The XCEPT research programme examines how conflict connect across borders. We investigate how policy and programme responses should adapt to address transnational conflict.

This XCEPT webinar series shares findings from new research supported by the XCEPT Research Fund on multi-actor interventions in transnational conflict contexts. These include studies of coalition, multi-lateral, and coordinated interventions in Africa and the Middle East. The research tackles a diverse set of themes – conflict, climate, gender, violent extremism, peacekeeping – using a range of methodological tools, including qualitative and quantitative field data collection and testing machine learning.

Please join recent XCEPT Research Fund awardees in discussion of what works in responding to transnational conflict. See below for initial details and be sure to check in as the series evolves.


Climate adaptation, food security, and conflict across borders in South Sudan

Tuesday, 27 February – 14:30-15:15 GMT

The impacts of protracted conflict and climate change are felt more keenly in East Africa than almost anywhere else in the world. This means that interventions designed to support climate adaptation and promote food security need to think about conflict too. But what is the link between these kinds of interventions and conflict? Do they reduce conflict? Do they make it worse? In this webinar, University of Indiana’s Dr Ore Koren will take on these questions. Using South Sudan as a case study, he will show how statistical modelling of conflict and climate date can reveal surprising insights into how climate adaptation strategies shape conflict.


Diversity among peacekeepers: Who is involved in UN peace support operations and why does it matter?

Thursday, 7 March – 14:00-15:00 GMT

UN peacekeeping operations are a key international response to prolonged armed conflict. They operate both nationally and at a country’s frontiers, where conflict spills over borders to neighbouring states. Understanding the effectiveness of these peacekeeping operations is critical. Why are some successful while others fail?  

In this webinar, we explore whether the make-up of a UN peacekeeping operation – the gender, origin or status of the personnel involved – has anything to do with its success or failure. XCEPT Research Fund awardee, the United Nations University (UNU), will reveal the results of their experiments with Machine Learning – crunching data across UN operations in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and South Sudan – to understand how the personnel characteristics of UN peace supports operation impact on their effectiveness.  


Re-thinking security assistance in Lebanon amidst escalating Hezbollah-Israel hostilities

Thursday, 21 March – 15:00-16:15 GMT  

Lebanon’s statehood has long been contested both within and without its borders. In recent years, international assistance has sought to strengthen the Lebanese security sector and secure the country’s porous borders amidst successive and deepening crises. During this time, the rationale and mechanisms for delivering assistance to security agencies have evolved. Lebanon’s involvement in the region’s escalating conflict is cause for reflection on the effectiveness of this assistance and its future prospects: this webinar discussion will focus upon calls to re-evaluate the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in the wake of recent regional events, to consider whether the UNSCR 1701 remains fit for purpose, eighteen years after it was first drafted.

In this webinar, Dr Simone Tholens from the European University Institute (EUI) will explore EUI’s XCEPT research findings which highlight that assistance programmes have been primarily driven by donor priorities, created disparities between Lebanese security agencies, and largely precluded societal participation in donor-funded security programming. This discussion will focus upon current challenges and opportunities of security assistance provision in Lebanon, highlighting the need for a more organic and participatory vision of the future Lebanese state and its security measures.


Multinational responses to terrorism in West Africa: The importance of trust

Friday, 22 March – 15:00-16:00 GMT

“Abstract” terror – violence led by armed groups in solidarity with cohorts located elsewhere – lessens the physical and financial burden of transnational terrorism, while also complicating the effectiveness of multinational responses. At the same time, violent attacks and arbitrary reprisals by state security agencies create significant distrust, which encourages safe havens.

In this webinar, Jillian Foster and Dr Peter Thompson will share findings from their XCEPT research on responses to transnational terrorist groups in West Africa. They will ask: What factors influence trust in multinational responses to terrorism? And what is the role of propaganda in building or losing that trust?


Gender, climate, and security in the Horn of Africa

Tuesday, 26 March, 12:00 – 13:00 GMT

The links between climate change and cross-border conflict are gendered. Yet much of the research on the gender-climate-security nexus remains narrowly focused on the impacts on women and girls, framing them as victims rather than agents of change. 

In this webinar, researchers from Bodhi Global Analysis will explore findings from their XCEPT research on how climate change and conflict are changing gender roles in the Horn of Africa. They will also provide lessons learnt from cross-border programmes focused on this nexus.