Author: Henrik Urdal

Education and Conflict: What the Evidence Says

These are the key conclusions from the first systematical review of the empirical, quantitative literature on the relationship between education and civil conflict. Evidence from 30 statistical studies indicate that Increasing education levels overall have pacifying effects Rapid expansions of higher education is not a threat Education inequalities between groups increase conflict risk The quality… Read more »

Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014

Headlines from battlefields in Syria, Libya​​, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine give the impression that the world is becoming ever more violent. Indeed, since 2013 the number of armed conflicts in the world and the number of battle deaths has risen. Fortunately, the long-term trends nevertheless driving the waning of war are still at work.​ Since… Read more »

War is Development in Reverse

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals are ready for adoption. For the first time, the UN will measure the incidence of one of the most controversial, but important, development indicators: the amount of armed conflict in the world. On 25 September this year, a UN summit will adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals. These will… Read more »

Data Challenges in Conflict Research

Quality data is at the heart of quality research. The scholarly community depends on valid, reliable, and easily accessible data in order to empirically test our theories of social and political processes. Yet quantitative data is not “truth” in an absolute sense, but rather, is a numeric representation of complex phenomena. For conflict researchers, the… Read more »

Education Creates Peace

On 10 December Nobel’s Peace Prize 2014 is awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai. Critical voices have claimed that their work is more about rights activism than promoting peace and that there is no obvious association between education and peace. Research into the causes of war suggests, however, that the Nobel Committee was right… Read more »

Is it Acceptable to Lie for a Good Cause?

Humanitarian organizations may easily succumb to the temptation to misuse numbers and statistics in order to promote their own causes. Does the end justify the means? Disasters are most dangerous for moms reported Save the Children’s Carolyn S Miles in Huffington Post when presenting the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2014. The… Read more »

Roots of conflict : Don’t blame environmental decay for the next war

When Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan known for her work in human rights and environmental conservation, including efforts to fight deforestation, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, many took note that the Nobel Committee had evidently expanded its notion of “peace.” “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment,” it proclaimed,… Read more »