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 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...
February 19, 2015
Fatima Kadhim al-Bahadly, an activist for women in southern Iraq, remembers the swell of chaos across her country last June. The extremist militant group calling itself “the Islamic State” had captured Mosul in the north, and the country’s most powerful cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, had issued a...
February 12, 2015
From blood drives after 9/11 to aid for Iraqi Christians and Yazidi refugees today, and on to the simple act of listening to survivors of violence for solutions to their communities’ conflicts, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and American Muslim leaders, including USIP’s Manal Omar, recently...
February 9, 2015
When Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström announced last year that her government would pursue a “feminist foreign policy,” the idea “met with considerable derision,” she says. “We call it the giggling factor.” And where the response was not quiet laughter, it was often confusion, including in...
February 5, 2015
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama met with Nancy Lindborg, the new president of the U.S. Institute of Peace, today for a conversation on paths to peace, marking the first time an Institute chief executive has met with the spiritual leader of Tibet.
February 5, 2015
Above the sounds of cheering during President Obama’s recent visit to New Delhi for the 66th Republic Day military parade, a chorus of discontent emerged across the international border to the northwest. In the perennial regional competition between India and Pakistan, the U.S. leader’s second...
January 30, 2015
Even having lost 50,000 people killed in terrorism-related violence over more than a decade, Pakistan was stunned by the Taliban massacre of 145 schoolchildren and others at an Army school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. With some commentators calling the event “Pakistan’s September 11,” the U.S...