The Long Peace Most Likely Began during the Vietnam War

Two statisticians at the University of Oslo have blown a hole in Steven Pinker’s famous theory that the Long Peace dates from 1945 onwards. But Pinker is excited about the new calculations, which suggest that this more peaceful period instead began in 1965 – during the Vietnam War. In his 2011 book, The Better Angels… Read more »

Norway – The Colonial Power

Imagine this. Close to a small lake, there is a little building. It has stood there for 120 years – ever since your ancestors, who lived off fishing and foraging, built it. Your grandmother brings you to this place to pass your people’s traditions on to you. You go there in order to preserve knowledge,… Read more »

New Mapping of Children Affected by Armed Conflict

This weekend, decision-makers from all over the world will come together to discuss current and future security challenges at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), which has become the major global forum for discussion of security policy. At the conference, Save the Children will launch its new report The War on Children: Time to End Grave… Read more »

Towards a More Peaceful World [insert ‘!’ or ‘?’ here]

Each war is dramatic and horrible and warrants a hundred history books and a thousand songs of sorrow. But it also provides one more data point, along with relevant covariates, to the collection of Tolstoyan war-and-peace data-bases, and statisticians may study the evolution of alleged decreasing violence levels over time. One of the bigger questions… Read more »

Grievances, Accommodation, and the Decline of Ethnic Violence

The finding that violent conflict has declined, especially after the Cold War, has generated a great deal of interest. Much of the initial debate focused on whether the claim itself is correct, but the finding itself seems robust in the sense that that the number and severity of violent conflicts has declined in most data… Read more »

Education and Systematic Group Inequalities in Nigeria

On the night between 14 and 15 April, 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok in Borno State in Northeastern Nigeria. The Islamist terrorist group does not believe that girls should attend school, and these girls were targeted precisely because they were in school. However, conservative views on gender and education is only one reason why many girls in… Read more »

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 »

Information Technology Can Help Build Peace. This Is How.

In a recent episode of the caustic sitcom “Silicon Valley,” the hard-luck start-up protagonists attend a big technology convention. They stumble across an app called PeaceFare, a game that lets players “build peace” on their phones by giving virtual money to virtual homeless people or virtual corn to virtual starving villagers. Launched by a rich entrepreneur… Read more »

Being Policy Relevant in Peace Research means Forecasting

Driven by the ever-increasing availability of (big) data, as well as computational power and resources, we are currently witnessing an important academic debate about the promises and pitfalls of predicting social and human behavior. Given its potentially disastrous consequences, the prediction of armed conflict and political violence more generally, not surprisingly takes a central place… Read more »

The East Asian Peace – Two New Books

Two books were launched earlier this week from the East Asian Peace (EAP) program at Uppsala University, led by Stein Tønnesson of PRIO and Uppsala University. One is a monograph by the program director, Stein Tønnesson, Explaining the East Asian Peace, the other a volume edited by Elin Bjarnegård & Joakim Kreutz, Debating the East Asian… Read more »