Leadership from a Civil Society Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Nation states and global leaders are central to understanding conflict transformation, yet civil society organizations (CSOs) and opposition actors are vital for tackling root causes of conflict and for leadership on the ground. The local turn in peacebuilding theories challenges our assumptions, including about the role of often unaccountable international actors. How then can local civil society organizations bridge divided populations, campaign for truth about past crimes and negotiate with the state to allow new actors to enter political life? This chapter discusses different African settings, with cases from Algeria, Kenya and South Africa. It explores contexts where CSOs played significant roles, with humility and authentic leadership, providing the moral imagination necessary to bring healing, restoration and peace. It is within civil society where imagination led leadership can mobilize new constituencies to promote new values, shifts in moral vision and new ways of dealing with conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge handbook of Conflict Response and Leadership in Africa
EditorsAlpaslan Özerdem, Sinem Akgül-Açıkmeşe, Ian Liebenberg
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780429318603
ISBN (Print)9780367332228
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021


  • civil society
  • transformative leadership, conflict, peacebuilding,
  • conflict
  • peacebuilding
  • moral imagination


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