Are mediators norm entrepreneurs? The role of the mediators of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the South Sudan Peace Process (2013-2015)

Since international peace mediation has become one of the first responses to violent conflict, peacebuilding actors in recent years increasingly advocate for the adoption of norms such as inclusivity, gender equality and transitional justice in the mediation process so as to cultivate the political commitment to these norms as early as in the immediate post conflict phase. Hence, apart from being tasked to mediate in ending the violence through a peace agreement, international peace mediators are now expected to promote these other norms in the mediation process. This trend is premised on a fundamental assumption currently under investigated in research: that mediators can, or have the agency to, promote norms in the first place.

Examining this assumption, this dissertation investigates whether mediators indeed have the agency to promote norms in the mediation process. The dissertation uses the constitutive localization framework conceptualized by Amitav Acharya in analyzing the process of promoting the norm. This framework focuses on the role of “local agents” in reshaping the outside norm to be more congruent with strongly established norms in the receiving context. Focusing on the norm of inclusivity, I study the possible local agency of the mediators mandated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional organization in the Horn of Africa, in enabling the inclusion of civil society in the South Sudan mediation process (2013-2015).

The study has both conceptual and empirical contributions. At the conceptual level, the dissertation engages in core discourses in Political Science on the nature and role of norms as well as the interplay of structure and agency in analyzing political change. At the empirical level, through in-depth narrative and semi-structured interviews with officials, experts, participants of the peace process and other South Sudanese as well as content analysis of official documents and other literature, the dissertation offers an account of the IGAD-led mediation process from 2013 to 2015 and the events immediately before and after.

Supervisor: Laurent Goetschel
to be determined


Jamie Pring is a PhD candidate at the University of Basel and a PhD fellow of the swisspeace Mediation program. Under the Swiss National Science Foundation research project, “Are Mediators Norm Entrepreneurs? The Role of Norms in International Peace Mediation,” her dissertation examines the role of the mediators mandated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in promoting inclusivity in the South Sudan peace process (2013-2015). Prior to joining swisspeace, Jamie was a Junior Programme Officer for the Director of Operations at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), an intern at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), and a research assistant at the Centre for Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute. She also served as a Defense Research Officer at the Department of National Defense in the Philippines. She obtained her Master’s degree in International Affairs with a focus on Conflict and Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines.




Jamie Pring
Sonnenbergstrasse 17
3013 Bern