Mediation in International Conflicts

The ICCS research cluster on mediation and mediation support is concerned with studying the role of international mediation in resolving some of the most protracted conflicts around the world, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, the 5+2 negotiations on the conflict in Transnistria, the Minsk process in relation to Nagornyi Karabakh, and the on-going efforts to resolve the Cyprus conflict. Members of the cluster are also involved practically in supporting mediators in actual conflict settlement negotiations, such as in Kirkuk, Moldova, and Yemen. The cluster is multidisciplinary in its approach to mediation, and is engaged with theoretical aspects of mediation as well as empirical cases and policy questions, such as the format of negotiations, pre-negotiation agreements, guarantees in conflict settlements, and approaches to institutional design in conflict settlement.

Mediation is one of the oldest forms of conflict resolution and has been used extensively worldwide by individuals, states and organisations to bring about peaceful resolution to interstate and intrastate conflicts. Mediation is commonly understood as the intervention of a third party in the dispute of two or more parties, for the purpose of improving the nature of interaction between the disputants. Unlike other methods of conflict resolution, such as arbitration and adjudication, mediation is voluntary and non-binding. It is the most popular form of contemporary conflict resolution, present in nearly 60 percent of international and intrastate disputes post-1945, while nearly half of all post Cold War crisis were mediated by third parties.

Professor Stefan Wolff 


Stefan Wolff is Professor of International Security at the University of Birmingham. He is a specialist in international conflict management and state-building and has extensively written on ethnic conflict and civil war. Among his 16 books to date are Ethnic Conflict: A Global Perspective (Oxford University Press 2007) and Conflict Management in Divided Societies (Routledge 2011, with Christalla Yakinthou). Wolff is the founding editor of Ethnopolitics and an associate editor of Civil Wars. Bridging the divide between academia and policy-making, he has been involved in various phases of conflict settlement processes, including most recently in Iraq, Moldova, and Yemen. Wolff holds a BA from the University of Leipzig, Germany, a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Key Publications:


Ethnic Conflict: Causes—Consequences—Responses (with Karl Cordell) (Cambridge: Polity, 2009)

Ethnic Conflict: A Global Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006/paperback 2007)

Edited volumes

Conflict Management in Divided Societies: Theories and Practice, ed. By Stefan Wolff and Christalla Yakinthou (London: Routledge, 2011) The Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict, ed. by Karl Cordell and Stefan Wolff (London: Routledge, 2011)

Institutions for the Management of Ethnopolitical Conflict in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. by Marc Weller and Stefan Wolff (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2008)

Autonomy, Self-governance and Conflict Resolution: Innovative Approaches to Institutional Design in Divided Societies, ed. by Marc Weller and Stefan Wolff (London: Routledge, 2005)

Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflicts. Perspectives on Successes and Failures from Africa, Asia, and Europe, ed. by Ulrich Schneckener and Stefan Wolff (New York and London: Hurst, 2004; US edition: Palgrave/paperback 2004)

Journal articles

“Post-conflict State Building: the debate on institutional choice”, Third World Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 10 (November 2011), 1777-1802.

“A resolvable frozen conflict? Designing a Settlement for Transnistria”, Nationalities Papers, vol. 39, no. 6 (November 2011), 863-870.

“The Regional Dimensions of State Failure”, Review of International Studies,Vol. 37, no. 3 (June 2011), 951-972.

“Managing Ethno-national Conflict: Towards an Analytical Framework”, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, vol. 49, no. 2 (April 2011), 162–194.

“The Merits and Perils of Territorial Accommodation”, Political Studies Review, vol. 9, no. 1 (January 2011), 26-41.

“Governing (in) Kirkuk”, International Affairs, vol. 86, no. 6 (November 2010), 1361-79.
“Building Democratic States after Conflict: Institutional Design Revisited”, International Studies Review, vol. 12, no. 1 (March 2010), 128-41.

Book chapters

“Consociationalism, Power Sharing, and Politics at the Center”, in The International Studies Encyclopedia, ed. by Robert A. Denemark. (London: Blackwell Publishing, 2010. Blackwell Reference Online. 05 March 2010

“Complex Power Sharing as Conflict Resolution: South Tyrol in Comparative Perspective”, in Tolerance through Law: Self-governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol, ed. by Jens Woelk, Francesco Palermo, and Joseph Marko. (Leiden and Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008), pp. 329-370.

“Power Sharing and the Vertical Layering of Authority: A Review of Current Practices”, in Settling Self-determination Disputes: Complex Power Sharingin Theory and Practice, ed. by Marc Weller and Barbara Metzger. (Leiden and Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008), pp. 407-450.

“Electoral Systems Design and Power-Sharing Regimes”, in Powersharing: New Challenges for Divided Societies, ed. by Ian O’Flynn and David Russell (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006).

“Between Stability and Collapse: Internal and External Dynamics of Post-agreement Institution-building in Northern Ireland”, in From Power sharing to Democracy: Post-conflict Institutions in Ethnically Divided Societies, ed. by Sid Noel (Montreal & Kingston: McGill--Queen’s University Press, 2005).

Dr. Asaf Siniver 


Dr. Siniver’s research interests are concentrated within the field of International Security, with particular emphasis on the following areas: the international relations of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the broader Middle East; third party mediation and conflict resolution; US foreign policy and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). His current research focuses on explaining success and failure of third party mediation in the Arab-Israeli conflict, by using qualitative and quantitative methods to hypothesize about possible linkages between mediation antecedents and certain mediation outcomes. This research is supported by a 2-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2011-13, RF-2011-222).


Key Publications:


Nixon, Kissinger, and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Machinery of Crisis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008 (Hardback) and 2011 (Paperback).

International Terrorism post 9/11: Comparative Dynamics and Responses (ed.). London and New York: Routledge, 2010 (Hardback) and 2012 (Paperback).

Articles and edited chapters

'Arbitrating the Israeli-Palestinian Territorial Dispute', International Politics 49:1 (2012), pp. 117-129.

‘The Limits of Public Diplomacy: Abba Eban and the June 1967 War', in C. Jones and T. T. Peterson (eds.), Israel, Clandestine Diplomacy and the Modern Middle East (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2012).

‘The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’, in R. Whitman and S. Wolff (eds.), The EU as Global Conflict Manager (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 80-91.

‘Israeli Identities and the Politics of Threat: A Constructivist Interpretation’, Ethnopolitics 11:1 (2012), pp. 24-42.

‘Change Nobody Believes In: Obama and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’, Diplomacy & Statecraft 22:4 (2011), pp. 678-695.

‘New Routes to Power: Towards a Typology of Power Mediation (with L. Heemsbergen), Review of International Studies 37:3 (2011), pp. 1169-1190.

‘Managing and Settling Ethnic Conflict’, in S. Wolff and K. Cordell (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Ethnic Conflict, pp. 187-197. London: Routledge, 2011.

‘The Nixon Administration and the Cienfuegos Crisis of 1970: Crisis Management of a Non-Crisis?’, Review of International Studies, 34:1 (2008), pp. 69-98.

‘Power, Impartiality and Timing: Three Hypotheses on Third Party Mediation in the Middle East’, Political Studies, Volume 54:4 (2006), pp. 806-826.

‘The Truth is Out There: The Recently Released NSC Institutional Files of the Nixon Presidency’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, 34:2 (2004), pp.449-454.