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.

July 30, 2015
As Colombia’s rebels and the government negotiate in Havana to end 50 years of war, a group of women around the country from different religions is laying the groundwork for what they hope will come next: the reconciliation needed to forge a true, lasting peace.
July 27, 2015
Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…” So when we see steps toward justice and a narrative of hope returning to a country worn by violence and conflict, those of us in the peacebuilding field feel reinvigorated. We were fortunate to see an...
July 24, 2015
The debate swirling around the historic nuclear deal reached by Iran and the world’s six major powers this month played out among two nuclear experts, a sanctions specialist and an Iran scholar during an event co-hosted by USIP at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars yesterday. The...
July 21, 2015
The strategic implications of the July 14 Vienna accords on Iran’s nuclear program are a matter of considerable concern not only to the Arab Gulf States and Israel, but also to the only Middle East/European member of NATO: Turkey. That country’s leaders must now assess the implications of the...
July 10, 2015
Colombia’s government won a reprieve from growing public pressure to call off peace talks with the FARC rebel group when the guerrillas declared a unilateral ceasefire this week amid a surge in violence around the country.
July 8, 2015
South Sudan, the world’s youngest state, marks four years of independence on July 9. But many South Sudanese, who struggled for that statehood for decades, are finding nothing to celebrate. When they won independence in 2011, the 11 million South Sudanese hoped that their new nation would let them...
July 7, 2015
Afghanistan desperately needs new investment—and a reversal of its current capital flight—to improve governance, build the economy and provide hope for a population exhausted by decades of war. While conventional wisdom holds that the best stimulus for the economy would be an end to the violence,...
June 26, 2015
Muslim women worldwide need to reclaim the place as leaders that the Islamic faith accorded them in its early centuries, USIP Acting Vice President Manal Omar told guests at a June 25 iftar celebration. And, she said, the world’s hope for a more just, peaceful future depends on their doing so.
June 23, 2015
Indian children’s rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi is using his Nobel Peace Prize to build a global campaign to end child labor and enslavement. He outlined his plan at the U.S. Institute of Peace last week in his first visit to the U.S. since receiving the award.
June 16, 2015
A new set of development goals that will be adopted by the world’s heads of state at the United Nations in September highlights the crucial problem of “fragile states” and the need to strengthen their governance, according to experts including current and former top diplomats and USIP President...