Christie Warren named senior U.N. mediation expert| January 13, 2010
William & Mary Law School Professor Christie S. Warren has been appointed Senior Mediation Expert in Constitutional Issues for the United Nations for a twelve month term. Warren is Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law and the founding Director of the Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Justice, a program designed to bridge the gap between resources available at academic institutions and the need for them in the field.
"I consider this work to be very important in supporting conflict resolution and post-conflict development," Warren says. "It's one of the ways that members of the international legal community can contribute to peace-building efforts around the world. I am honored to be chosen for this assignment."
Under the auspices of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and the Norwegian Refugee Council, Warren will assist and support mediation efforts of the UN and its partners in conflict and peacekeeping zones. As Senior Mediation Expert, her assignment will including providing technical expertise, mediation and advice on constitution-making and transitional institutional arrangements; providing expertise for the design, planning and management of negotiation frameworks, including promoting the inclusion of women; and drafting sections of peace agreements as needed.
"The United Nations and the Norwegian Refugee Council both strongly believe -- as do I -- in locally-led solutions for local problems," says Warren. "The role of international experts and mediators can be very useful in certain specific situations, but development and conflict-resolution work primarily belongs to the people in the country in which the needs arise. My job includes facilitating discussions, providing useful comparative resources, and assisting in building bridges among communities and between the past and future."
Warren expects that she may be sent to countries where drafters are unable to resolve disputes or where assistance is needed during drafting processes. Potential assignments may include countries in which constitution-building exercises are already underway, or those in which preliminary constitutional discussions are just beginning. "My duties will very much depend on world events and global developments over the next twelve months," she says. When she is not overseas, Warren will assist in building a base of knowledge about constitutional processes and mechanisms by writing articles and reports for the United Nations.
Warren is uniquely qualified for this appointment. She served as an advisor to the Constitutional Commission of Kosovo during its 2007-08 constitution drafting process and has participated in several global constitution-making seminars and conferences on issues such as the role of religion and women, citizenship and political rights, human rights, and public participation during constitutional processes.
Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas says that Warren is a terrific choice for the job. "Christie's dedication to post-conflict justice and her unwavering commitment to inclusiveness in constitution drafting make her an exceptional candidate for this position. This honor reflects her high standing in the international community and is a proud reflection on our school."
Warren notes she is looking forward to the challenges of her new undertaking. "I feel privileged to be able to participate in the important work done by the United Nations Mediation Support Unit," she says. "This is an opportunity to contribute to peace and assist in resolving conflict by making good use of lessons learned in the field as well as theory taught in the classroom."