Previous Next

Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing peace in Bougainville


Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellowships at The Australian National University supported John Braithwaite and Hilary Charlesworth to plan and read for the Peacebuilding Compared project. ARC Discovery grants then funded its execution. Our thanks are due to Kate Macfarlane who has done a splendid job in taking over from Leah Dunn as manager of the Peacebuilding Compared project. Kate’s careful research and data-management contributions were vital to getting the job finished, as were those of Celeste Ecuyer, Charlie Beauchamp-Wood, Scott Rutar, Karina Pelling and Nick Kitchin.

Leah Dunn is a co-author of this book, though she also must be thanked for serving generously in the same capacity as Kate Macfarlane for many years. She participated in two fieldwork trips to Bougainville in which, among other things, she organised a Peacebuilding Conference on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2007. The conference was attended throughout two days plus preparatory meetings by the then President, Joseph Kabui, and his successor, President James Tanis, and also by the then Papua New Guinea Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter. These leaders have been iterative contributors to this research and to the peace in Bougainville. The conference was also graced by the participation of senior Me’ekamui participants who agreed to a most constructive communiqué drafted consultatively by President Tanis. Leah’s video of the entire proceedings of the conference can be viewed online at <>.

Thanks to our ANU E Press series editor, Margaret Thornton, managers Lorena Kanellopoulos and Duncan Beard, and copy editor, Jan Borrie. Their wonderful publishing model means this book is available free on the Internet and also at a modest price as a handsome hardcopy. This is a special virtue for research of which the important readers are in developing countries. We are also grateful to the helpful suggestions made by the anonymous referees.

Our Advisory Panel members were invaluable in assisting with contacts to interview, publications to read and providing sophisticated commentary on drafts as well as other forms of advice. Many were extraordinarily generous with their time. Of course, they bear no responsibility for the interpretive and factual errors that remain in the final text.

Fieldwork for the book was conducted by John Braithwaite with Peter Reddy in 2006, building on earlier fieldwork on Peter’s PhD on Bougainville (not included in the summary of the types of interviews listed in the Appendix; Reddy 2006) and by John Braithwaite with Leah Dunn and Hilary Charlesworth in two subsequent trips to Bougainville and Port Moresby in 2007. Peacekeepers and other international players were also interviewed in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu between 2005 and 2010.

Our deepest thanks are to many Bougainvilleans and other Papua New Guineans on all sides of the conflict who generously gave their time and shared their insights, often on multiple occasions, in anonymous interviews. We thank the entire present and former staff of the Peace Foundation Melanesia, all of whom were particularly helpful in assisting us to meet key players, but special thanks to Clarence Dency and John Latu. Thanks also to the PNG Government, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the Buka Open Campus of the University of Papua New Guinea (particularly Albert Nukuitu) and to the National Research Institute (particularly Jim Robins).

We benefited from participation in the wonderful Melanesian research community in Australia and at The Australian National University. Particular thanks to two of John Braithwaite’s PhD students who worked on Bougainville theses, Kylie McKenna and Peter Reddy. We enjoyed many stimulating conversations with both of them. Peter is a co-author of this book because he participated in the first wave of data collection for a month in Bougainville, whereas Kylie was at an earlier stage of her work when the writing was substantially complete. We are grateful to Kylie for insights from her 2010 fieldwork in Bougainville, which was completed just before this book went to press.

Among our many generous colleagues, we single out Anthony Regan as a mentor to us throughout this research process. We were fortunate that all three of our major fieldwork trips overlapped with periods when Anthony was in Bougainville. Many were the evenings after our fieldwork when Anthony was able to correct what we thought were great insights acquired in the course of the day. He was also a gracious and wise colleague back in Canberra and an admirable contributor to the peace in Bougainville. Anthony’s own most up-to-date contribution, Light Intervention: Lessons from Bougainville, will be published soon by the US Institute of Peace Press. We recommend it as the single most informative source on the past, present and future of the Bougainville peace process.

John Braithwaite and Hilary Charlesworth

The Australian National University

June 2010

Previous Next