My name is Julia Leib and I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Potsdam, Germany. In my research and teaching, I focus on international conflict resolution, the role of international organizations in peace processes and the local effects of different peacebuilding approaches with a regional focus on West Africa. I am particularly interested in interactions and frictions between international institutions and national actors in transition or post-conflict countries, especially the question of conditions for successful peacebuilding. Additionally, my research interests include peace concepts, peacekeeping operations, third-party interventions, simulation games and set-theoretic methods.

In my current research project, I focus on the ambivalent effects of digitalization and the widespread use of social media on international peacebuilding and the crisis communication of international organizations. A pilot study on social media communication by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) will lead to important insights into when and how social media are used by peace missions as a strategic tool to engage the local population in the peace process and to increase the legitimacy of the mission, and which topics and discourses are addressed in the individual posts.

In my previous PhD project, I investigated the influence of conflict environment factors and peacebuilding institutions on the establishment of sustaining peace using a mixed methods approach and was able to identify two sufficient configurations: an accountability paths and an integrated approach. Based on data from three months of field work in Sierra Leone and Liberia, I was also able to identify the underlying mechanisms behind the sufficient configurations in individual case studies.

My PhD dissertation on the Patterns of Sustaining Peace was honoured with the dissertation award of the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) and the third place in the  “Aquila ascendens” Award for Security Policy.