Over Ten Years of Collaboration, Engagement, and Innovation
Since its founding more than ten years ago, the Alliance for Peacebuilding has launched many successful programs in collaboration with our partners.
Below are programs that have either fulfilled their missions or completed their activities.
Afghanistan and Pakistan Peace Process
Formerly the 3D Security Initiative, 3P Human Security (3P) merged with AfP in 2012. Through its work on the Afghanistan and Pakistan Peace Process, 3P worked with a wide variety of partners, including local Afghan and Pakistani NGOs, Kabul University’s Center for Policy Research and the Canadian-based Afghanistan: Pathways to Peace (P2P) project, to build a platform for a more sustained, comprehensive public peace process in Afghanistan and the region. Among its activities:
- 3P hosted delegations of Afghans and Pakistanis in Washington DC and connected them with US policymakers and media outlets to share their perspectives on US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- 3P supported the work of Afghan and Pakistani universities, religious leaders and NGOs who are carrying out peacebuilding activities
- 3P conducted research on Afghan civil society attitudes and activities supporting a regional peace process
This work largely continues through AfP’s Human Security program.
BEFORE: Action to Prevention Political Violence
In 2001, Milt Lauenstein, a retired corporate executive, began convening meetings among conflict prevention experts, including representatives from the International Crisis Group, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, the Berghof Research Center, the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, and swisspeace, to figure out how to best reduce human suffering in war. Their conclusion was simple but radical—stop wars before they even start.
Based on decades of analytical expertise and practical experience, BEFORE linked political early warning signs with a quick, independent, flexible, catalytic, and holistic early preventative response built upon and focused on partnerships. The BEFORE 10-Step Approach to Consolidate Peace includes using multifaceted conflict assessments and the input of local, regional, and international experts to develop successful prevention plans and the application of these principles:
- judicious use of private and public funding,
- alignment of international resources with local needs,
- support to local leadership,
- diverse expertise and international partnerships,
- programmatic flexibility that includes strategic grants to local organizations, and
- bridging local needs and effective action.
Building Peace was an AfP publication that highlighted the myriad of ways in which peacebuilding can heal war-torn societies and prevent deadly violence in the world’s most chaotic and fragile conflict zones. This project was commenced in 2013 and finished in 2015. Jessica Berns served as the Editor-in-Chief of Building Peace. Below are the archived editions of Building Peace.
Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations
The Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations, held November 1 to 3, 2009, in Washington, DC, marked the first time in history that countries were honored for being peaceful. The J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center and the Alliance for Peacebuilding hosted representatives of the most peaceful countries from nine regions, based on the 2009 Global Peace Index, for three days of intense discussion and learning.
Over two hundred people attended the gala banquet and presentation of awards. The Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, set the tone for the rest of the event with a keynote address emphasizing the strong correlation between peace and human development.
During the following two days, delegates identified factors that made their countries peaceful and discussed methods for sustaining domestic and international peace. The conversation inspired commitment to focusing on and celebrating achievements in peace through research and practice.
The symposium concluded with a letter from President Jimmy Carter, commending the historic initiative. The final report, which includes detailed analysis of each of the 18 countries and the lessons learned, was written by a team led by Susan Allen Nan from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Download the Report
Education and Training Working Group
The Education & Training Working Group provided online resources and facilitated collaboration to support and improve education and training activities in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, with an emphasis on sharing information and expertise to enhance the professional practice of our members and the field at large.Learn More Here
The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) program on human security worked to achieve a people-centered security strategy, which is a more successful, cost-effective, and sustainable national security strategy than traditional approaches. The program opened channels of communication between the Pentagon and local civil society organizations (CSOs) working to build human security from the ground up through conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
Like peacebuilding practitioners, women and men in the military see the complexities of conflict up close, and they often quickly recognize the value of peacebuilding approaches to addressing difficult policy problems overseas. As a result of years of outreach facilitating communication with civil society, military officials have shown strong interest in learning from the peacebuilding field. AfP staff were invited to give training courses, lectures, and workshops at the US Army War College, National Defense University, the Pentagon, and even in locations such as Afghanistan.
AfP’s Director of Human Security, Lisa Schirch, spearheaded a comprehensive, three-year project culminating in a first-ever handbook and online training curriculum, along with a compilation of case studies illustrating successful civil-military collaborations, and a policy brief outlining key guidelines for policymakers.Learn More Here
Israeli-Palestinian Congressional Forum
Formerly the 3D Security Initiative, 3P Human Security (3P) merged with AfP in 2012. 3P’s Israeli Palestinian Congressional Forum provided Congress with timely and reliable analysis on key policies and strategies as well as expertise in peacebuilding and peace processes. The initiative was a response to Congressional staff seeking analytical support to navigate politically sensitive issues. 3P organized educational forums for Congressional Members and staff, and worked with an extensive network of other organizations and bipartisan groups to identify topics and speakers for these forums. This type of work largely continues through AfP’s Policy & Advocacy Program.
Peacebuilding Mapping Project
In 2011, the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) launched the Peacebuilding Mapping Project, funded by a grant from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and in partnership with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. The PMP was designed to document, classify and describe the peacebuilding work of the organizational members of AfP and members’ partner institutions in order to identify current trends, evolving challenges and emerging opportunities.
The data findings have wide-ranging implications on the way our community embraces its expanding structure, and were presented in October 2012 at USIP, featuring former USIP President Jim Marshall, AfP President & CEO Melanie Greenberg, Dr. David A. Hamburg, and experts including Professor Necla Tschirgi, Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace & Justice, University of San Diego; John Agoglia, IDS International; Hrach Gregorian, Institute of World Affairs; Jocelyn Kelly, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative; Sharon Morris, Mercy Corps; and Paul Williams, Public International Law and Policy Group. The West Coast Launch of the PMP report took place in March 2013 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. The event, entitled, “Bolstering Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding,” sought to address how the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding plays an increasingly important role in United States foreign policy. The event featured Edward Luck, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies; a Keynote Address by Ambassador Rick Barton, Assistant Secretary of State, Conflict and Stabilization Operations; and a panel including AfP’s own CEO Melanie Greenberg, as well as Major General John Broadmeadow, Commanding General, 1st Marine Logistics Group and 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, moderated by Necla Tschirgi, Ph.D., Professor of Practice, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Watch the video.
Download the Report
People’s Peace Fund
Established in 2007, the People’s Peace Fund (PPF) was the first international Palestinian-Israeli fund for conciliation, established specifically to promote a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through grassroots activities. In partnership with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, PPF’s co-founders, Sulaiman Khatib (Ramallah) and Gadi Kenny (Tel Aviv), sought to share their experiences, connections, and funds with competent, highly motivated grassroots leaders and entrepreneurs. Additionally, PPF promoted guest houses and retreat centers in Palestine/Israel, Cyprus, and Bosnia, designed to allow for more, better, and longer dialogue meetings and workshops.
Re-Wiring the Brain for Peace, now known as an independent project called “Peace ReWire,” was a collaboration between neuroscientists, peacebuilding experts, and spiritual leaders, who have worked together to explore how to “rewire” the brain for peace. As a group, we have sought methods of countering the changes in the brain that occur under situations of violence, trauma, and war. This project studied how rituals, spiritual practices, and values that exist in every society serve not only to transform fear and anger on an individual level, but also act as conduits for positive social values and help spark collective change. The preparatory phase of this project was generously supported by the George Family Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace.
Peace ReWire currently works in collaboration with the Avielle Foundation on combining the power of neuroscience, spiritual and contemplative practice, and peacebuilding, to catalyze “inner peace,” and spark broad-scale social transformation. You can view the project’s website here. An archive of Re-Wiring the Brain for Peace can be found here.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP)’s Prevention Program facilitated the exchange of ideas and methodologies amongst the genocide/mass atrocities prevention and conflict prevention communities to explore a more holistic approach to prevention. This initiative was launched at the 2012 AfP Annual Conference panel on Bridging the Genocide and Conflict Prevention Agendas.
Policymakers in Washington and around the world are increasingly focusing on how to prevent violent conflict. With the establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board; the introduction of prevention language into military doctrine in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review; the creation of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations within the U.S. State Department; and the expansion of the United Nations Office of the Special Assistant on the Prevention of Genocide, a mounting chorus of voices is trying to turn the rhetoric of “never again” into reality.
The expansion of the prevention agenda in Washington marks an historic opportunity for the fields of genocide/mass atrocities prevention and conflict prevention to work together to improve their impact and save lives. While both the communities share similar goals—such as the reduction of deadly violence— in practice they have often operated on separate and parallel paths, rarely connecting and collaborating on integrated strategies. Both communities can become more effective with greater communication, collaboration, and sharing of lessons learned between fields. For an overview of the theory and practice of the two communities, and recommendations on how they can better fit together in practice, see Lisa Schirch’s policy brief.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding facilitates dialogue between these two communities to overcome potential disconnects, and works to inform policymakers of the implications for US prevention-focused structures and programs. AfP also informs policymakers about the distinctions between atrocities prevention and conflict prevention and the implications for US agencies at the operational level. AfP also makes recommendations about how to conduct conflict and atrocities prevention strategies more effectively.
In June 2013, AfP organized a special session at the Second Convening to End Mass Atrocities organized by the Nexus Fund in Istanbul, Turkey, entitled “Linking Atrocities Prevention and Conflict Prevention.” The event brought together over one hundred of the world’s leading human rights defenders and atrocities prevention experts to discuss current issues and strengthen collaborative action. AfP’s session was very well-attended and resulted in a number of participants recommending better integration of conflict prevention goals and tactics into atrocities prevention models, as well as a call for further dialogue between the two communities. Read more about this session in AfP’s May-June 2013 Monthly Update.Prevention Resources
Strategy for Stability in Somalia
Extremism is not going away in Somalia, with the latest events in Kenya serving as a reminder that we need a new strategy addressing the root causes of the conflict. A number of AfP members are actively engaged in peacebuilding efforts in Somalia, including: Catholic Relief Services, Conciliation Resources, IHASA, Interpeace, Mercy Corps, Peace Direct, SaferWorld, and World Vision.
Our Policymaker Engagement Team collaborated with organizations that work on the ground and prepared a set of policy recommendations that focus on political inclusion, development, and reconciliation. Our Policy Brief and Video on Somalia was presented to Congress by AfP and our partners in May 2015. Download the Policy Brief.
The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, published by International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, has now been translated into Somali by AfP pattern Horsed Nooh and AfP Board Member Hamse Warfa.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP), in collaboration with NAFSA: Association of International Educators and The Peace Alliance, has developed a four-year Strategic Communications Campaign to reclaim the narrative of peace and shift the peace and security conversation in America, prompting the country and policymakers to think about policies and practices that will make the world more secure as we emerge from a decade of perpetual war. The goal of the campaign is to influence how policymakers, including Capitol Hill, the executive branch, foreign policy agencies, and the military view peace as the driver of stability. We seek to remind policymakers that peace is achievable and that peacebuilding offers powerful human security models that enhance the nation’s security. This effort is not about making a choice between security and peace; it is about peace as a superior strategy and as a legitimate contributor to and objective of US national security.
Systems & Complexity
Peacebuilders address multidimensional, highly adaptive, “wicked” problems that involve complex interrelationships between different social and environmental phenomena, like violence, poverty, disasters, economic performance, public health, crime, inter-group relations, ecological damage, gender dynamics, and political crises. Every conflict-affected setting is a system in which a set of elements interact over time according to simple rules. When applied to conflict, systems thinking seeks to understand how the dynamics of these phenomena interact, adapt, change and sustain the broader conflict system. Systems thinking helps practitioners and policymakers design more effective, adaptable programs that can shift key interactions in the system and contribute to macro-level change. It also helps practitioners ensure that they are not unintentionally exacerbating conflict or impeding the impact of other programs. The process of applying systems thinking to conflict can involve using data, analytics, systems mapping, and a variety of other techniques to generate learning.
In early 2011, the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) launched the Peacebuilding Systems Project PSP). PSP offers a space for members applying systems thinking to peacebuilding to collaborate and generate learning to improve the field. The ultimate goal of PSP is to strengthen peacebuilding engagement in complex environments. PSP aims to address the “peacebuilding gap” – the inability to translate immediate outcomes from community-level programs into positive, long-term macro-level peace, or ‘Peace Writ Large.’ PSP is creating a new generation of holistic, evidence-based practices that can adapt to complexity in fragile and conflict-affecting environments. AfP Board Chair Robert Ricigliano’s book Making Peace Last is a great resource on how systems thinking can contribute to sustainable peace.
A Platform for Member Engagement on Systems, Complexity, and Peacebuilding
Based on the high level of interest in this topic among the AfP membership, AfP has established a new Systems and Complexity Affinity Group. This platform provides a space for members to engage with one another and share resources on issues of complexity and systems with the goal of facilitating collaboration and joint learning.
In 2015, with the Sustainable Development Goals featuring peace as a central theme for the first time, we launched our #WhatsYourPeace Campaign to learn about stories where individuals shared their “piece of peace.” We asked the community to tweet #WhatsYourPeace and to submit anecdotes that demonstrated their exceptional peacebuilding efforts. Read the remarkable stories of peacebuilders from all over the globe who left their mark in the fight for sustainable international peace.