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The rejection of war or violence as a means of resolving conflict. Some pacifists reject violence under all circumstances, even self-defense.

Parties to the Conflict

The disputants can be divided into first or primary parties, those who have decision-making power and must be involved in any negotiation, and secondary parties, those who have a less direct stake


The word “peace” evokes complex, sometimes contradictory, interpretations and reactions. For some, peace means the absence of conflict.

Peace (and Conflict) Studies

An interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on conflict analysis, conflict management, and conflict transformation; nonviolent sanctions; peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and peace enforcement; so

Peace Dividend

The benefit a country receives from cutting back military spending, especially after the end of a war. The “dividend” comes when the money is redirected to social programs or to tax reductions.

Peace Enforcement

Coercive action undertaken with the authorization of the United Nations Security Council to end armed hostilities, restore a cease-fire, or enforce a peace agreement.

Peace Operation

A generic term sometimes used to encompass peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and peacebuilding, the lines between which are not always clear.

Peace Process

Series of steps or phases in a negotiation or mediation that are necessary in order to eventually reach a peace agreement and sometimes to implement one.


Originally conceived in the context of post-conflict recovery efforts to promote reconciliation and reconstruction, the term peacebuilding has more recently taken on a broader meaning.


Traditionally, action undertaken to preserve peace where fighting has been halted and to assist in implementing agreements achieved by the peacemakers.


Activities to halt ongoing conflicts and bring hostile parties to agreement, essentially through such peaceful means as those foreseen in Chapter 6 of the Charter of the United Nations: “negotiatio

Political Violence

Organized or systematic use of force, the motive for which is primarily political, that is, aimed at influencing government policy, rather than criminal.

Positions versus Interests

Broadly speaking, positions are what parties say they want. Interests are what they really need. Interests are frequently unstated and may be difficult to identify.


The ability to influence others to get a particular outcome. It may involve coercing them with threats, providing inducements, or coopting them.

Power Sharing

A system of governance in which different segments of society are provided a share of power.

Prisoner of War

A combatant captured in war, especially a member of the armed forces of a country who is taken by the enemy during combat.

Problem-Solving Workshop

An informal, confidential dialogue workshop that brings together adversaries to reevaluate their attitudes and think creatively about joint solutions.


Traditionally, the term “proliferation” has referred to the spread of nuclear weapons.

Proximity Talks

Diplomatic discussions conducted through an intermediary, usually because the disputants are unwilling to meet face to face but are in separate locations close to each other.

Public Diplomacy

Advocacy openly directed at foreign publics in support of negotiations or broad policy positions and to enlist their backing for a particular position or outcome.