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.

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...
November 6, 2014
Experienced current and former diplomats, aid officials and military officers made the case at a recent USIP conference that civilian agencies must embrace calculated risk as an essential element of work in the field, and then better communicate those decisions to Congress and the American people. 
November 5, 2014
On one of the busiest intersections of Tunisia’s coastal city of Monastir stands a prominent building draped in red-and-white banners urging citizens to vote. Miniature Tunisian flags hang over the pillared entrance. Like similar buildings all over the country, the structure has been converted from...
November 4, 2014
Attacks by militants in Lebanon backed by an Al-Qaida affiliate and the Islamic State have highlighted again the vulnerability of the country's armed forces to terrorist threats and the political establishment's failure to reach agreement on a military strategy to confront terrorism. The solution...
October 31, 2014
As the militant group calling itself “Islamic State” stormed across northern Iraq and Syria in recent months, prominent imam Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah and more than 100 other Muslim leaders flew into action, drafting a condemnation of the insurgent group’s actions with an appeal to Islamic...