Louisa Lombard

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 9574

Approve Date

October 13, 2017

Project Title

Lombard, Dr. Louisa N., Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Ethics in Wars of Protection: Rwandans Re-Make Peacekeeping'

PROVIDE A BRIEF, GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PROJECT IN PLAIN ENGLISH (UNFORMATTED — WITHOUT BULLETS OR NUMBERED LISTS). Peacekeeping has recently undergone radical shifts. No longer just keepers of signed peace agreements, peacekeepers today are asked to enforce and protect in the midst of ongoing hostilities — effectively, to participate in war and be impartial. How do peacekeepers develop ethical compasses to navigate a work landscape that has such divergent moral signposts? Peacekeepers deployed with the mandate of civilian protection are daily confronted with situations in which their roles and authorities are ambiguous and lives — others’ and their own — hang in the balance. Protection has become the ideal, intended to make peacekeeping an expression of human solidarity, but peacekeepers and the peacekept alike argue vehemently over what it actually entails. Peacekeeping connects people but also deepend divisions, and is altruistic but also devoted to keeping ‘others’ in their place. While the effectiveness of new peacekeeping missions has been studied and their militarism critiqued, no ethnographer has looked at peacekeeping ethics, as this proposed project will. The project will follow Rwandan peacekeepers, known among peacekeepers as professional but also willing to use force. Rwanda, site of the world’s most famous failure of peacekeeping, has in the twenty-three years since its genocide publicly vaunted its program of developing and enacting a protection-based vision for peacekeeping. A country of fewer than twelve million citizens, it is currently the fifth-largest contributor of peacekeeping troops in the United Nations. This research, based in Rwandan peacekeeping training and post-deployment centers as well as in several countries to which they are deployed, uses participant observation and semi-structured interviews to ask: how do peacekeepers make decisions about right and wrong in carrying out their work? How do these ethical visions and actions change?