Programme Officer: Peacebuilding Unit
In February 2013, Lesley Connolly joined the Peacebuilding Unit as the Program Officer. In this role she is responsible for policy and research initiatives of the Unit. Her major focus is the ACCORD Peacebuilding Handbook, which will be the Unit's flagship publication and be used as a key training material by ACCORD and other organisations in peacebuilding activities.
Before joining the Peacebuilding Unit, Lesley was as a Junior Research Fellow in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD. She joined ACCORD in this position in June 2012 and held it until she moved to the Peacebuilding Unit. As a Junior Research Fellow, she was responsible for conducting research on matters of peace and conflict on the African continent. Her focus area was Southern Africa and she provided weekly analysis of key issues in peace and security in this region. During her time in this role, she wrote an Occasional Paper focusing on Sierra Leone's peacebuilding process and a Policy and Practice Brief focusing on Madagascar's mediation process.
Lesley holds an MPhil in Social Justice from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Lesley's Masters Thesis focused on the transition to democracy in Sierra Leone. She also holds a B.Soc.Sci in Political Science, Sociology and History and a B.Soc.Sci Honours in Transitional Justice both from the University of Cape Town.
As part of her Masters degree Lesley spent six months studying human rights issues in Africa and the Middle East in Paris at Science Po: The Paris School of International Affairs in France. Prior to joining ACCORD, she completed an internship at Amnesty International in Washington DC where she provided support and research on issues of human rights abuses, focusing mainly on Africa. Lesley's areas of interest include transitional justice, peacebuilding, post-conflict development and gender issues in both Sub-Saharan and West Africa.