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

What Does U.S. Reengagement in Papua New Guinea Mean for Bougainville?

What Does U.S. Reengagement in Papua New Guinea Mean for Bougainville?

Thursday, March 9, 2023

By: Gordon Peake, Ph.D.;  Camilla Pohle-Anderson

As Washington reengages in the Pacific, it must not overlook Bougainville, an autonomous and want-away region of Papua New Guinea. The United States is neutral on Bougainville’s future political status, which is for Papua New Guinea and Bougainville to resolve. Nevertheless, Washington should recall long U.S.-Bougainville historical ties, and consider how the Pacific Partnership Strategy could be leveraged to benefit the people of Bougainville, whatever their future political status might be.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

Papua New Guinea: Election Violence Shows Lack of Trust in the State

Papua New Guinea: Election Violence Shows Lack of Trust in the State

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

By: Miranda Forsyth;  Gordon Peake, Ph.D.

One of the most incisive works of the prodigious but too little heralded Papua New Guinean writer Steven Winduo is a short story collection titled the “Unpainted Mask.” The book explores how the denizens of the island nation negotiate the everyday travails of modern life, using as its central motif how people wear different masks to view themselves and others. According to Winduo, it is vitally important to discern the public mask, as well as to appreciate what is underneath. Seeing one without the other is a recipe for distorted vision. Winduo’s words don’t just apply to people, but also to the state of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and its institutions.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceFragility & Resilience

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