Dr. David Connolly

Head of Research

Dr. David Connolly became Head of Research in September 2016 and was Head of the Conflict Prevention Program from January 2014 to August 2016. A specialist in local governance, he has extensive experience working with the United Nations and other entities on education, urban security, and political reform in preventing violence and reconstruction after conflict. He has worked extensively in Africa, the Middle East and Central and South East Asia.

Dr. David Connolly currently manages a portfolio of more than 10 policy-relevant research projects on key areas of conflict prevention that include education and employment, cities, water, climate change, and the norms of international intervention. At The Hague Institute, he has acquired substantial external funding from the Netherlands Research Council, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and Cordaid, among others.

David specializes in the ‘institutions and processes of local governance’ in war-torn contexts, in particular the role of communities in conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery. Since 2009, he has extended this interest to the field of ‘education and peace building’ by focusing on schools as spaces for safety and stability, reconstruction, and broader institutional reform both during and after violent conflict. He has completed three major research projects for UNICEF, including the program review of the Netherlands-funded ‘Education in Emergencies and Post-conflict Transitions Program’, the global monitoring and evaluation strategy for the ongoing ‘Peace Building Education and Advocacy Program’, and the first comprehensive conflict and education analysis of Somalia. He is currently leading two research projects in DR Congo, which examine the integration of peace within school curricula and the use of results-based financing in schools.

David has conducted and led research in Afghanistan, DR Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Yemen. Through this work he has helped design policies and programs for the World Bank, the government of Afghanistan, UNDP, UNICEF, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, CARE International, Oxfam, Save the Children and Mercy Corps, among others. He has published for academic audiences in journals such as Comparative Education and Civil Wars, and for policymakers in Parliamentary Brief and openSecurity. In 2015, David became a Research Associate at the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam.

Teaching and training are an important part of David’s work. He has designed and led more than 30 capacity building workshops and professional development courses for UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Ministry of Defence, and Institute for International Political Studies. He is a former lecturer at the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit, University of York (2005 – 2013) where he was the Director and co-founder of the MSc program in International Humanitarian Affairs, and Deputy Director of the Education in Conflict and Emergencies research program. Since 2008 he has been an annual visiting lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, and a guest lecturer at universities in Amsterdam, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Budapest, London and Milan.

Language SPoken

  • English

Area of Focus/Interest

Education, Fragile States

Current Projects

Completed: Employment for Stability

The project seeks to analyze the interrelated economic outcomes and opportunities in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Liberia and how aid interventions may improve both development…


Past Initiative: Education and Peace

In partnership with UNICEF, The Hague Institute is designing learning materials to improve education in four eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo:…


Recent Work

Collaborative Urban Governance

Several cities worldwide, including Cape Town, Baltimore and Milan, are electing their mayor in 2016. The elections are not only important for residents but…


Education as Freedom

The following commentary is adapted from an editorial in the May edition of the Education Brief – a monthly update on The Hague Institute’s…