Peace is a Process

On 21 June 2016, UNESCO hosted a path-breaking Consultative Meeting on the contribution of the UN system to the promotion of peace. The meeting was attended by heads of 28 United Nations entities (programmes, funds, specialized agencies and bodies), who discussed the advancement of the global peace agenda and took stock of the present situation… Read more »

Interfaith Dialogue can Help Build Peace

Interfaith dialogue is a necessary aid in conflicts involving religion. Some years ago, many Western social scientists were claiming that religion was a dying phenomenon. Such assertions were part of an arrogant assumption that the entire world would soon come to resemble the north-western corner of Europe. In Eastern Europe, which lay under the yoke… Read more »

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in its affirmation of the legitimacy… Read more »

It’s Time to Open our Eyes to Women’s Involvement in Peace Processes

Women are central contributors to peace processes. But the crucial roles that women play in transitions from war to peace are rarely acknowledged. The focus on the negotiating table and formal politics – the diplomatic aspects of conflict resolution – is a too narrow understanding of peace processes. Recent case studies on Somalia and Bosnia… Read more »

Political Defeat – Military Inadequacy! The Swaddling Blanket of Intervention

The military interventions by the West in the Middle East, Afghanistan and North Africa in recent years are examples of bold and efficient use of force resulting in immediate achievement of goals. Saddam Hussein’s military forces were defeated, the Taliban were deprived of their havens and possible massacres in Libya were prevented. The attempts however… Read more »

The Gender Asset in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Processes (DDR)

The Potentials of Changing Gender Patterns. Both genders – female and male – can be actors as well as victims in armed conflict, depending on the context. Changed gender roles among ex-combatants of armed groups constitute a potential source of change towards more balanced gender relations in the larger post-conflict society. It is necessary to… Read more »

Bosnia 20 Years On

The Dayton agreement ended the war. But with children from different ethnic groups unable to attend school together in many places, its intentions concerning reconciliation have unfortunately not been realized. “Of course I don’t need good grades in Bosnian when I’ve got good grades in English,” says a 13-year-old to his father in Sarajevo. The… Read more »

An Academic New Year’s Resolution for Colombia: Understanding Continued Gendered Violence as a Threat to Positive Peace

Over the last decade, Colombia has been host to the world’s largest population of internally displaced people (IDP). In 2016, it is expected that the Colombian government and FARC will reach a peace agreement, marking the formal end of more than 50 years of civil war. It is widely recognized that this peace agreement will… Read more »

A Peace Prize Against Terror

European news headlines in 2015 have been all about the refugee crisis and religion-based terrorism. Is there still room for discussing “peace”? Should we not concentrate on bombing ISIS and protect national security? Yesterday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. This quartet consists of four organizations… Read more »

Dialogue is Not Enough

Why did Tunisia succeed in reaching a compromise that led to democratic development, while other countries in the region have failed? The answer does not lie in the large numbers of activists and demonstrators. There were also massive crowds protesting against the regimes in countries such as Egypt and Yemen. Nor is the answer an… Read more »