The Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies was established under the umbrella of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. Its founding document was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Institute on March 21, 2016. In addition to the support from the Board of Trustees represented by its President, CHS gained the support of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Qatar, as well as international institutions, such as United Nations organizations and major research centers around the world.
The Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) is an inter-disciplinary research and study center that builds on the collective scholarship of its own dedicated staff, DI faculty members, as well as researchers at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, to conduct original and rigorous research on the causes and impact of, and responses to, conflict, humanitarian crisis, state fragility and war-to-peace transitions in the Middle East and North Africa. CHS seeks to reconcile the worlds of theory and practice in order to focus more directly on problem solving.
Our vision is to define and build a knowledge base on regional conflict and humanitarian response known for its research excellence – both theoretical and applied. Our research work is rooted in a commitment to addressing some of the most pressing regional challenges: armed conflict, humanitarian crises and sustainable development in an original, rigorous and independent way. By linking theory, policy and practice in, and through, our research, we seek to have catalytic and constructive impacts at local, national and international levels.
The mission of CHS is to create a scholarly hub of excellence that has the ability to generate world class knowledge in the field of conflict management and humanitarian response. It seeks to combine theory and practice as well as policy planning to assist in practical efforts including mediation and negotiation for the enablement and development of conflict-affected societies across the Arab world. It also seeks to disseminate best practices capable of informing and supporting policy and decision makers across and beyond the Middle East and North Africa. CHS puts special efforts to build local and regional capacities, and to create networks among individuals, governments, and institutions to promote the culture of fair peace.
Through advancing regionally-rooted knowledge in this critical field, CHS aims to optimize effective response to conflict and humanitarian needs based on the following principles:
1. Achieving justice is the foundation for successful conflict resolution and reconstruction processes
2. Challenges faced by the region must be contextualized historically and culturally towards critical and reflexive methodologies and policies
3. Local communities and their cultural determinants have a critical role and should be integrated through meaningful participation and decision-making
4. Greater collaboration between regional and international donors, recipient governments, affected communities, implementing agencies and academics
CHS is an interdisciplinary institute that cuts across the traditional academic categorization of Humanities, Social Sciences and Public Administration. Its scope includes, but is not limited to, the following strands:
Conflict analysis and conflict resolution methods: Understanding the causes and drivers of conflict in the region with the aim of advancing effective and culturally appropriate responses to conflict and the construction of sustainable peace at the local, national and regional levels. This involves advancing knowledge of local, community-level conflict resolution practices and approaches in Arab and Islamic societies.
Coping mechanisms and forms of resilience: Based on empirical quantitative and qualitative research across the region, the aim of this strand is to better understand the ways in which communities develop coping mechanisms to survive political violence and conflict and what can be done to increase their resilience.
Contemporary humanitarian responses: Based on empirical research across the region the aim is to examine the ethical, political and power structures that govern the relationship between crisis-affected communities and humanitarian aid providers. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the qualitative differences between the responses of international and regional actors.
Understanding conflict resolution and humanitarianism in Islam: The focus of this strand of research is on how humanitarianism has been defined and narrated in Islam and local Arab cultures, both historically and contemporarily. The work will aim to examine the mutual relationship between Islam and the global culture of humanitarianism.
Examining post-conflict reconstruction and development: This strand will investigate the socio-political and economic determinants of reconstruction in the aftermath of conflict (including issues of taxation, public management and labor mobility). Particular attention will be paid to ways in which the gap between humanitarian response and development can be bridged. Also important is to develop a better understanding of issues of justice and traditional forms of reconciliation.
Exploring state fragility and political transitions: The nature and definition of state fragility and governance challenges within the region will constitute the main focus of this research strand. The aim is to better understand in what ways state fragility drives conflict and feeds inequality in the region and what are the political-economic-security dimensions required to increase state effectiveness.
CHS follows an inter-disciplinary and integrative approach. Its activities are based on the expertise available to the Center's members and researchers, as well as selected academic and research staff at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, as well as selected regional and international experts.
Creating knowledge through basic and applied academic research and engagement. CHS conducts original, innovative and cross-disciplinary research, which intersects the traditional academic classification of human and social sciences, development studies and public administration.
Opening horizons for dialogue through organizing events, conferences and public lectures.
Building capacities through specialized workshops and providing training opportunities with our partners.
Providing consultancy services for decision makers as part of supporting efforts to create sustainable peace through dialogue and mediation.