This site highlights my current academic research, various projects with which I am involved, as well as my teaching philosophy and teaching and learning experience.
My name is Samantha Twietmeyer and I am a scholar, teacher, and practitioner of peace and conflict resolution.
I am currently a PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow at Queen’s University in Comparative Politics and International Relations. My thesis critically analyzes the impact of third-parties upon elite perceptions in settlement negotiations in Northern Ireland and Cyprus through the lens of the Double-Minority Dilemma. This project is part of my wider ongoing interest in conflict management and negotiations in diverse and divided societies.
After working professionally in provincial politics, and completing various training courses in international conflict management and peacebuilding, I returned to academia to pursue my PhD. I hope to use my expertise in educating and training future academics, community leaders, and peace-builders. I have expanded my training and expertise in teaching and learning in higher education through formal and informal learning. Particularly, I have undertaken training in Educational Development, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Universal Design for Learning, and Indigenous Ways of Knowing.
I am currently employed as an Educational Development Associate with the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Queen's University (Queen's CTL).
I am also currently a junior scholar member of the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity. In 2017, I was a visiting researcher at the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict, Queen’s University, Belfast.
conflict management + resolution
peace settlement processes
negotiation and leadership
diverse and divided societies
ethics of intervention
peacebuilding and global justice
nationalism and federalism
Northern Ireland ⋅ Cyprus ⋅ Afghanistan ⋅ Iraq ⋅ Canada
United Nations ⋅ EU
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The Double Minority Dilemma.Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
My thesis project investigates the impact of third-parties upon the negotiation structure in each case. I develop and apply the theory of the Double Minority Dilemma to examine this impact.
The project finds that the impact of third-parties in Northern Ireland and Cyprus significantly altered, and continues to alter, the capacity of negotiations to reach a successful agreement by impacting elites' perceptions about their minority status and therefore the concessions which they seek to receive in any agreeement.
These findings contribute to a better understanding of complex politics in both regions today, with the tensions around the customs Protocol in Northern Ireland and concerns about the hardening of the Green Line as a result of COVID-19 in Cyprus.
Complex Diversity in Divided Cities
The Divided Cities project investigates how migrant minorities assert political agency, if at all, in historically divided cities, and if so, to what effect, and is this different than in cities which are not historically contested?
I am currently the project coordinator and the lead investigator for the city of Belfast. I am also the developer for the project website (forthcoming).
SSHRC Funded: Dr. Zsuzsa Csergo, Queen’s University and Dr. Keith Banting, Queen’s University.
Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation
The Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation Workshop was held at Queen’s University in September, 2019. The two-day workshop featured a mix of indigenous and non-indigenous academics and produced a rich discussion through six panels which were then arranged into a six-episode podcast.
SSHRC Funded: Dr. Margaret Moore, Queen’s University and Dr. Kerstin Reibold, University of Tromso
Environmental Vulnerability in Peace Agreements
This project seeks to examine the inclusion of environmental vulnerability mitigating policy in peace settlement agreements. Stemming from emerging research on the nexus of conflict and climate change, the project is working on a two tier study:
- A quantitative study of the inclusion of mitigating policy in peace agreements using the PA-X Peace Agreements Database.
- A qualitative study of the parameters that inform this inclusion and the role of third-parties and marginalized groups in promoting, supporting, or preventing this inclusion.
I believe in the value of
Inspiring students to action beyond their institutional learning, which involves not only encouraging development of inquiring minds but also inspiring in students the drive to apply what they learn to the pursuit of a better community and a better world.
I strive to emphasize three core values in my teaching and learning:
I approach the question of accessibility from several perspectives, including accessible and universal design for learning strategies, student-centered learning tools, and Indigenous ways of knowing. My goal as an educator is not only to ensure that students receive and understand the course content but also that they are comfortable interpreting that content across a variety of communication and learning pedagogies. If I request a variety of modes of evaluation, including written work and oral presentation, in order to provide students an opportunity to succeed in their individual strengths, then I should use the same logic in my own presentation of course content. This not only means that the course content should be provided across different mediums, including oral lectures, slides, readings, and activities, but also that the course content sources should be diverse in approach and understanding. As such, my syllabi incorporate a wide variety of literature from different intersectional voices and perspectives, as well as representing a balance between academic rigour and publicly accessible reporting.
In applying this concern around accessibility, student-centered, and decolonized pedagogies, I have found co-creation of syllabus elements to be highly productive. Engaging students in designing their own learning and evaluation processes helps to build a community of teaching and learning within the classroom and provide students a stake in their own, and each other’s, learning. Additionally, I endeavour to utilise active and participatory learning strategies which engage students in practical application of their course learning to the real world and local community in order to ground their education in place and history.
“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” -Audre Lorde
In the pursuit of critical engagement and reflection on course subject matter, I take a strong position in the interests of ‘unsettling’ my classroom. The pedagogy of unsettling, as presented in great detail by Anne Wagner, requires that we seek to unsettle what is ‘known,’ and the act of doing so may make students feel discomforted and, indeed, unsettled. Importantly, this engagement requires the application of conflict resolution skills to the course discussions in order to encourage rich, critical, and honest engagement, challenging students to confront their own assumptions, while maintaining a positive space for student learning. This requires a constant balance of both critical engagement and honest reflection, both upon the subject matter and upon the course itself.
I will reference two courses to illustrate this applied critical learning. In my Global Justice course I demand a high level of unsettled discussion. My students are tasked with utilising their knowledge in an applied fashion by presenting a major ethical debate each week and guiding class discussion. In doing so, each student has the opportunity to be both the student and the teacher throughout the course, the latter of which presents them with the unique challenge of monitoring unsettled and critical discussion. In my Political Negotiations course, we specifically engage with the tension between colonial and indigenous approaches to Negotiation theory and strategy and apply this learning to real cases in Canadian politics to understand these dynamics in a historical and contemporary context.
Critical engagement and reflection is not just a task for my students, I too must be engaged in constant critical reflection upon the course content. I work toward an open dialogue with my students about the methodology of my teaching, encouraging them to challenge my course structure where it needs to be challenged so that we can begin to break down the dominant perspectives which traditionally frame research in conflict resolution and political studies.
 Wagner, A (2005) “Unsettling the Academy: Working through the challenges of anti-racist pedagogy” Race, Ethnicity and Education 8(3): 261-275. [DOI Link]
I bring a multi-disciplinary approach to my politics courses which engages students in broader thinking about power, place, and society. This encourages my students to think more broadly about how the subjects they learn within my course apply to their other academic courses and beyond academe. I draw upon my practitioner training to introduce active and participatory learning strategies including hands-on community activities and simulation experiences in order to demonstrate dilemmas in the application of theory to praxis. Often in the study of conflict resolution, the theoretical hurdles are not as clear without direct experiential engagement. As such, much of my course design is oriented to building applicable skill sets beyond academia to engage students more directly with their communities and the world.
One effective way in which I directly bring conflict resolution skills and behaviour into a course is through dedicated negotiation training. The students engage in several interactive activities which teach them skills in active listening and speaking in negotiation and conflict resolution. One of their tasks, for example, is a psychological questionnaire which begins the student’s individual understanding of the self as a negotiator, highlighting unique skills and approaches to conflict resolution. The students generally enjoy the training, but more importantly, I observe notable efforts to use the skills that they learn in negotiation training throughout their simulated activity to diffuse tense arguments and find creative bargaining solutions.
A student’s most valuable learning is that which they take with them beyond the classroom and give back to society. When we structure our courses to pursue life-long learning we immediately increase student engagement. Student engagement requires clarity of delivery of knowledge in an accessible manner, which often means a combination of a variety of approaches and methods is required. In turn, students are most engaged not only when they understand the knowledge being imparted, but also when they can see its wider application and importance to their own lives, their family, and society. This relationship may be achieved through connections to other courses or through the direct application of theoretical knowledge to policy and praxis. Moreover, a student’s inspiration to take their classroom experience into the world requires the challenges of critical reflection and unsettling their known opinions. It is through this self-reflection that we all, instructors and students, continue to engage in life-long learning.
Ethnicity and Democracy
Investigation of the interaction of diversity and development processes, and national policy outcomes, from a comparative global perspective.
Comparative contexts are used to explore the relationship between ethnicity/diversity upon a variety of processes including social goods distribution, democratization, urban development, policy-making, social movements, etc.
Reflexive Learning: Students critically reflect on their personal learning through application of course concepts to a lived experience or current event.
Asks whether we have a global responsibility to the civilians of other countries and explores a range of ethical issues in international relations from a normative and applied empirical perspective.
Topics include ethics of intervention, right to secession, amnesty and forgiveness, distributive justice and development, climate justice, and responsibility for refugees.
Active Learning: Presentation and discussion of an ethical dilemma at the heart of a given case study.
Peace & Conflict Resolution
Explores questions of peacebuilding and the effectiveness of international peace efforts through a comparative lens.
Theories of intervention and peacebuilding, methods of analysis, and the purpose of peace research for policy are emphasized. Considers the potentially negative effects of peacebuilding practices upon the post-conflict society.
Active Learning: Mini-conference, paper presentations via panels.
Critically examines the impact of institutional and historical contexts upon the inclusion and exclusion of diverse groups and ideas in negotiation processes.
Comparative contexts are presented using first-hand accounts from individual negotiators across several case studies, including the Northern Ireland Forum, Indigenous treaty negotiations in BC, and Utah’s immigration reform.
Lecture Course, Delivered Online
Problem-Based Learning: Students prepare a conflict map and negotiation plan for a contemporary case study.
The United Nations
Critically assesses the impact of power and representation across the three UN objectives of peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development.
Major topics include north-south tensions, women's exclusion and inclusion, burden-sharing, and statism versus globalism. The course concludes with a simulation of complex negotiation.
Experiential Learning: Three-week modeling simulation of a contemporary negotiation process at the UN and writing a Critical Policy Brief.
Curriculum Development, Pedagogical Advancement, and Teaching Service
I am engaged in active teaching development both in my own pedagogy and in my department and wider university. I first worked on a cyclical program review in 2015 and, having since served on various hiring, ethics, and teaching excellence awards committees, have endeavoured to expand my own experience with the logistical and programmatical sides of university teaching and learning.
In light of this, I am very excited to be working as an Educational Development Associate with the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Queen's University.
I am available for commentary on various current events, in particular those regarding the negotiations in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, but additionally the related subjects of Brexit and the Migration tension in Turkish-Greek relations.
I have recently completed research on the impact of COVID-19 in Cyprus and the Protocol in Northern Ireland.
View my media profile at Queen's University: www.queensu.ca/.../sam-twietmeyer
“Learn something new, and teach another person something you know. That’s how life thrives, progresses and continues. Knowledge is what makes us who we are. The more experience and skills we have and share the better persons we become.”
-Noora Ahmed Alsuwaidi