At a book launching event, hosted by UN University Library on 23 October 2015, Dr. Daisaku Higashi, Associate Professor in the University of Tokyo, presented his analysis of the challenges faced in establishing legitimate governments in post-conflict states and examined the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and East Timor.
Presenting his recently published book, “Challenges of Constructing Legitimacy in Peacebuilding: Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and East Timor (Routledge 2015)”, Professor Higashi pointed out that few international relations theorists or practitioners had conducted a full examination of concrete policies and implementation strategies that new leadership needs to adopt in order to construct legitimacy in “host states”. He explained that the objective of his book is to develop understanding the mechanisms at play in the construction – or erosion – of the legitimacy of newly created governments in post-conflict peacebuilding environments.
In his book, Higashi argues that although existing literature contends that compliance with key political programs and constructing legitimacy in peacebuilding largely depends on the levels of coercive force and resource distribution, there are other significant elements to consider. By providing a detailed analysis of the challenges involved in creating a legitimate government in Afghanistan, Higashi contended that inclusive governments reconcile with old enemies and international organizations as credible third parties helping to establish fairness and impartiality within the political process would play a critical role in building legitimate governments.
The launching of Professor Higashi was organized as the 12th UNU Library Talk by Chief Librarian Mayako Matsuki of the UN University and initially remarked by Jun Shimmi, Director-General for Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Sukehiro Hasegawa, former Special Representative of Secretary-General in East Timor made comments following Higashi’s presentation. More than 100 audiences, including Professor Akiko Yuge of Hosei University and their students, UNU researchers as well as international students of the University of Tokyo participated in the event and engaged in discussion with Dr. Higashi.
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