Research and Advocacy
Building Theory from Practice
Complementing our Peace Education efforts, the Peace Appeal continues to support research on emerging topics evidencing promise in the field of peacebuilding. In a continuing research effort, the Peace Appeal, in collaboration with our partners at the Berghof Peace Support, have been undertaking a study of comparative peace structures in conflicts globally. This study examines how formal and informal institutional mechanisms, what some are now terming an essential element of "infrastructures for peace," have contributed to, or detracted from the process of conflict transformation in entrenched national conflicts. The results will be integrated into an online platform for peace practitioners, where case studies, articles and reflections of those in the field will be shared.
Additionally, in the coming year, this study will feed into a new multi-year effort of exchanges among peace practitioners from selected countries in conflict that will result in new case studies that seek to build our understanding of the potential and pitfalls of peace structures and other innovative approaches to peace process support.
Understanding of the Contributions, Promise and Challenges of Peacebuilding Organizations
The very nature of peacebuilding organizations work often requires the utmost discretion in order for the work to proceed and have value. This is well illustrated in an anecdote found in the recent book by Peter Coleman, The Five Percent in which he cites the inspiring work of the Public Conversations Project in bringing together pro-life and pro-choice advocates in the wake of tragic murders of health clinic workers in the Boston area. In a meeting few could have envisioned, leading activists from both sides of this supremely contentious issue met in secret under the guidance and with the facilitation of the PCP's founders to discuss their viewpoints and seeking to avoid further tragedies.
Whether it is work such as the Public Conversation Projects longstanding support of dialogue among pro-life and pro-choice advocates in the US, or faciliation and mediation in longstanding and often intractable conflicts among political and ethnic groups in entrenched national conflicts globally, too little is known about such efforts to build the broad constituency of support that peacebuilding organizations of all types need to work effectively.
The challenges facing many international peacebuilding organizations have only increased in the last decade with the advent of a host of new international regulations seeking to regulate all forms of contact with organizations deemed terrorists by various nation states. Whether it is humanitarian organizations seeking to provide food and medicine to civilians caught in the crossfires of civil wars, or peacebuilding organizations working alongside NATO troops in helping to make contact with local Taliban, the diverse restrictions on what types of contact are allowed with what are referred to as "proscribed" groups have chilled activity that was long a core, and necessary feature of international aid and peacebuildling efforts.
In collaboration with many leading organizations and associations in the peacebuilding field in Europe and the US, the Peace Appeal seeks to draw attention to the contributions of our sector, the opportunities we are presented with, and the need to enhance the enabling environment for peacebuilding organizations, from an improved regulatory environment, to greater resources from both public and private sources.