After War then Peace: The US-based Liberian Diaspora as Peace-building Norm Entrepreneurs

The US-based Liberian diaspora’s role in the country’s 14-year civil war and its aftermath is paradoxical. Consistent with existing literature on the role of diasporas in conflict, the group largely played a role contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War and its continuation. However, in a paradigmatic shift, the group is currently contributing towards the peace-building process by serving as norm entrepreneurs. Factors that have contributed to this shift include a strong demand in the homeland for a change in the ‘rules of the game’, a shift in US foreign policy towards promotion of democracy in Africa, and a concerted regional and international effort at promoting peace-building norms. The inclusiveness of the mechanisms for norm transfer, the conduct of the messengers and local perception of norms, affect the degree to which they are well received.