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.

August 16, 2016
From Orlando to Brussels to Baghdad to Jakarta, few regions of the world have been spared the violence generated by those who see value, meaning and opportunity in joining and supporting groups like ISIS. There is growing international resolve to develop joint and sustainable ways to address the...
August 12, 2016
It was a startling discovery five years ago that prompted then 21-year-old Shubey Nantege of Uganda to found Go Girl Africa. The organization has provided financial literacy skills to 2,500 girls and young women, helping them make positive changes in their lives. Leaders like Shubey illustrate how...
August 11, 2016
As negotiators for the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group iron out the final details of a potential peace accord, USIP is working with a network of 30 women mediators from a dozen regions of Colombia who are preparing to serve as catalysts for reconciliation in the aftermath of an...
August 5, 2016
Artists and peace advocates are using public art to oppose violence, notably in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. The results have varied, advocates say, but the art campaigns have worked to undermine extremists’ calls to violence, and helped communities heal the divisions of war. They...
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...