Kirstin Wagner

Peace-keeper fathered children in Haiti and DRC

Supervisors: Professor Sabine Lee, Dr. Nicolas Lemay-Hebert, Dr. Susan Bartels

Peacekeeping personnel are increasingly associated with sexual exploitation and abuse of the vulnerable populations they are mandated to protect. Whilst many intimate relations have led to children being conceived by peacekeepers, the welfare of these children and the obstacles to their integration into society have widely been ignored. This Ph.D. project explores comparatively the situation of “peace babies” and their mothers in two significant host countries of recent United Nations Stabilization Missions. It aims at providing reliable data about the challenges children fathered by UN peacekeepers are facing in volatile post-conflict communities, including stigmatization, discrimination, childhood adversities, impaired mental health and disproportionate economic and social hardships. The work further addresses the inadequate existing UN policies and support programs.


Kirstin is undertaking doctoral research on gender-based violence as an unintended consequence of aid during peace-keeping operations. Before her time at the University of Birmingham, Kirstin has completed her Master thesis in social psychology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She will use her background in psychology as a lens through which she will analyze the harmful consequences of sexual abuse forced on the local populations by peace-keeping personnel during the United Nations Stabilization Missions in Haiti and the DRC. Prior to this project, she has contributed to research in the fields of gender studies (University of Texas at Austin), virtual reality and trauma (University of Würzburg) and neurodevelopmental disorders in children (University of Capetown). From 2016-2017 she worked in a psychiatric hospital in Germany.


  • B.Sc. Psychology (Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg-2015)
  • M.Sc. Psychology (Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg-2017)

Research interests

  • Humanitarian aid and interventions
  • United Nations, International humanitarian law
  • Mental Health (especially PTSD and Substance abuse)
  • Conflict resolution, Peacebuilding, Post-conflict recovery
  • Gender and development, Gender-based violence, sexual rights

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