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Spoken languages
English, German
Areas of expertise
  • Peacekeeping, peacebuilding, reconstruction policy
  • Peace mediation, conflict prevention and armed violence reduction strategies
  • Development
  • Civil society
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Western and Central Europe


Thania Paffenholz is Research Associate at the Graduate Institute's Centre on Conflict, Peacebuilding and Development, and Director of the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative. She is a political scientist by training and received her Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Frankfurt, Germany  (1996) focusing on the theory and practice of mediation and peacebuilding in armed conflicts. Thania Paffenholz is an internationally recognised expert in support of peace processes with 25 years of work experiences both as an academic and a policy advisor. She has supported peace processes in many countries in Africa and Asia. She received the Wihuri International Prize in 2015 for her work as a peace researcher.

She previously held positions such as Director of the Center for Peacebuilding (KOFF) at swisspeace in Berne, Switzerland (until 2003); served as peacebuilding officer at the European Commission in Kenya working on the peace process in Somalia (1996-2000). From 1992 to 1996 she was research fellow at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Paffenholz has participated in different UN missions in Africa. She advises the UN, the EU, the OCED/DAC as well as governments and non-governmental organisations. She is member of international boards of journals and research associations. Her publications are widely used by scholars and practitioners alike and are also found as standard reading material for BA, MA and PHD classes.

Selected Publications