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.

August 24, 2015
The unreported murder of four men in plain view, all too common on the high seas, led New York Times reporter Ian Urbina into the merciless world that resulted in his investigative series, "The Outlaw Ocean." In an event hosted by the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL) and...
August 21, 2015
Myanmar’s 2015 election season is off to a dramatic start. Massive flooding and complaints about inaccurate voter lists have caused delays in early procedural deadlines. In a midnight raid on the headquarters of the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) party, ministers from the...
August 19, 2015
The past week’s turmoil within Myanmar’s ruling party has underscored the power of the country’s armed forces less than 12 weeks before parliamentary elections that civil society activists and others say are vital to consolidating a democracy following a half century of military rule. Security...
August 13, 2015
He could be known as “the Johnny Appleseed” of Afghanistan. Dr. Abdul Wakil, an agronomist and agriculture minister, led projects in the Helmand River Valley in the 1950s and 60s. He moved Afghan farming into the 20th Century with mechanization and seed types that remain a mainstay. A new book co-...
August 5, 2015
From Hong Kong’s boulevards and Nairobi’s Uhuru Park to the maidans of Kyiv, Cairo and Tunis, millions of people have massed in recent years to demand greater democracy and transparency from their governments. Dozens of similar campaigns have been fought more quietly. A quarter-century of worldwide...
July 30, 2015
As Colombia’s rebels and the government negotiate in Havana to end 50 years of war, a group of women around the country from different religions is laying the groundwork for what they hope will come next: the reconciliation needed to forge a true, lasting peace.
July 27, 2015
Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…” So when we see steps toward justice and a narrative of hope returning to a country worn by violence and conflict, those of us in the peacebuilding field feel reinvigorated. We were fortunate to see an...
July 24, 2015
The debate swirling around the historic nuclear deal reached by Iran and the world’s six major powers this month played out among two nuclear experts, a sanctions specialist and an Iran scholar during an event co-hosted by USIP at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars yesterday. The...
July 21, 2015
The strategic implications of the July 14 Vienna accords on Iran’s nuclear program are a matter of considerable concern not only to the Arab Gulf States and Israel, but also to the only Middle East/European member of NATO: Turkey. That country’s leaders must now assess the implications of the...
July 10, 2015
Colombia’s government won a reprieve from growing public pressure to call off peace talks with the FARC rebel group when the guerrillas declared a unilateral ceasefire this week amid a surge in violence around the country.