complex and Challenging Social Environments, Comparative Perspectives (Report), commissioned by Shell International, 2012

The Political Economy of Private Sector Engagements in Central Asia (Lecture), organised by the UNRCCA with the Government of Finland in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Lecture, March 2011.

A Review of the United Nations Policies Relevant to Countries in Transition (Report), co-authored with Marc Jacquand and commissioned by UN-DESA, a report for the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, the United Nations General Assembly, 2012

The Future of Conflict and its Implications for Peacemaking (Paper), Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), Columbia University, published July, 2011.

UNDP’s Contribution to Peacebuilding (Report), co-authored with Marc Jacquand and Andrea Woodhouse and commissioned by the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Response, 2011. 

Early Warning Early Action Report – An Assessment (Report), commissioned by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee under the supervision of UNICEF, OCHA and WFP, 2011. 

A Choice for Peace? The Story of 41 Days of Mediation in Kenya (Paper), co-authored with Elisabeth Lindenmayer, published at the International Peace Institute (IPI), 2009.

Assessing the Effectiveness of the Humanitarian Aid Strategy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Report), commissioned by OCHA and the Palestinian Authority, 2009.