Severine Autesserre headshot

On March 29, 2024, Séverine Autesserre, Whitney Ann Olin Professor and Chair of political science gave a talk at the annual Anderton Forum for Global Engagement organized by Hobart and William Smith Colleges. 

Autessere spoke about global conflict, peace-building, and hope, and discussed important lessons from the field research which informed her 2021 book The Frontlines of Peace. Her extensive review of more than 25 years of ethnographic research in 12 countries has led Autessere to conclude that lasting peace can be made possible with the help of “ordinary and yet extraordinary individuals and communities that have found effective ways to confront violence.” She highlighted grassroots peacebuilding as one particularly effective strategy. Rather than large sums of money or the use of extensive resources, Autessere argues that historical and contemporary evidence shows that giving power to ordinary citizens is often one of the best ways to help build peace.

During her time on Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ campuses, Autessere also spent time conversing with students and faculty about the important role scholars and researchers can play in promoting peace. Her talk was followed by an in-depth discussion on peacebuilding, which was led by the college’s President, Mark D. Gearan.