The Olive Branch

This blog offers timely analysis, views from the field and an exchange of ideas about how to build peace and prevent or end conflict. USIP invites you to browse the posts and then offer your own ideas, comments or reflections. Each blog post and comment 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 take policy positions.

July 20, 2016
South Sudan marked its fifth anniversary as a state this month not with celebrations but with rival armed factions shooting at each other in the streets of the capital. Several hundred people were killed in less than a week, tens of thousands displaced, and even sacrosanct U.N. camps protecting...
July 13, 2016
His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a powerful point during a visit to USIP last month, a day after the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53. After leading the audience in a moment of silence for the victims and survivors, he noted his own skepticism about the power of...
July 11, 2016
The extremist group ISIS exhibits attributes of both an insurgency and a totalitarian regime. Even top U.S. generals acknowledge that military force alone is insufficient to degrade, much less defeat an organization that rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. ISIS will only be weakened...
July 6, 2016
The recent U.S. designation of genocide to describe the ISIS extremist group’s killings and persecution of minorities as well as Shia Muslims in Iraq and Syria highlighted the long history of oppression of religious and ethnic groups and the questions looming about whether religious minorities...
June 22, 2016
The traditional Muslim call to prayer echoed across USIP’s atrium yesterday evening as the institute ushered in its third annual Iftar, marking the breaking of the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. But it wasn’t just one imam’s voice. Instead, five Muslim clerics and a poetry reader from...
June 17, 2016
Those of us who work in peacebuilding are constantly reminded that the challenges we confront are big and the resources we command are small. So there is both a practical and an ethical obligation to use those resources wisely and be certain of their value. Toward that end, a little over four years...
June 14, 2016
Across the United States, Muslims swiftly denounced the June 12 attack on a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed more than four dozen people and injured 53. "This is a hate crime plain and simple," said Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We...
June 10, 2016
The tragedy of the “disappeared” in Colombia’s more than half-century of internal war cuts across the entire society. Among those who were forcibly seized and then vanished without further information are labor leaders and journalists, peasant organizers and politicians, urban and rural citizens....
June 2, 2016
A common strategy for state-building and development aid to transitional nations—getting basic services to the population—will fail to establish a government’s legitimacy unless citizens are included in the process, a leading researcher on conflict management said at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
May 25, 2016
The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, held this week in Istanbul, should spur political leaders around the globe to recognize that “the world is on fire,” USIP President Nancy Lindborg said. The international community is failing to muster the political will to end the violent conflicts that...