Visiting Professor Francis Lethem and Rotary Peace Fellow Anderson Freitas de Cerqueira (MIDP ‘14) contributed a chapter on development and peacebuilding to the recently released Practical Approaches to Peacebuilding: Putting Theory to Work.

Published this month, the book presents case studies from around the world to explore how various peacebuilding theories engage and interact with lived experiences. Each of the book’s chapters was written by a faculty member and current or former fellow in five of the six Rotary Peace Centers worldwide.

“This book is a vivid illustration of how each center contributes its academic expertise to advance the understanding of the causes of conflict and the promotion of peace,” Lethem said.

The chapter by Freitas and Lethem examines the various factors leading to current conflicts in the Amazon region of Brazil between dam builders and the indigenous population. Environmentalists and representatives of indigenous populations argue that the construction of several high-capacity hydroelectric dams in the region will harm both the environment and the local way of life.  

The chapter proposes a strategy for the government of Brazil to mitigate the risks of future conflicts, including a better grasp of the institutional environment and anticipation of the potential impact on people involved.

“Conflict sensitivity is a complex art that requires a deep understanding of the causes of violence as well as an appreciation of the concerns of multiple stakeholders,” Lethem said. “A better understanding of these factors could have led – and we believe, still can lead – to a more peaceful future for Brazil.”

Lethem was formerly director of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and co-director of the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center. One of only six such centers in the world, the center promotes peace by training future leaders in peacebuilding and conflict resolution with an emphasis on sustainable development. Other centers are based in Australia, England, Japan, Sweden and Thailand.

Freitas, who is now district attorney and public prosecutor at the Public Ministry of the State of Bahia, Brazil, based the chapter on a paper he wrote in Natalia Mirovitskaya’s course on Development and Violence.

The book was co-edited by Pamina Firchow, assistant professor at George Mason University and former Rotary Peace Fellow, and Harry Anastasiou, director of the Conflict Resolution Program at Portland State University.

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