Dissertation Defense: Keil Eggers  Banner

Dissertation Defense: Keil Eggers

Thursday, April 18, 2024

09:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Carter School office/ online

3434 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA, 5th Floor, Room 5183


Peacebuilding practitioners in the United States comprise a sensemaking community that is grappling with multiple approaches to making positive change in the United States. Each organization and practitioner brings a set of methods to address that problem and an ideal audience that they believe should be the locus of change. The Us Against When project partnered with the Horizons Project and Common Ground USA to develop an image of a more peaceful United States and test how a peacebuilding scenario resonated with these organizations’ audiences. The research addressed the following question: How can a complexity-informed sensemaking approach help United States-based peace organizations align their image of the desired future with their constituents and improve practice by utilizing sensemaking data to inform decision-making in their programming? Sensemaking activities included interpretation of the scenario in the SenseMaker tool, participatory sensemaking process, and early feedback from the organizations about the ways the resulting insights informed their decision making. The peacebuilding scenario was interpreted by over 800 respondents in five states at higher risk for political violence (Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). The research’s experimental approach demonstrated how techniques from futures studies and complexity science could contribute to the ability of peacebuilders to construct sensemaking feedback loops and better orient their practice in complex conflicts.

Committee Members:

Dr. Susan Allen, Professor and Henry Hart Rice Chair, Carter School, George Mason University

Dr. Solon Simmons, Associate Professor, Carter School, George Mason University

Dr. Gearoid Millar, Professor of Sociology, University of Aberdeen

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Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution