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.

March 29, 2015
For two decades, ensuring the U.S. isn’t complicit in gross human rights abuses by foreign police and military forces has rested in significant part on the shoulders of a law devised by Senator Patrick Leahy that bars U.S. foreign aid to individuals or institutions that commit violations. This week...
March 24, 2015
Nigeria’s next government needs to have the political will to act decisively against the Boko Haram extremist group, said Pastor Esther Abimiku Ibanga ahead of the country’s March 28 presidential election. Ibanga, a civil society leader from northern Nigeria’s Plateau state, was recently awarded...
March 18, 2015
The helplessness pours out of a crying mother in India, so silenced by patriarchal traditions that she’s afraid to speak up about the risk that her son might be drawn to radicalism. Continents away in Nigeria, police officers are ashamed to admit the poor working conditions that weaken their...
March 17, 2015
At the recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Barack Obama urged Muslim leaders to oppose the ideologies of groups like the so-called Islamic State. The same week, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Asheikh declared that “the misuse of the religion by...
March 12, 2015
Have you ever wondered how using a cell phone could counter hateful words or actions? Consider the example of Sisi Ni Amani in Kenya, dedicated to both traditional and new ways of communicating about preventing violence in Kenya, and established by a forwardthinking woman who was trying to affect...
March 9, 2015
Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) appears to be preparing for a much more transparent and inclusive parliamentary election in 2015 than we saw in 2010. Its work with civil society, political parties and international organizations already stands in stark contrast to its management of the 2010...
March 6, 2015
What makes a young man or woman vulnerable to joining a violent extremist group? In the same way that a malnourished, exhausted, neglected, or traumatized body is more susceptible to disease or infection, a person who lacks resources, opportunity, and support is more vulnerable to engaging in...
March 3, 2015
Dialogue is a powerful instrument for creating understanding between groups who are in conflict with one another. Unlike debates or decision-making processes dialogues are open ended—their purpose is not to “win” or make decisions, but rather to allow people to deepen their understanding of a...
March 2, 2015
Today’s global political realities of chaos and violent conflict are well-captured by the declaration, “The center cannot hold.” It’s the title of the first chapter in a new book, Managing Conflict in A World Adrift, that dissects the shifts in international security and the tense debates about how...
February 25, 2015
As the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group  resume their next round of peace talks in Havana today, they received a strong boost of support with the recent designation of Bernie Aronson as U.S. Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process. He already has plans to meet with the parties...