Our Peace, Equality and Social Justice (PESJ) theme brings together researchers from across De Montfort University (DMU) and provides a framework not only for making our research more externally visible but for establishing and consolidating fruitful relationships with external partners, both national and international, with a view to developing innovative collaborations. PESJ is one of five research themes, part of the university’s institutional fabric and key to the development of a new research strategy.
PESJ has been broadly defined to incorporate a wide range of subject areas. Some clearly defined sub-themes have also been created that give greater clarity, allowing researchers to identify specific areas that their own research might align with. This will help to create vital synergies between researchers across faculties, research centres and institutes but also when building external networks and stakeholders. In addition, PESJ aligns neatly with UN SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), for which DMU is a United Nations Global Educational Hub, and which is a demonstrable USP for the university. Many of the core objectives within SDG16 are consistent with the PESJ theme and related sub-themes, and it is envisaged that there will be close collaboration between the university’s SDG16 team and our PESJ research.
The PESJ theme incorporates many of the fundamental challenges societies face, locally, nationally and internationally. These challenges are myriad but range from the mitigation of conflict, dealing with the residue of conflict (including refugee flows resulting from armed conflict and/or state collapse), the social impact of environmental degradation, to issues such as equal access to justice, greater democratic participation, social cohesion, and tackling gender and racial inequalities.
We should, as researchers, be fully engaged with existing and emerging problems and be seeking to provide solutions or to better understand the complexities of these problems. As a global university, and one with a global outlook, with an international staff and student base, with established national and international partnerships and with strong potential for developing exciting future research projects, we are well positioned to address these challenges. The PESJ sub-themes are listed below and are illustrative, not exhaustive. They are constantly evolving to respond flexibly to the aforementioned problems and challenges:
- Trust, social cohesion and stable communities
- Peacebuilding, reducing violence, conflict mitigation and building sustainable societies
- Tackling gender and racial inequalities
- Promoting freedom of the media and a strong civil society
- Protecting children, women and refugees from exploitation
- The rule of law, justice and equal access to justice
- Equal access to education, opportunities, and democratic participation
- Combating national and transnational organised crime, financial crime, and corruption
- Developing and consolidating strong, accountable and transparent institutions and democratic and inclusive political systems.
- Inclusive growth and promoting health equality in the post-pandemic world