Sara Hellmüller

Bridging the Gap – Examining Local Dimensions of International Peacebuilding in the DR Congo

Sara's PhD analyzes how the interaction between local and international peacebuilding actors influences the effectiveness of their programs. Theoretically, it is located within the critiques of the liberal peace, focusing on hybridity. Methodologically, it confronts macro-level policy reasoning with empirical data gathered in D.R. Congo. Thereby, it provides important insights into local perspectives on peace. These can feed into more sustainable peacebuilding strategies – in Congo and beyond.The project is funded by the SNSF, 2011-2013.

Supervisor: Laurent Goetschel

Co-Supervisor: Séverine Austesserre (Columbia U)


Sara Hellmüller joined swisspeace in December 2009. She works as a program officer in the Mediation Program and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Basel. She holds a Master Degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Boston. In spring 2013, she was also a Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University in New York and an affiliate doctoral student at the University of Bunia in Ituri. Previous work experiences include internships with UNDP in eastern DR Congo, with the Swiss Embassy in Abuja, and with local NGOs in Mongolia and South Africa.


PhD in: 2014

Next Position: Senior Researcher / Senior Program Officer, Mediation at swisspeace