Director of Strategic Partnerships
Senior Researcher at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP)
Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Programmes
Areas of expertise
  • Mediation and conflict resolution
  • Dynamics of violence and political transitions
  • City diplomacy
  • Business in fragile states
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Latin America
  • MENA region


Achim Wennmann is the Director for Strategic Partnerships of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. In this position, Achim has the overall responsibilities to lead on the development of strategic partnerships in support of the vision and mission of the Institute; to develop collaboration around emerging topics and initiatives at the research-policy interface; and to provide strategic advice relevant for the overall positioning and competitiveness of the Institute. These responsibilities aim to strengthen crosscutting exchange and community building between the Institute and different International organizations, NGOs, the private sector or diplomatic missions, all in view of promoting the Institute’s strategic positioning on global issues and in International Geneva and the world, especially ahead of the Institute’s centennial in 2027.

Achim is also Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) where he works on the political economy of violent conflict, peace processes and political transitions. He holds a long publication record on these issues for both academic and policy audiences. His academic work has been published in journals such as Third World Quarterly; Global Governance; Security Dialogue; the International Review of the Red Cross; Conflict, Security and Development; and the Journal of International Business Policy, and in edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press or Routledge. As a Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Programme, he teaches Peace Mediation in a Changing World and Business and Security in Fragile States. In the academic year 2022/2023 he also pilots a new course on Trade for Peace, in collaboration with Xinyu Yuan and the World Trade Organization.

In addition to his academic background, Achim has over 20 years of experience in strategic management of complex projects across research, policy, and practitioner communities. In these roles, Achim has consistently worked to enable critical thinking, facilitate partnerships and find solutions through dialogue. He is currently Executive Advisor for the Peace Dividend Initiative, a Member of the Advisory Board of the Geneva Water Hub, and a Member of the Board of the Schweizer Gesellschaft für Aussenpolitik (Swiss Society for Foreign Policy). Achim also provides mediation support advice for the European Union’s External Action Service (EU-EAS) on the economic dimensions of the conflict in Yemen, as well as for the OECD on economic resilience in Yemen. Achim is also an Associate Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.
Between 2010 and 2020, Achim was the Executive Coordinator of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, a knowledge hub that connects the critical mass of peacebuilding actors, resources, and expertise in Geneva and worldwide, in the capacity of which he co-founded Geneva Peace Week and the Peace Talks Initiative. He also facilitated several multi-stakeholder processes, including the White Paper on Peacebuilding, and on business and conflict in fragile states, urban safety and peacebuilding, or trade for peace.

Having worked with many peacemakers and community activists over the last decade, Achim believes in the merits of dialogue and negotiation for preventing and resolving conflicts, even in the most difficult contexts and with the most difficult actors. Achim also believes in the power of collaboration and partnership across institutions and sectors because no actor – however powerful – has all the relationships, access, or instruments necessary to deal with the coming era of deep social transformation and intense turbulence. This is why the question of how we are embracing change as institution, community and individual is at the heart of Achim’s motivation for teaching, research and partnership building at the Institute.

Achim Wennmann holds a Doctorate in International Relations from the Graduate Institute, where he also obtained a Diplôme d’Études Supérieures (DES). He also studied at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations with Development Studies. Achim holds dual Swiss and German nationalities and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.


Expertise Details

  • Adaptation of peace mediation, conflict prevention and peacebuilding practice to changing global, regional and local orders.

  • Opportunities and constraints of post-conflict economic development in the nexus of state sovereignty and hybrid political orders.

  • Transnational diplomacy of cities and corporations and universities, with a focus on violence reduction and risk mitigation.

  • The political economy of violent conflict, peace processes and political transitions.


Selected publications



  • Illicit Economies and Urban Peace, Special Issue of the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, Vol.2, No. 2 (2021)(edited with John Collins and Tuesday Reitano).

  • Urban Safety and Peacebuilding: New Perspectives on Sustaining Peace in the City. London: Routledge (2019, edited with Oliver Jütersonke).

  • Business and Conflict in Fragile States: The Case for Pragmatic Solutions. London: Routledge for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (2016, with Brian Ganson).

  • Legitimacy and Peace Processes: From Coercion to Consent. London: Conciliation Resources (2014, edited with Alexander Ramsbotham).

  • The Political Economy of Peacemaking. London: Routledge (2011). 

  • Ending Wars, Consolidating Peace: Economic Dimensions. London: Routledge for the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (2010, edited with Mats Berdal). 

  • The Global Burden of Armed Violence. Geneva: Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development (2008, edited with Keith Krause and Robert Muggah). 

Selected journal publications

  • Illicit Economies Through the Lens of Urban Peace: Towards a New Policy Agenda, Journal of Illicit Economies and Development Vol.2, No.2 (2021), pp.256-266.

  • Political Economy, International Law and Peace Agreements. In Marc Weller, Mark Retter, and Andrea Varga (eds) International Law and Peacemaking (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), pp.449-473 (with Andrew Ladley).

  • Daring the Unconventional on the Pathways for Peace: On the “How” of Sustaining Peace in the City. In Achim Wennmann and Oliver Jütersonke (eds) Urban Safety and Peacebuildling: New Perspectives on Sustaining Peace in the City (London: Routledge, 2019), 178-194.

  • Reconstructing Syria, Reinventing Peacebuilding? In Luigi Narbone (ed) Fractured Stability: War Economies and Reconstruction in the MENA (Florence: European Union Institute, 2019), 24-33.

  • The Political Economy of Conflict within States. Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of International Studies. Oxford University Press, February 2019.

  • Business Environment Reforms in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: From a Transactions
    towards a Systems Approach. Journal of International Business Policy (2019), 217-236 (with John
    Luiz and Brian Ganson).

  • Business Engagement in Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding: The Case of Kenya. Conflict, Security and Development Vol. 17, No. 6 (2017), 451–472 (with Jonathan Austin).

  • Negotiated Exits from Organized Crime? Building Peace in Conflict and Crime-affected Contexts. Negotiation Journal Vol.30, No.3 (2014), 255-273.

  • The Role of Business in Armed Violence Reduction and Prevention. International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 95, No.886 (2012), p.919-940.

  • Economic Dimensions of Armed Groups: Profiling the Financing, Costs, and Agendas and Their Implications for Mediated Engagements. International Review of the Red Cross, Vol.94, No.882 (2011), 333-352. 

  • Breaking the Conflict Trap? Addressing the Resource Curse in Peace Processes. Global Governance Vol. 17, No.2 (2011), 265-280.

  • Getting Armed Groups to the Table: Peace Processes, the Political Economy of Conflict and the Mediated State. Third World Quarterly Vol. 30, No. 6 (2009), 1123-1138.

  • Grasping the Financing and Mobilisation Cost of Armed Groups: A New Perspective on Conflict Dynamics. Contemporary Security Policy Vol. 30, No. 2 (2009), 265-280. 

  • The Political Economy of Conflict Financing: A Comprehensive Approach Beyond Natural Resources. Global Governance Vol. 13, No. 3 (2007), 427-444.

  • Resourcing the Recurrence of Intra-state Conflict: Parallel Economies and Their Implications for Peacebuilding. Security Dialogue Vol. 36. No. 4 (2005), 479-494.

Policy briefs, blogs, press (selected)

  • Urban diplomacy key to preventing conflict in cities, Blog of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 9 September 2019.

  • A Peacebuilding Perspective on Post-conflict Reconstruction in Syria, Blog of the Conflict Research Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science, 14 February 2019.

  • Crossing the New Frontier: Peace Mediation in the City. Oslo Forum Paper (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2018).

  • Diplomatie des Friedens, Gastkommentar, Neuer Züricher Zeitung, 13 January 2017.

  • Crime and Conflict, GSDRC Professional Development Reading Pack No. 12 (2015).

  • Le secteur privé peut-il aider les États fragiles? Le Temps, 9 December 2014.

Achim Wennmann
Achim Wennmann