University of Calgary

Lara Olson

  • Fellow
  • Fellows


Lara’s work on international development and peacebuilding has combined practice, learning projects and evaluation with academic research and teaching at the University of Calgary since 2005. She is currently completing a DPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford, examining the impact of international assistance on local civil society networks in protracted conflicts. At the University of Calgary she created and taught a range of courses on peacebuilding and international assistance in conflict areas and co-created and co-directed the Peacebuilding, Development and Security Program with Dr. Hrach Gregorian (American University) housed at CMSS from 2009-2014. Recent collaborative research has explored complex adaptive systems frameworks to analyze peacebuilding impacts.

Prior to coming to Calgary, she was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, directing the research phase of the Reflecting on Peace Practice project, and working with the Consensus Building Institute, the Conflict Management Group and the Harvard Project on Negotiation on practical efforts to address ethnic conflicts in the post-Cold War world. She has strong area expertise in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and two decades of practical work in the Caucasus as a researcher, project coordinator, trainer and evaluator. Lara has a Master’s in International Politics from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of British Colombia. She speaks Russian and Spanish, and her professional goals are to advance collaborative research and innovative methods that improve the effectiveness of international support for peace.

Photograph of Lara Olson

Curriculum Vitae

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