By Sarah Filippi-Field and Eva Serrano León
With work experience on both the political side at the UN Department for Political Affairs and the economic side at the World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Unit, Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau is no stranger to breaking silos. In her Brandt School Guest Talk on December 8, 2020, as part of the “Global Security Studies” course led by Patrick A. Mello, she showcased the importance of humanitarian, development, and peace actors identifying the objectives they have in common and working together towards collective outcomes. This greatly affects the success of the Triple Nexus’ strategies. Conflict is multifaceted and cannot just be understood through a political or a military lens, but through an economic one as well. Each actor has its own competitive advantage in certain areas, and therefore partnerships across professional sectors are key to sustaining peace. This requires trust-building and a collaborative environment.
Using personal examples from Yemen, Jerusalem, and Myanmar, von Kaltenborn-Stachau highlighted how collaboration can be of value in real-world conflict situations. For instance, in the Middle East Peace Process, the World Bank is using its comparative advantage (providing financial assistance) in collaboration with the United Nations and their respective advantage (leading the political effort) in an attempt to improve economic conditions and build sustainable peace. This cooperative approach also presents unique challenges, such as communication. Different professional fields speak different ‘languages’, including vernacular used, work styles, academic background, and so forth. Those with a technical background can benefit and learn from the practical knowledge of the practitioners in the field. This is where experts such as Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau come in, acting as a translator between the different sectors. With the increasing complexity of conflict situations around the world, this guest talk provided a unique practitioner’s perspective that was valuable to all Brandt School students hoping to work in the area of peacebuilding.