Date of Submission

Summer 7-26-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Chair/Co-chair

Sherrill W. Hayes, PhD

Co-chair/Committee Member

Akanmu Adebayo, PhD

Committee Member

Brandon D. Lundy

Committee Member

Terrence Lyons

Committee Member

Debarati Sen

Abstract

The number of people forced to flee their homeland across the world is increasing at an alarming rate. As a consequence, refugees have become a growing concern among researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Although much attention has been afforded to refugee studies, the contributions of conflict-induced migrants towards homeland peacebuilding remain underrepresented within the peacebuilding discourse. This study explores the perceptions and understandings of peace and specific peacebuilding activities from the perspective of conflictinduced forced migrants, namely, former refugees from Ethiopia who have resettled in the United States. The objective of the study is to expand the scholarly discussion on conflictinduced migrants who are forced to leave their homeland by providing in-depth analysis of a specific group, focusing on their engagement in homeland peacebuilding as it relates to their lived experiences. The study uses interpretive phenomenological analysis through the lens of positive peace and conflict transformation to explore and analyze the peacebuilding practices of study participants. Research findings reveal that participants’ homeland engagement in creating an enabling environment for peace to flourish is a response to their own often-painful experiences of forced flight from Ethiopia as it relates to several key factors including: quality of their lives pre-flight, perceptions of homeland, opportunities and challenges in the resettlement country, and opportunities to inspire and enhance peacebuilding capabilities. Insights from the study expand existing dialogue on forced migrants and peacebuilding and enrich our understanding of how refugees are active agents in homeland peacebuilding as a result of the forced nature of their own migration and their own experiences with violent conflict and instability. Thus, this study adds to existing dialogue on local agency in peacebuilding processes.

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