Peaceful Transitions Program

Michael Lund is a political scientist with 18 years of experience in both assessing the causes of intra-state conflicts and state fragility, and in evaluating the effectiveness of actual diplomacy, military, development, governance, and other program interventions (local and national-level) that were intended to stabilize these contexts. Recognized as a leading specialist especially with regard to what is effective in preventing intra-state conflicts before they break out, he also has extensive and multi-regional experience in assessing post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization programs and multi-program strategies. This research has entailed desk studies and field-level research in the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Central Asia, the Balkans, the Caucasus, East Asia, and South America. Lund is author of Preventing Violent Conflicts (United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996); editor and contributor to 5 books on conflict, security, and governance; and author of numerous book chapters and research papers on early warning, conflict prevention, conflict management and resolution, post-conflict peacebuilding, political and economic development, and comparative public policy.

Regarding conflict assessments, Lund has conducted or supervised field-level studies in Burundi, Georgia, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, and other countries for USAID and the UN Development Program. Regarding evaluations of preventive or post-conflict security and development interventions in conflict-prone or politically unstable countries, Lund pioneered the formulation of systematic methodologies to evaluate programs and policies through a conflict lens (“peace and conflict impact assessments”). He has applied these tools in conducting contracted and independent evaluations of a wide range of diplomatic, military, and development policies in reducing active or potential violent conflicts, such as: a) multi-program assessments in southern Sudan (2010), Mindanoa/Philippines (2008), Guyana (2007), Macedonia (2006), Burundi (2005); and b) varied program-specific evaluations in Georgia, Kenya, Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Slovakia, Somaliland, Sudan, and Uganda (e.g., of IGAD’s early warning system in the Horn of Africa).

For the U.S. Political Instability Task Force, Lund produced a review of the research literature on what has been effective in preventing genocides (2008), and the antecedents of adverse regime changes (with Jack Goldstone, 2007).

This evaluative research includes a book that compares the attainment of both security and development in Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Somalia, Namibia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan and tests various explanations of their differences (Security and Development: Searching for Critical Conjunctures [Lynne Rienner, 2010], for which he designed the comparative analytical framework and was co-editor and co-author of the analytical chapters). Another comparative book, Talking through Transitions: Engaging Leaders for Peacebuilding (Michael Lund and Howard Wolpe, eds., Woodrow Wilson Press, forthcoming in 2011) evaluates the results of “track-two” diplomacy initiatives in Burundi, Cyprus, Estonia, Guyana, Sri Lanka, and Tajikistan and pinpoints the conditions that led to their relative success or failure. In 2010, he wrote Engaging Fragile States: An International Policy Primer, based on a day-long specialists’ colloquium he organized at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which also published his field evaluation, Engaging Leaders for Statebuilding: The Case of the DR Congo.

Applying research to practice, Lund wrote the first practitioners’ manuals on conflict and prevention for USAID, the EU and the UN, respectively. Lund’s research and presentations have been commissioned by USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the US National Intelligence Council, the C.I.A’s Political Instability Task Force and Global Issues Forum, World Bank, United Nations (UNDP and the Interagency Framework Team convened by DPA), European Union (European Commission), OSCE, OECD-DAC, IGAD, U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Carnegie Commission for Preventing Deadly Conflicts, Collaborative for Development Action, European Center for Conflict Prevention, Carter Center, International Peace Academy/Institute, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (Canada), Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Stockholm), Conflict Prevention Network (Berlin), German Development Institute (Bonn), Netherlands Institute for International Relations (Clingendael, the Hague), the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, Forum for Early Warning and Early Response (London), European Center for Conflict Prevention (Utrecht), International Development Research Centre (Ottawa), and other organizations. Lund reviews draft book and article manuscripts for USIP, PRIO, and various journals. He has spoken at numerous conferences on conflict in Europe, Asia and North America. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia.

Earlier, at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) from 1987-1995, Lund was the founding director of the Jennings Randolph Fellows Program, and established the Preventive Diplomacy Initiative, the first project world-wide to focus exclusively on conflict prevention. While Research Associate at the Governance and Public Management Program of the Urban Institute, Lund co-authored Beyond Privatization: The Tools of Government Action (Urban Institute, 1989), and co-edited The Reagan Presidency and the Governing of America (Urban Institute, 1985). Prior to that, following Peace Corps service in Ethiopia and while teaching at Cornell, UCLA, and the University of Maryland, Lund did research on other political, governmental, public administration, and public policy subjects, both in the U.S. and comparatively.


Ph.D., M.A., Political Science, University of Chicago, 1980. Specializing in comparative political development, comparative public policy, and African politics.

B.D., Yale University Divinity School, 1967. Including courses in Yale Political Science Department on the U.S. Congress and African politics.

B.A., Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, 1962. Philosophy major, political science and English minors.