International Order & Conflict

How do extralegal groups react when there is a crisis of governance? An examination of post-conflict Liberia and how trade makes a state Book Launch & Discussion

In the aftermath of the Liberian civil war, groups of ex-combatants seized control of key natural resource enclaves in the country. With some of them threatening a return to war, these groups were widely viewed as the most significant threats to Liberia’s hard-won peace. Building on fieldwork and socio-historical analysis, Dr. Christine Cheng’s newest study presents how extralegal groups were incentivized to provide basic governance goods in their bid to create a stable commercial environment during the country’s war-to-peace transition. It argues that it is it is trade, rather than war, that drives contemporary statebuilding.

The Stimson Center, UNA-National Capital Arena, and Alliance for Peacebuilding will feature a presentation by Dr. Christine Cheng on her new book on extralegal groups in post-conflict Liberia and will be followed by a moderated discussion with Liz Hume, Vice President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and Richard Ponzio, Director of the Just Security 2020 program at the Stimson Center.

A Q&A session will follow.

Light lunch will be served from 12:00-12:30pm.


Dr. Christine Cheng, Lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London.

Dr. Christine Cheng is a lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London and she is currently working with Chatham House on a DFID-funded study on Countering War Economies in the Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Previously, she also worked for the UN and the World Bank. Her twitter handle is @cheng_christine.

Liz Hume, Vice President and Senior Director for Programs and Strategy, Alliance for Peacebuilding.

Liz Hume has over twenty years’ experience in senior leadership positions with multi-lateral organizations, USAID and non-profits. In these organizations she has held policy and legal counsel positions and has overseen sizeable and complex peacebuilding programs in conflict affected and fragile countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Richard Ponzio, Director, Just Security 2020 Program, Stimson Center.

Prior to being appointed as the Director of the Just Security 2020 program, Mr. Ponzio led the Global Governance Program at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, where (in partnership with Stimson) he served as Project Director for the Albright-Gambari Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. His twitter handle is @RichardPonzio.

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