The Swiss Peace Foundation, its F.A.S.T (Early Recognition of Tension and Fact-Finding) Unit, and its Senior Research Analyst, Dr. Susanne Schmeidl [PAK37485.E]

According to its website, the Swiss Peace Foundation (SPF) is "an independent organization in the field of peace and conflict research which is run by the Institute for Conflict Resolution." In 1998, SPF launched a new project entitled F.A.S.T (Early Recognition of Tension and Fact-Finding), an integrated and interactive early warning project (SPFb; ISN). It is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which is an agency of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (SPFb; SDC). The project's main objective is to "enhance the decision makers' ability to identify critical developments that could either lead to armed conflict or constitute a window of opportunity regarding peace building" for the purpose of "early action and conflict prevention" (SPFb). F.A.S.T publications contain in-depth information on political developments in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan), and Southern Africa (Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa) and are available on the International Relations and Security Network website (ISN).

Dr. Susanne Schmeidl joined SPF in 1998 as a senior research analyst for F.A.S.T and is the lead for South Asia (SPFb). She has both her M.A. and Ph.D in sociology from Ohio State University and has worked at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University in several capacities including as co-ordinator of the Prevention/Early Warning Unit (ibid). In addition to her position with F.A.S.T, she is also the current chair of the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association (SPFb).

According to Dr. Schmeidl, neither she nor F.A.S.T have done any directed research on Kashmir itself. Instead research has been more general, focusing on the situation in Pakistan as a whole (SPFa 25 June 2001). A trip to Pakistan and Indian Kashmir last year, was undertaken to address a general lack of information and to assess the situation in Kashmir as it exists on both sides of the border (ibid). Her trip to Pakistan Kashmir, however, was cut short when the authorities asked her to leave and, as it lasted only two days, was too brief to formulate a proper assessment (ibid).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


International Relations and Security Network (ISN). [Accessed 22 June 2001]

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). [Accessed 26 June 2001]

Swiss Peace Foundation (SPFa). Bern, Switzerland. 25 June 2001. Correspondence from Dr. Susanne Schmeidl, Senior Research Analyst.

Swiss Peace Foundation (SPFb). [Accessed 20 June 2001]


Swiss Peace Foundation (SPF). "FAST - Early Recognition of Tension and Fact Finding." (3 pages) [Accessed 20 June 2001]