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Faculty/Staff Directory

Catherine Barnes

DEPARTMENT: CJP - Center for Justice & Peacebuilding

POSITION: Affiliate Associate Professor

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | WH 2nd

PHONE: (540) 432-4579


Catherine Barnes has extensive experience designing and facilitating deliberative dialogue, as well as teaching and training adults in working with conflict, strategies for building peace and promoting social justice. She has worked in more than 30 countries particularly in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe. With more than twenty years working with non-governmental organizations, Catherine’s peacebuilding practice has included:
• Interactive process design and dialogue facilitation, strategic planning and collaborative learning, including large-scale conferences and more intimate deliberative dialogue processes engaging participants from across conflict divides;
• Teaching and training in peace processes, conflict transformation, dialogue, problem solving, leadership development and empowerment for social action;
• Policy research, policy dialogue and advocacy on issues connected to war-to-peace transition processes, political negotiation, statebuilding, and civil society roles in peacebuilding.
• Program and project development and proposal preparation; strategic reviews and evaluation.


Major Conferences
• Global conference at UN headquarters “From Reaction to Prevention: the Roles of Civil Society in Preventing Armed Conflict and Building Peace”—process design, preparation and facilitation of plenary and large panel sessions of conference involving more than 1,000 participants from civil society, governments, and IGOs, New York, July 2005
• European Regional Conference of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict—facilitated a consensus building process for more than 250 people to agree the European Action Agenda, Ireland, April 2004
• “Tools for Peace”—lead facilitator of this international, inter-religious peace conference, Sweden, November 2004
• “Role of the EU in the South Caucasus”, lead facilitator of conference for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Mennonite Church USA’s “Future Church Summit”, lead designer and facilitator of a multi-phase process for church renewal leading to an interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue involving more than 700 delegates., Jan-July 2017.

Dialogue and joint-analysis
• Designed and facilitated numerous seminars for policy makers, political party representatives, civil society representatives and analysts – many involving participants from across conflict divides – to explore various issues in conflict prevention and learning from peace processes.
• Designed and facilitated a series of deliberative dialogue processes for ethnic leaders inside Myanmar/Burma leading to shared vision for future and action agendas for collaborative work.
• Facilitated a series of workshops for governmental and civil society representatives from five East European countries on key problems in majority/minority relations and wrote published reports of the outcomes.

Strategic planning and meeting facilitation
• Facilitated strategic planning processes, retreats, and meetings for: Conciliation Resources; Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; Consortium Initiative on Nagorny-Karabakh; EMU School of Graduate Studies; EMU Enrollment Department; Free Tibet Campaign; Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict; Haiti Advocacy Working Group; Saferworld; Jackson Mississippi Public Schools Restorative Justice Initiative; PLATFORM London.

• Designed and delivered numerous bespoke training courses on peacemaking and peace processes for groups ranging from the UK government’s conflict adviser cadre, to members of armed insurgency groups, to civil society ‘insider partial’ peacemakers.
• Designed and facilitated training seminars for diplomats and UN officials on conflict resolution and negotiation skills and wrote training manual to accompany the course.
• Designed & delivered a series of trainings for three cohorts of deliberative dialogue process designers and facilitators in Myanmar/Burma to support the peace process and other socio-political change (2014-2017).
• Developed and delivered trainings and training-of-trainers courses on governance transition processes and roles of legislature for new ethnic politicians and civil society activists in Myanmar/Burma.
• Developed and delivered annual module on reconciliation and transitional justice for Responding To Conflict.
• Delivered a series of training seminars on strategies for public participation in peacemaking, including for the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for Sri Lankan officials and civic leaders; gave talks on this theme for various audiences in London, New York, Washington and Yerevan.
• Taught EU specialization course on conflict transformation at Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution
• Advised a group of Dutch Malukans on possible roles of diaspora communities in conflict and peacebuilding.
• Designed and facilitated a range of training seminars for minority rights activists on human rights and advocacy, including tailored courses for advocacy at both the UN Human Rights Commission and at the Council of Europe.
• Conducted a series of seminars to train teachers, students and community activists in communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.

• Advised the European Union in its support for the emerging peace process in Myanmar and the concept of its funding for development of institutions to support the process, 2012.
• Served as strategic adviser to the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)–2003-2005
• Conducted a review of Conciliation Resources’ Accord program, which led to the development of a new strategic direction for the program and a detailed ‘business-plan’ for achieving it.
• Developed and implemented a three-year program for Minority Rights Group to promote minority rights and cooperation between communities in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia.
• Served as an expert adviser to the PEER project of the European Network Against Racism to develop empowerment projects for community organizations fighting discrimination throughout Europe

• Strategic Advisor and Reviewer for the Consortium Initiative on Nagorny-Karabakh – 2005-2007
• Conducted evaluation reviews of Conciliation Resources’ 5-year peacebuilding program in Georgia/Abkhazia; of International Alert’s peacebuilding program in Georgia/Abkhazia; and of Saferworld’s work in the Western Balkans
• Conducted evaluation research for CHF’s ‘Stable Society Study’ on the impact of participatory community development on conflict in Southern Serbia.

• Policy adviser for Conciliation Resources, responsible for researching and formulating its policy advocacy strategy, drafting policy analysis and materials, and delivering results on its policy change goals—from 2006-2010.
• Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict: Facilitated and drafted the development of the Global Action Agenda, prepared submissions for various UN reports, represented GPPAC at UN General Assembly Hearings in advance of the Millennium Declaration Review Summit, lobbied UN officials and government representatives on key GPPAC goals, helped to catalyze the ‘Group of Friends for Conflict Prevention’ involving almost 40 missions.
• Prepared submissions and represented Minority Rights Group International in international fora (UN, OSCE, Council of Europe) and conferences to raise awareness of specific minority rights issues.
• Experienced in consulting with senior government and inter-governmental officials, civil society leaders, community activists and researchers on a diverse range of conflict, human rights, and policy concerns.
• Provided informal consultation on dynamics of peace processes and specific conflict situations with intermediaries, policy advisors, and activists responsible for developing peacebuilding strategies.

• Eastern Mennonite University, developed and taught classes on war-to-peace transitions, peace processes, public policy, group facilitation, advanced practice skills, foundations for justice and peacebuilding, and conflict analysis for masters degree students.
• UN University of Peace: taught graduate class on conflict analysis, peace processes, negotiation and mediation.
• Europa-Universität Viadrina: developed and wrote an online master degree class on international conflict management.
• Applied Conflict Transformation Studies: advised Responding to Conflict in the development of this international distance-learning graduate program and authored core readers..

• EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY, Associate Professor Strategic Peacebuilding and Public Policy, Aug 2011-Present (ongoing)
• INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT, working for NGOs, inter-governmental organizations and governments on strategies and processes for conflict transformation and positive change, from January 2002 (ongoing)
• CONCILIATION RESOURCES, Accord Programme Manager / Series Editor, May 2000–Jan 2002, London
• MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP INTERNATIONAL (MRG), Programme Co-ordinator for Europe/FSU/ Americas, Nov 1995–Oct 1998, London
• INSTITUTE OF WORLD AFFAIRS, Program Associate, Jan 1994–Oct 1995, Washington, DC
• JOHN C. NEWMAN, P.C., Legal Assistant, Oct 1992–Jan 1994, Washington, DC
• MENTAL HEALTH LAW PROJECT, Children’s SSI Campaign Assistant, Washington, DC
• SENECA COMMUNITY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER, Regional Youth Specialist and Adolescent Therapist, May 1989–Oct 1990, Lewisburg, West Virginia
• FAMILY REFUGE CENTER, Program Coordinator, June 1987–Aug 1988, Lewisburg, West Virginia
• OHIO PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP, Peace and Social Justice Coordinator, Sept 1983-June 1985


Doctor of Philosophy, Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, January 2000. Research specialization on genocide in the twentieth century.

Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, May 1994. Specializing the study of deep-rooted conflict between ethnic and other communal groups. Graduated with a 4.0 (“A”) grade point average.

Bachelor of Arts with Honors, Oberlin College, May 1987. Major: comparative politics; Minor: Religion.


• Dilemmas of Ownership, Inclusivity, Legitimacy and Power: Towards Transformative National Dialogue Processes. National Dialogue Handbook Background Paper No. 1. Berlin: Berghof Foundation. 2017.
• “Tipping the balance? Sanctions, incentives and peace processes” Managing Peace Processes: Process related questions. Handbook for AU Mediators, Volume 1. Addis Ababa: Peace and Security Department, African Union Commission. March 2013.
• Ending war: the need for peace process support strategies. 2009. Policy Brief. Conciliation Resources.
• Renegotiating the political settlement in war-to-peace transitions. 2009. Paper commissioned by UK Department for International Development for OECD-DAC International Dialogue on Statebuilding and Peacebuilding.
• “Civil society and peacebuilding: mapping functions in working for peace” International Spectator Volume 44 No. 1 March 2009
• Peace Processes and Stabilization. Stabilization Issues Note. Briefing guidance commissioned by the UK Stabilization Unit. September 2008.
• Powers of persuasion: incentives, sanctions and conditionality in peace processes. Accord 19. Editor with Aaron Griffiths. Conciliation Resources, 2008.
• Bridging the gap: improving UK support to peace processes. Working paper. Conciliation Resources, June 2007.
• Agents of Change: Roles of Civil Society in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding. Issue Paper 2: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. European Centre for Conflict Prevention, October 2006.
• “The Functional Utility of Genocide: Towards a Framework for Understanding the Connection Between Genocide and Regime Consolidation, Expansion and Maintenance” Journal of Genocide Research. Vol 7, No 3, September 2005.
• “Weaving the Web: Civil Society Roles in Working with Conflict and Building Peace” in van Tongeren et al, Eds. People Building Peace II: Successful Stories of Civil Society. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 2005.
• The United Nations, Civil Society, and Preventing Armed Conflict: Principles and Recommendations for Operational Prevention. Paper for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2004
• UN-CSO Interaction in Conflict-Affected Communities. Paper for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2004 available on
• Constructing a shared future?: Participatory Community Development and Conflict Mitigation in Southern Serbia. Stable Society Study. Washington DC: CHF, 2003.
• Owning the Process: Mechanisms for Political Participation of the Public in Peacemaking. Accord 13. Editor. London: Conciliation Resources, 2002.
• Politics of Compromise: The Tajikistan Peace Process. Accord 10. Editor with Kamoludin Abdullaev. London: Conciliation Resources, 2001.
• Beyond Conflict: The Structure and Purposes of Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Doctoral Dissertation. Fairfax, VA: Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, September 1999.
• The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children from Minority and Indigenous Communities. Editor. Minority Rights Group research contribution to Graça Machel UN Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, 1996.
• The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: A Guide for Non-Governmental Organizations with Manon Olsthoorn. London: Minority Rights Group, 1999.
• “Minority Children of Somalia” in War: The Impact on Minority and Indigenous Children with Lorne Stockman. London: Minority Rights Group, 1997.
• Inter-group Conflict in Schools: Strategies and Resources, with Applied Practice and Theory research team. Fairfax, Virginia: Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 1994.

• Creating Our Future: Responsive Leadership and Empowered Constituencies. Training manual and resource pack. Hope International Development Agency, 2011.
• Theories of Conflict: Causes, Dynamics and Implications, Applied Conflict Transformation Studies Series. Birmingham UK: Responding to Conflict, 2005
• Designing and Facilitating Conflict Transformation Processes, Applied Conflict Transformation Studies Series Birmingham UK: Responding to Conflict, 2005
• Conflict Resolution and Negotiation: A Practical Guide to Diplomacy After the Cold War, Washington: Institute of World Affairs Publications, 1994
• The Maun Sea Revitalization Project: A Complex Simulation Exercise for International Multilateral Negotiations. Washington: Institute of World Affairs Publications, 1994

• Tools for Peace?: The Role of Religion in Conflicts. Uppsala, Sweden: Life & Peace Institute, 2005
• The European Union and the South Caucasus: Opportunities for Intensified Engagement. Seminar Report. Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Centre for Conflict Prevention, May 2004
• Sierra Leone Peace Process: Learning from the Past to Address Current Challenges. London: Conciliation Resources
• Ideas for Change: Skills-Exchange Workshop Reports, with Anna-Mária Bíro. London: Minority Rights Group, 1999.

• “Addicted to Coercion: Shifting the Reliance on Force in Response to Conflict & Insecurity”. International Day of Peace Seminar, Mary Baldwin University, 21 Sept 2016.
• “Engaging together: exploring deliberative dialogue as a path towards systemic transformation” Keynote speech to the Peace and Justice Studies Association, James Madison University, Oct 2015.
• “Peacebuilding and statebuilding: issues in operationalizing DFID’s new approach” plenary presentation at DFID Policy Seminar: Best Practice in Fragile and Conflict Affected States, Wilton Park Conference 955, March 2009
• _“Sanctions, incentives and conditionality in peacemaking: issues for the UN_” lead presentation at workshop for the UN Department of Political Affairs, July 2008
• “Talking with the enemy: improving political strategies for addressing armed conflict” Speech to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues, December 2007
• “Setting the Agenda: Challenges and Contributions for Civil Society Roles in Peacebuilding” plenary speech at ADM/CPA Conference on Mainstreaming Peacebuilding in Public Policy, Ireland, October 2005
• “Making the Shift to Prevention” plenary speech at Dag Hammarskjöld Conference ‘UN and Global Security’ organized by the Swedish Government / UN Association of Sweden, February 2005
• “State-Building: the Challenges of Participation and Ownership” paper presented at State-Building Policy Seminar organised by International Peace Academy and the Center on International Cooperation, New York, November 2004
• “Ownership of the Transition and Peace Processes” presentation to UK Government / Wilton Park Conference on Managing the Transition from International Military Intervention to Civilian Rule: Breaking the Conflict Cycle, December 2003
• _“Five Key Challenges for Governance in Central Asia_” paper presented at International Peace Academy / Diplomatische Akademie Wein’s 32nd Annual ‘Vienna Seminar’, July 2002
• “Comparative Experiences in International Peacemaking” paper presented at the UNESCO / Government of Tajikistan International Symposium on the Historical Experience of Tajik Peacemaking, Dushanbe, April 2001.
• “Toward a Conflict Theory of Genocide” paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, July 1995.
• “The Origins of Communal Conflict in South Asia” paper presented at the Conference on Peacemaking, Education, and Development, October 1993.