What do we know about institutional engineering and its success in promoting peace and democracy in divided, conflict-prone societies? Political science–as Stephen Haggard, president of the APSA section on comparative democratization, has recently emphasized–is far from having a conclusive answer to that question. This is not only an academic challenge, however. Solid theoretical and empirical knowledge on this issue is in high demand all over the globe. Institutions in countries such as Afghanistan, Burundi, Nepal, and most recently in Libya, have been–or are still being–(re)designed in the context of post-war reconstruction processes.
Against the backdrop of these academic and practical challenges, the project "Institutions for Sustainable Peace" hosts its First Network Conference "Institutions for Sustainable Peace. From Research Gaps to New Frontiers," in Berlin from 6 to 7 September 2012. Leading experts in the field discuss and review the existing state of the art on the five components of peace-related institutions in divided societies: (1) (territorial) state structure; (2) electoral system; (3) government system; (4) judiciary; and (5) security sector. Particular emphasis is placed on the methodological challenges when dealing with quantitative and qualitative data regarding institutions, peace/conflict, and divided societies. The network members will furthermore deepen their cooperation by developing new research ideas, planning future conferences, discussing about publications, and organizing their academic exchanges.