Dr. Gordon Peake is a senior advisor for the Pacific Islands in USIP’s Asia Center. 

Over Dr. Peake’s 20-year career, he has worked as a long-term adviser to the Bougainville and Timor-Leste governments and consulted on policing, justice and political economy issues in the Pacific for bilateral donors and development banks.

Dr. Peake has used these vantage points as the basis for two books, one edited volume and 20-plus articles that deal with enhancing the theoretical and conceptual understandings of practical realities of implementing peace agreements and peacekeeping mandates. A key theme in his work is the centrality of human relationships in explaining why groups and governments work as they do.

Dr. Peake’s first book, “Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles and Secrets from Timor-Leste,” was winner of two Australian book awards, with a judging panel describing it as “a compelling work merging the personal with the historical … surprising, sometimes confronting and very poignant.” His second book, “Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation,” recounts his experience working in the would-be nation of Bougainville. He is currently working on a book about how personal relationships — whether good, bad or indifferent — are the underappreciated ingredient in explaining institutional behavior.

Dr. Peake received his master’s and doctorate from the University of Oxford and a law degree from Queen’s University, Belfast.

He is a citizen of Ireland and Australia and speaks Tetun, the language of Timor-Leste.

Publications By Gordon

In the Pacific, Corruption and Poor Policing Open a Door to China

In the Pacific, Corruption and Poor Policing Open a Door to China

Thursday, February 8, 2024

By: Gordon Peake, Ph.D.

After the Pacific’s largest island nation, Papua New Guinea, recently suffered deadly rioting that included police, an official last week announced a Chinese offer to help strengthen its police force. That sequence exemplifies a rising challenge for democracy and stability in the Pacific: Many island nations suffer corruption and deficient policing that undermines the rule of law. This gap in responsive governance lets China seek influence through technical assistance drawn from its authoritarian model of policing. In response, democracies must reshape narrow, outdated approaches to security assistance.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceJustice, Security & Rule of Law

Riots in Papua New Guinea Are a Warning: Urgent Change is Needed

Riots in Papua New Guinea Are a Warning: Urgent Change is Needed

Thursday, January 11, 2024

By: Gordon Peake, Ph.D.

Riots erupted in Papua New Guinea's capital yesterday, laying bare the hollowness of governance that is failing to meet public needs, thus risking deeper violence and instability. U.S attention to the Pacific Islands' largest and most populous nation is increasing, partly because it is an arena for geopolitical competition with China. While Papua New Guinea's leaders are good at rolling out the red carpet for visiting partners, the state fails lamentably in providing basic services for its people. This week’s violence is a wake-up call for U.S and international policymakers to re-focus on this root of the country’s instability.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceFragility & Resilience

Gordon Peake on COP28 and Climate Financing

Gordon Peake on COP28 and Climate Financing

Monday, December 4, 2023

By: Gordon Peake, Ph.D.

As COP28 continues, it’s estimated that the world needs to invest $5.9 trillion to stave off climate change. “The big question now is … who’s going to pay for all this,” says USIP’s Gordon Peake, adding that “we also need to tamp down the use of fossil fuels” to prevent the bill for growing even more.

Type: Podcast

Environment

U.S. Approach to COP28 Will Shape How it is Perceived in the Pacific

U.S. Approach to COP28 Will Shape How it is Perceived in the Pacific

Thursday, November 30, 2023

By: Gordon Peake, Ph.D.

Pacific Island nations will be attending the 2023 U.N. Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai this week with their concerns well known. USIP’s Gordon Peake discussed what the island states will expect from the summit, how the U.S.-China strategic competition is playing out in the region and what more the United States can do to build support in the region.

Type: Analysis

EnvironmentGlobal Policy

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