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.

October 21, 2014
A case study hashed out at West Point recently focused on a conflict 15 years past to demonstrate that a post-war transition has a better chance of success with three key elements. The formula could reframe the nation’s recurring debate over “nation-building” and point the way to approaches that might help the U.S. and its allies during the next phase of Afghanistan’s transition.
Countries
Comments: 0
October 15, 2014
As the militant group calling itself the “Islamic State” killed and rampaged across northern Iraq in recent months, a former street artist from the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City began to notice something on Facebook: messages of peace and religious tolerance, cartoons courageously mocking extremism and photos of aid deliveries for people driven from their homes by the violence. The missives were posted by his former colleagues in the USIP-supported “Salam Shabab” television reality show.
Countries
Comments: 0
October 14, 2014
In Libya’s 2011 uprising, protesters pumped loud music from radios or CD players in the streets in front of government buildings, then fled from the inevitable rush of security forces. The nonviolent early days of Egypt’s revolution that same year spawned a raft of new independent music groups. In Turkey, the “Song of Pots and Pans” exhorts political leaders to stop their lies and repressive tactics.
Countries
Comments: 0
October 10, 2014
As Afghanistan attempts to develop its economy by attracting investment to its mining sector, the already daunting conditions for women in rural areas could worsen without specific steps to address their needs. That’s the conclusion of a study funded by USIP that examined the potential ramifications for women in three mining communities in Afghanistan.
Countries
Comments: 0
October 7, 2014
The day started with seven hours of digging through rubble to free three families from a building hit by a barrel bomb. Just as the workers thought they were finished, a frantic mother rushed up to them, crying and pleading to please help find her missing baby too, a child just 10 days old.  The resulting 16-hour day of painstakingly clearing pieces of collapsed ceilings and walls typifies the daily routine for a group of Syrian rescue workers who told their stories at USIP recently.
Issue Areas
Countries
Comments: 0
October 6, 2014
Two months after the White House invited 50 heads of state to Washington for the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Aug. 4-6, observers on both continents are asking, “What did the summit achieve, and how will any gains made be leveraged?” USIP asked several prominent Africans who have worked with the Institute over the years for their reflections
Issue Areas
Comments: 0
October 1, 2014
American and British ambassadors joined Libyan activists and analysts for a USIP Twitter chat this week, as rival lawmakers in Libya met for negotiations brokered by the United Nations to end the recent surge of violence and the political crises that sparked it.
Countries
Comments: 0
September 24, 2014
How is it possible to do community policing in the absence of trust between citizens and security forces? This is just one of the questions that challenged an international group of experts as they explored the role of police and citizens, especially women, in countering violent extremism (CVE), during a workshop hosted by USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding. 
Countries
Comments: 0
September 19, 2014
From soccer games to theatre productions to entrepreneurial investments, young people are mobilizing to promote peace, according to participants in a September 16 Twitter chat on youth and peacebuilding. The chat showed the important role youth play as a force for peace in a world dominated by violent headlines.
Countries
Comments: 0
September 17, 2014
The brutality of the extremist militants who call themselves “The Islamic State” is a strategy in itself and must be met by powerful counter-measures that address the core causes of the conflict, said Manal Omar, USIP’s associate vice president for the Middle East and Africa, at the recent launch of the U.S. Senate’s Human Rights Caucus.
Countries
Comments: 0