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Presentation: Forced Displacement and Peaceful Return

November 16, 2016 at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:5302 Richcraft Hall

Forced Displacement and Peaceful Return: Examining the Cases of the Drvar Region in Bosnia and Kormakitis in Cyprus


Based on the recently published volume on Diasporas as Cultures of Cooperation (Carment & Sadjed eds.), this presentation focuses on the interplay between diaspora mobilization and return home at the aftermath of violent conflict. It investigates the conditions under which diaspora mobilization contributes to voluntary peaceful return, especially after the passage of time. Drawing on the experiences of Bosnian Serbs and Cypriot Maronite returnees since the 1993-95 and 1974 wars respectively, it examines two counter-intuitive attempts of partial reversal of forced displacement. The Cyprus/Bosnia comparison also sheds light on the local and global networks of cooperation generated by displaced persons to advocate and sustain return home, focusing specifically at the importance of trust, exchange and social capital as manifested in these groups. While recognizing the limitations of displaced persons politics in Bosnia and Cyprus, the presentation demonstrates that community effort resolves coordination and commitment problems, thereby facilitating voluntary peaceful return even under conditions of inter-communal fear, mistrust and economic insecurity. Drawing on these qualitative findings, the presentation will also present new survey data from the Cypriot displaced aiming to answer two critical questions for the ongoing UN mediations specifically whether return of the displaced is still possible and whether the Cyprus problem in general is resolvable.

Neophytos Loizides is Professor in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent and the author of more than thirty academic articles and chapters on conflict regulation in deeply divided societies. His most recent monographs include The Politics of Majority Nationalism: Framing Peace, Stalemates, and Crises published by Stanford University Press (2015) and Designing Peace: Cyprus and Institutional Innovations in Divided Societies published by the University of Pennsylvania Press (2016). Dr. Loizides is the Associate Editor of Nationalism and Ethnic Politics and is currently working on projects funded by the British Academy and the Economic and Social Research Council (UK). His presentation will draw on his co-authored chapter with Djordje Stefanovic and Danae Elston-Alphas (In Carment & Sadjed eds. 2016) as well as a Leverhulme Trust funded survey with Charis Psaltis and Djordje Stefanovic.