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The ability of people, institutions, and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives.

Capacity building

Enabling people, organizations, and societies to develop, strengthen, and expand their abilities to meet their goals or fulfill their mandates.


A suspension of armed conflict agreed to by both sides. It may be aimed at freezing the conflict in place, in which case it is often called a cessation of hostilities agreement.

Chapters 6 and 7

Sections of the United Nations Charter that deal most directly with dispute resolution.

Child soldier

An individual, typically between the ages of 15 and 18, in the armed forces of the state or of an armed group, whether or not the child is armed or is used in combat.

Citizen diplomacy

Unofficial contacts between people of different countries, as differentiated from official contacts between governmental representatives.

Civil society

A collective term for a wide array of nongovernmental and nonprofit groups that help their society at large function while working to advance their own or others’ well-being.

Civil war

A large-scale armed conflict within a country fought either for control of all or part of the state, for a greater share of political or economic power, or for the right to secede.

Civil-military cooperation

A broad term that covers a variety of collaborative relationships between civilian and military actors in a conflict environment.

Coercive diplomacy

Use of threats or limited application of force to persuade an opponent to call off or undo an action—for example, to halt an invasion or give up territory that has been occupied.

Communication styles

Communication occurs in a range of styles in all cultures but can be broadly defined as low context (individualistic) or high context (relationship oriented).


In international relations, the term “conciliation” is often used as a synonym for mediation.

Confidence-building measure (CBM)

Agreement to exchange information about and allow monitoring of political and, more frequently, military activities. Some measures establish rules regarding the movement of military forces.


An inevitable aspect of human interaction, conflict is present when two or more individuals or groups pursue mutually incompatible goals.

Conflict analysis

The systematic study of conflict in general and of individual or group conflicts in particular.

Conflict curve

The curve of conflict is a conceptual tool that helps illustrate how conflicts tend to evolve over time.

Conflict entrepreneur

Any group or individual whose profits depend on conditions that promote conflict.

Conflict management

A general term that describes efforts to prevent, limit, contain, or resolve conflicts, especially violent ones, while building up the capacities of all parties involved to undertake peacebuilding.

Conflict prevention

This term is used most often to refer to measures taken to keep low-level or long-festering disputes from escalating into violence, but it can also apply to efforts to limit the spread of violence

Conflict resolution

Efforts to address the underlying causes of a conflict by finding common interests and overarching goals.

Conflict transformation

A recently developed concept that emphasizes addressing the structural roots of conflict by changing existing patterns of behavior and creating a culture of nonviolent approaches.

Constabulary force

A specialized unit trained and equipped to operate in peace operations, providing police-type functions like crowd control in high-threat environments where traditional police tactics would be inef

Constitution making

The drafting of a new constitution, especially when seen as a key element of democratization and state building.

Constructive ambiguity

If two parties to a negotiation cannot agree on an issue, they may be able to paper over their disagreement by using ambiguous language.

Contact group

Ad hoc grouping of influential countries that have a significant interest in policy developments in a particular country or region, such as the one on the Balkans and the one on piracy off the coas

Corporate social responsibility

The notion that a business should take responsibility for the impact of its activities on its employees, customers, communities, and the environment.


The abuse of power for private gain, including bribery, extortion, fraud, nepotism, embezzlement, falsification of records, kickbacks, and influence peddling.

Crimes against Humanity

Mass killings and targeted attacks against civilians, including systematic rape. These crimes are described more fully in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, article 7.

Crisis Management

The attempt to control events during a crisis to prevent significant and systematic violence from occurring or escalating.


The shared beliefs, traits, attitudes, behavior, products, and artifacts common to a particular social or ethnic group.


The use of computers and the Internet to disrupt computer networks and telecommunications infrastructure.