University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies

University of Surrey

Responsibility to Rebuild: Linking Infrastructure, Governance and Democratisation

18 June 2010 - 19 June 2010

The 'stabilisation' agenda is now a major priority for the UK government and the wider international community. Whether in a situation of conflict such as Afghanistan, or following a major natural disaster such as in Haiti, securing a stable environment for the process of international development is crucial to recovery. In responding to the challenges posed by complex political emergencies and modernisation projects, intervening governments have committed to the 'Responsibility to Rebuild', one of the three key elements of the 'Responsibility to Protect', adopted by the United Nations in 2005. Civil engineering projects play a key role in achieving the wider objectives of stabilisation, democratisation and state-building.

The field of international intervention in situations of underdevelopment, insecurity, and state failure is particularly suited to multi-disciplinary research. The aspiration of the workshop is to establish links between academics; policymakers from different branches of government; the military and civilian practitioners from the armed services, the UN, and international NGOs; and representatives from the private sector. The aim will be to map out, through presentation and debate, an interdisciplinary research agenda bringing together social sciences, law, and natural sciences/engineering.

The workshop seeks to address three questions:

  • How can the “Responsibility to Rebuild” be delivered in practice?
  • What should international intervention post conflict or natural disaster look like?
  • How can the different strands of physical infrastructure, governance, and civil society participation be woven together?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Prof Paul Rogers, University of Bradford
  • Prof Jennifer Welsh, University of Oxford
  • Prof Paul Williams, George Washington University
  • Ms Elizabeth Mullings-Smith, Former Associate Director, Sustainability and Environment Management, Halcrow Group

Organisers: Dr Roberta Guerrina and Sir Mike Aaronson (Department of Politics), Dr Susan Breau (International Law Centre), Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta (Politics), Dr Yacob Mulugetta (Centre for Environmental Strategy), Dr Maxine David (Politics)

Further details on the workshop, including registration details and a draft programme will be posted here soon. For more information about the event please contact Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta (

Please note that we have a limited number of places for this workshop.