The Olive Branch

Welcome to USIP's Olive Branch blog, a place for timely analysis, views from the field and an exchange of ideas about how to build peace and end or prevent conflict. Through its work in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and beyond, the Institute blends its expert analysis with its field work, a dynamic in which each must always inform the other on parallel tracks. We hope that this blog will reflect that spirit of combining thought with action. And we invite you to browse our posts and then send us your own ideas, comments or reflections.

Each blog post and comment posted on the Olive Branch represents the views of the author and not necessarily that of USIP, a non-partisan, congressionally-funded organization that does not advocate for policy positions.

December 11, 2014
Bill Taylor, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who currently serves as USIP’s acting president, just returned from a visit to Kyiv and discusses the prospects for the country’s new reform-oriented government.
December 5, 2014
The victory for pro-Western parties in Ukraine’s recent parliamentary election offers a historic chance for Ukraine to break out of the cycle of poor governance and corruption that has plagued it since independence – and made it vulnerable to Russian aggression.  Perhaps the most encouraging result...
December 1, 2014
Following his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa last week, USIP’s Steven Heydemann reflected on the reactions of the subcommittee members and a near consensus agreement that only an integrated Iraq-Syria strategy will be successful...
November 26, 2014
The results of the 10th annual Asia Foundation survey of the Afghan people provides some indication that a government that seeks to govern with greater inclusivity, respect for the rule of law and attention to justice might also help strip the insurgency of any remaining legitimacy and strengthen...
November 20, 2014
Reconciliation and peacebuilding in the Central African Republic will require a national dialogue supported by a grassroots movement, according to the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonné Nzapalainga. He spoke at USIP alongside a Muslim imam and Protestant minister about the trio’s efforts to...
November 19, 2014
After a long bus ride set against the mountains of Syria, we finally arrived at a school outside Hatay in southern Turkey. Once there, a smiling, middle-aged woman greeted us at the gate: “Welcome to our school.”
November 17, 2014
Between October 21 and 30, 2014, Joyce Kasee and Hamid Khan were short-term elections observers with the Carter Center’s Elections Observations Mission in Tunisia. The Carter Center works globally to advance democratic elections and governance consistent with universal human rights.
November 13, 2014
As we commemorate the sacrifices made by our veterans this week, let’s take a moment and recall that Veteran’s Day is a day of hope and to recognize our soldiers for the hopeful work they do for civilians around the globe. 
November 12, 2014
On Friday, November 7, President Juan Manuel Santos wrapped up a five-day diplomatic marathon for peace to the capital cities of Madrid, Brussels, Berlin, Lisbon, Paris, and London. He met with heads of state, kings, princes, and the leaders of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic...
November 7, 2014
Even in the tumultuous history of Bangladesh, the deadly campaign-related violence that plagued this year’s parliamentary elections seemed unprecedented. Hundreds reportedly were killed amidst bitter feuding between the governing Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. And yet...