Co-Director, Peacebuilding, Development and Security Program

Lara is a researcher on aid-conflict interactions with 15 years experience working with operational relief, development and peacebuilding NGOs in the field and with research and training on peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity. Her goals are bring together academic research and insights from field practice to improve the effectiveness of international assistance in countries affected by conflict. In 2007, together with co-director Dr. Hrach Gregorian, Lara initiated the PDSP program 3which involves practitioner-oriented research, graduate teaching, professional trainings and a multi-year research project on coordination in peacebuilding. At the University of Calgary, Lara teaches graduate level courses and advises students on human security, peacebuilding, development, and NGOs.

For most of the 1990s, Lara worked with international research projects based in Cambridge, Massachusetts examining aid-conflict interactions and effective conflict management. She directed the first three years of the ongoing Reflecting on Peace Practice project, and led research projects with the Consensus Building Institute, the Conflict Management Group and the Harvard Project on Negotiation on sources of and responses to ethnic conflict. Fluent in Russian, she worked in Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia as a journalist and with relief and conflict management projects. Lara obtained a Masters degree in International Politics from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. (Honours) in Political Science from the University of British Colombia. She has three children and lives in Calgary.