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About conflictrecovery.org

Social Sciences for the Study of Conflict in Indonesia was a program designed in response to the request made the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Abdurachman Wahid, in 2000 to the director designate of LIPI, Dr Taufik Abdullah, to develop research capacity for the study of conflict, early warning, prevention and recovery. President Wahid believed that scientific knowledge of the origins, mechanics and management of conflict could go a long way towards addressing the communal conflicts then afflicting the country. The program began on 1 September 2001 as a cooperative research program linking the Pusat Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Kebudayaan (PMB), part of the Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI), and the Laboratoire Asie du Sud-Est et Monde Austronésien (LASEMA), part of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). The LIPI team was led by Thung Ju Lan, with key inputs from Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Riwanto Tirtosudarmo and Henny Warsilah. The LASEMA contingent was led by Hélène Bouvier-Smith and W. Glenn Smith. Recognizing the key role the LIPI plays to support government policymaking, not only in conflict management but in a wide range of fields, the program received early and consistent backing from the French Embassy in Jakarta.

This website aims to support future research and documentation in our two institutions, and provide a resource for the wider community concerned with issues of conflict and recovery in Indonesia and further afield. Launched in November 2001 at communalconflict.com the site moved 6 November 2006 to conflictrecovery.org to better reflect the changing focus of conflict research and mitigation activities in Indonesia, where many areas are now undergoing post-conflict recovery. For post-conflict recovery to succeed it must proceed from a solid knowledge base, an understanding of stakeholder dynamics, and a willingness to use conflict-sensitive methods to promote equity, transparency, and community empowerment/participation. It is our conviction that successful recovery from any type of violent internal conflict ultimately rests on deep understanding and treatment of underlying causes.

An example of our approach can be found in the many communal conflicts that broke out in the years immediately preceding and following the fall of the New Order government in 1998. Although popularly regarded as religious conflicts or ethnic conflicts at the time, research found these labels to be insufficiently explanatory. In case after case, other issues were found to play important, if not dominant, roles in the genesis and persistence of conflict. Economic or social exclusion, unequal access to valued resources, competition between civilian and military elites, the myriad effects of globalization--these and others bec ame objects of study as our work progressed. Religion and ethnicity were still considered important, particularly for mass mobilization serving a variety of purposes, from organizing violence to building peace.

At the outset, the research activities of many of the program members focused on the conflicts in Kalimantan and Aceh and the general question of migration and conflict. Over the years, most of the areas of the country experiencing conflict became the subject of research, seminars and debates, resulting in a number of publications. Visitors are cordially invited to send us items and suggestions for improving or enriching this site.

Social Sciences for the Study of Conflict in Indonesia has at one time or another been linked with other networks dealing with similar issues, including The Economics of Civil Wars, Crime and Violence (World Bank) and the Indonesian Conflict Studies Network (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NIAS, Copenhagen). Funding from the CNRS, LASEMA and the French Embassy in Jakarta is gratefully acknowledged. Responsibility for the content of the site, however, remains with conflictrecovery.org.