51 Think Tanks and Thought Leaders in Global Peacebuilding
TMS PEACE JOURNALISM, 4 Sep 2023
“The task is… not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.” – Erwin Schrodinger
17 Aug 2023 – Someone asked me the other day about where to find information about gender, environment and peace. A few days later another friend asked me where she could look to find jobs conducting research on peace with a social justice lens. And just then, someone in our global community of peacebuilding community People Building Peace was requesting help to find some reports on decolonizing peace.
Each time I got the request, I had a couple of ideas, but then I had to look through my (quite messy) personal database of peace organizations. These things take time. I noticed the frequency that people were asking me to find reports, data, jobs, etc. and I promised each of these people that I’d be making a blog post mapping think tanks and thought leaders on peacebuilding, basically all of the information I would recommend to people on an regular basis to help them find what they are looking for.
So here it is. Certainly, this is not a list of all organizations working for peace. It is however, a great overview of all organizations I know that conduct research on peacebuilding and/or regularly publish reports, guides and other great resources on building peace and associated topics.
This is a resource that can be used in many ways. You can use this information to inform your own research, strategic planning of peace initiatives, program planning and peacebuilding activities. You may also find it useful in conducting peace advocacy efforts by using some of these thinkers’ work as evidence or inspiration for your arguments when advocating for change.
I encourage you to find some of these that you can use for your own purposes, download some reports and resources you find useful, join their newsletters, check out which conferences/webinars/events are hosted by them, or considering finding ways you or your organization can connect and/or collaborate with them.
While there are hundreds, maybe thousands of think tanks that produce content on topics related to peace, I have had to be selective and find the ones I think are most useful for we peacebuilders.
I have chosen think tanks and any organization that regularly publishes reports and other resources on building peace. Some are think tanks, some of them are research institutes that conduct projects, some are non-governmental organizations, some are academic institutions. All publish reports and resources on peacebuilding.
Many organizations listed here engage in training, webinars, conferences, and events, the focus for the blog post will be on their research and publications.
Research and Events: Mention of research, publications, magazines, conferences, webinars, and events as relevant components of think tank activities.
Not included are the following:
- peacebuilding organizations that don’t conduct research or publish reports regularly
- organizations with narrow focus like human rights-focused or nonviolent
- political think tanks, government-sponsored think tanks, or overly conservative (or right-wing) think tanks
- Think tanks that are not very active or have not published anything within the last year or two
- Think tanks that do not publish anything in the English language. Some publish in multiple languages, including English.
Also, there are a lot of think tanks that exclusively track, collect and publish data on militarism, violent conflict and the arms trade. Since this is a slightly different category and also very useful for peacebuilders, I have published a list of these in another article which you can find by clicking the link HERE.
As a reader, you should be aware of the bias in think tanks and thought leadership in peacebuilding. While overly political think tanks have been excluded from this list, most think tanks are based in Europe and North America. Readers must recognize that there is a Western bias in think tanks and thought leadership in peacebuilding. Think tanks based in the Global South have been included and many with anti-militarism and social justice approaches to provide different perspectives and approaches.
When reading any research or reports it is important to have a look at the mission and vision of the organization, in some cases consider their main sources of funding, and also take a critical look at what types of reports they are publishing to develop a critical understanding of what you are reading
Listings of 51 peacebuilding think tanks and thought leaders
I learned a lot in reviewing hundreds of think tanks and narrowing this list down to 51. To help you get a sense of what types of content is produced by think tanks on building peace and which perspectives they are coming from, I have organized these think tanks into the following 7 categories.
- Global think tanks that regularly publish reports and resources on peacebuilding
- Research and action-oriented initiatives with quality publications
- UN entities that produce peacebuilding resources and reports
- Peacebuilding NGOs that publish research and reports on peacebuilding
- Academic institutions that conduct peace research and publish resources on building peace
- Initiatives that publish research and resources on a culture of peace
- Big think tanks that report on many topics including peace and peacebuilding
Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
Tagline – The knowledge hub for better peacebuilding
The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) is a Swiss initiative that seeks to support and strengthen peacebuilding practice, policy, and research. The Platform brings together actors from the international peacebuilding community to facilitate dialogue, exchange knowledge, and build partnerships. The research they have conducted is very cutting edge. They conducted a series of 20 research papers covering a range of peacebuilding topics and others covering regional perspectives from all over the world, then concluded with a White Paper on Peacebuilding (2015) that is still relevant in the way it maps the future of peacebuilding and steps global peacebuilding actors need to take to break new ground in peacebuilding. The Platform also maintains an online resource center, featuring publications, events, and other information related to peacebuilding.
Tagline – We work around the world to create space for conflict transformation.
The Berghof Foundation is a Germany initiative that publishes a huge amount of free resources on a wide range of topics related to peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Some publications are general resources and others are focused on specific countries or contexts. Their work also includes conducting research, providing training and consulting services, and implementing practical projects aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation. I find their website easy to navigate and their resources super practical, informative, and well organized.
Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA)
Tagline – International Peace Research Association Affiliation
The Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) is a professional association for academics and peace scholars. They manage a network and host virtual events to connect academics, educators and activists, and leverage this network to produce resources on peace studies curriculum development, interdisciplinary research, and peace learning opportunities. Some resources on their site are open access and some are for members only. Open-access resources include peace studies directories, teaching materials, virtual events, and access to their online magazine The Peace Chronicle and the two journals they manage, the Journal of Transdisciplinary Peace Praxis (JTTP) and Journal of Resistance Studies (JRS).
International Peace Institute (IPI) and the IPI Global Observatory
Tagline (IPI)– We are dedicated to managing risk and building resilience to promote peace, security, and sustainable development.
Tagline (IPI Global Observatory – We provide timely analysis on trends and issues related to global security.
The International Peace Institute (IPI) conducts research, analysis, and policy recommendations on global conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and multilateral diplomacy. Their focus areas include the UN, regional organizations, peace operations, and gender and peacebuilding. They also convene high-level meetings and events to facilitate dialogue and exchange among policymakers, experts, and practitioners in the field of international peace and security. On their website you can always find interesting webinars with discussions with UN officials and high level policymakers, and they are good about posting all the videos for reference. They regularly publish articles, interviews, and analysis pieces on conflict dynamics, peacebuilding, and solutions-oriented journalism in their online publication called IPI Global Observatory.
War Prevention Initiative (WPI) and Peace Science Digest
Tagline (WPI) – We support peacebuilding to resolve global conflicts and create a world without war.
Tagline (Peace Science Digest) – Peace Science Made Accessible, Understandable, and Useful.
The War Prevention Initiative (WPI) focuses their efforts on transforming the global security paradigm to promote alternatives to violence and militarism in an effort to create a world beyond war. They conduct research on militarism and peacebuilding practice, and they coordinate advocacy efforts with policymakers to challenge militarism. They also have produced some simple ‘peace briefs’ for download on a range of themes which are useful for regular people to learn practical approaches to build peace. I’ve been a fan of their Peace Science Digest for some years now, their online publication of articles that summarize peer-reviewed research on topics related to peacebuilding and conflict resolution in an accessible format. It features articles on diverse topics such as the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance, the impact of gender on peacebuilding, and the role of communication in conflict transformation.
Transcend and Transcend Media Service (TMS)
Tagline (Transcend)– A peace development environment network.
Tagline (TMS) – Solutions-oriented peace journalism.
Transcend is a peacebuilding network led by peace scholar Johan Galtung that aims to transform conflicts by addressing their root causes and promoting nonviolent solutions. They offer a wide range of services including mediation and training, and they also conduct research and advocacy on issues related to peacebuilding. They manage a global network of experts and practitioners in the field, and through their network they publish news and analysis in a weekly online publication called Transcend Media Service (TMS). TMS aims to provide an alternative perspective to mainstream media coverage of conflict and to promote nonviolent solutions to global challenges. TMS articles tend to be more academic oriented.
Tagline – a practice and research institute dedicated to advancing effective peacebuilding
Swisspeace specializes in research, training, and mediation to prevent violent conflicts and promote peace. It conducts research on topics related to peacebuilding, and provides training and coaching to individuals, organizations, and governments on conflict prevention, mediation, and dialogue. It also supports peace processes by providing technical expertise and advising mediators and other peacebuilding actors. Swisspeace just has a huge amount of free downloadable reports, policy briefs, working papers, and other resources on a wide array of peacebuilding topics. Do a search for the topic of your interest and you are sure to find something interesting.
Toda Peace Institute
Tagline – A non-violent, sustainable and peaceful world.
The Toda Peace Institute is a research and policy institute that aims to promote sustainable peace through innovative research, dialogue, and education. The Institute focuses on a wide range of issues related to peace and security, including conflict prevention, peacebuilding, disarmament, and environmental sustainability. I find their research to be interesting because it targets some topics that have little resources available, like social media, technology and climate change, all related to efforts to build peace. Toda is based in Japan and also has some resources and reports on peacebuilding in the Asia region.
European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO)
Tagline – An independent civil society platform of European NGOs, networks of NGOs and think tanks that are committed to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict.
The European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) is a network of European NGOs and think tanks committed to the prevention and resolution of violent conflict. The organization focuses on promoting a global peace agenda and supports conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives in countries and regions affected by violence and conflict. The EPLO works to develop and advocate for common positions among European peacebuilding organizations, and provides expert analysis, policy recommendations, and advocacy support to European decision-makers on peace and security issues. The EPLO itself doesn’t conduct research and publishes few reports beyond their own policy papers, however on their website they have a list of publications by their network members, many of which they provided support in the research and publication process. This is a useful resource since the EPLO works with many smaller NGOs and think tanks which publish few reports and wouldn’t make it into this blog post individually, but combined this list of publications is impressive.
Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO)
Tagline – We conduct research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people.
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on a range of topics related to armed conflict, including conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding, and human security. The institute aims to produce research that can inform policy and contribute to the development of peaceful solutions to conflict. PRIO has been around since 1964 and has a huge array of research reports, resources and academic publications all with open access. Have a search for any topic of interest and you are sure to find something. They also regularly post blog and news articles, and they host webinars and provide recordings of events.
Institute for Integrated Transitions
Tagline – Creative and evidence-informed strategies for inclusive peace, democracy and transition
The Initiative for Peacebuilding-Transitions (IFIT) supports peacebuilding efforts in fragile and conflict-affected countries. It does so by providing technical assistance to help design and implement peace processes, and by conducting research and analysis on peacebuilding transitions. They operate via a unique model that involves the interaction between thematic experts and country experts in an effort to provide more integrated analysis and solutions for peace. They have a number of publications available for download on their website, organized in four categories: law and peace, inclusive narratives, transition assistance, and polarization. I find their reports on inclusive narratives to be very unique and insightful, particularly for those working in social cohesion efforts and/or any effort involving peace advocacy, peace media, social media, or communications.
Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania
Tagline – We transform the way the world deals with conflicts, working from the local to the global levels.
I have followed the work of the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR) for some years now. They are a Romanian organization that work locally and internationally. They facilitate trainings, run projects and conduct research. On their website you can find some really cool resources on peace education, project toolkits, guides for volunteers, reports on peace infrastructures, on social enterprises, and a bunch of other interesting topics. I find their resources to be practical for those planning and carrying out peacebuilding projects.
International Catalan Institute for Peace
The International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) is an organization based in Catalonia, Spain, conducts research, facilitates workshops, and hosts seminars and events. I find this group to be unique because they are connected both to promoting peace in their local Catalonia and internationally, and they are very creative. They have local in-person events with young people, and have cool projects like hip-hop contest/awards for peace and art exhibitions.
ICIP publishes edgy reports like applying international law to private military companies, demilitarization of education, and addressing issues with companies operating in conflict situations. They have unique focus areas that cover peacebuilding in non-war contexts and alternatives to security, and also research on topics of peace journalism and feminist peacebuilding. Check them out for a non-traditional approach. They also publish a regular magazine called Peace in Progress. Reports in English, Spanish, and Catalan.
Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative (Inclusive Peace)
Tagline – Setting change in motion
Inclusive Peace focuses on promoting inclusive approaches to peacebuilding and conflict resolution. They work towards ensuring that peace processes are inclusive, representative, and responsive to the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders, including marginalized groups. They conduct research, advise policymakers, and provide technical support to governments, mediators, and civil society organizations to help facilitate inclusive peace processes.
European Institute of Peace
Tagline – Shaping conflict resolution
The European Institute of Peace (EIP) focuses on resolving conflicts through mediation, dialogue, peace process support, and diplomacy with a focus on European contexts. They conduct research, provide policy recommendations, facilitate dialogue initiatives, and build capacity in mediation to foster inclusive and durable peace agreements. On their website you can find some cool downloads, including some country specific ones, and other thematic ones on gender, climate, mediation, etc. all related to peacebuilding. They also do periodic webinars.
CDA Collaborative Learning
Tagline – Practical learning with international action
The Collaborative for Development Action (CDA Collaborative Learning) works with partners to promote innovative solutions to complex development challenges around the world. Their key approach is centered around building relationships and fostering collaborative processes that lead to sustainable change. One key area of their work since 1999 is promoting peacebuilding effectiveness. They conduct research and evaluations, and from this have developed a range of resource guides and analysis papers available on their website all associated with promoting peacebuilding effectiveness.
Center for Peace and Conflict Studies
Tagline – CPCS invests in individual peace leaders in Asia, to bolster their effectiveness and impact on peace and conflict transformation.
I’ve been a fan of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) for many years now. They are a research and training institute based in Cambodia, that has some really innovative grassroots approaches, particularly the reports based on their community listening surveys. On their website you can find handbooks on how to carry out their listening methodology for research, on local infrastructures for peace, on facilitating peacebuilding in online spaces, on peacebuilding narratives, and on how to use their approach for dialogue facilitation in divided societies. They also publish reports on conflict in the Asia region and host regional conferences.
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
Tagline – A network of people building peace
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global network of civil society organizations (CSOs) working to prevent violent conflict and promote peacebuilding. GPPAC works to strengthen capacity of CSOs working in conflict situations and involved in peacebuilding efforts. They also advocate for the inclusion of civil society in peace negotiations and decision-making processes at the local, national, and international levels.
GPPAC produces regular briefs to advocate for policy changes, and they produce a lot resource guides, manuals, case studies, reports and other practical resources for CSO peacebuilders. They have resources on environment, gender, financing, and tons of other topics all as relevant to peacebuilding efforts. This is another one where you can go in and do a search for whatever topic you are looking for and you’ll probably find something interesting. They also have a bunch of webinar videos available to see across all topics.
United Network of Young Peacebuilders
Tagline – The leading global community of young peacebuilders building a world free from all forms of violence.
The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders) is a global network of youth-led organizations, initiatives, and movements that was founded in 1989. UNOY offers a platform for youth-led peacebuilding organizations to connect, share experiences, and collaborate, and also advocates for youth participation and representation in peacebuilding efforts at all levels. They have toolkits, reports and other resources across four categories: 1) campaigning, 2) peace education, 3) organisational development, and 4) evidence advocating for youth peacebuilding.
Center for Humanitarian Dialogue
Tagline – Preventing and resolving armed conflicts around the world through mediation and discreet diplomacy.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) specializes in mediation and dialogue for the prevention, management, and resolution of armed conflicts. They work behind-the-scenes to facilitate negotiations, build trust, and create spaces for dialogue among conflicting parties engaging with governments, international organizations, and local stakeholders. They publish a lot of practical guidance materials for mediation and dialogue facilitation of all types, including thematic papers that integrate topics like gender, conservation, technology, and others in mediation.
The United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
The United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is the department of the United Nations (UN) that provides support to the UN Secretary-General and his envoys in their peace initiatives, as well as to UN political missions around the world. The DPPA monitors and assesses global political developments to detect potential crises and devise UN-led responses. Reports and resources produced by DPPA are made available through an online platform they created called United Nations Peacemaker. This platform provides a wide range of reports and resource downloads to support to anyone involved in peace negotiations and mediation efforts worldwide. They also have a database of peace agreements worldwide since the founding of the UN, and a database of mediation networks. Needless to say, their resources are all focused on mediation.
The DPPA provides oversight to all peacebuilding mechanisms of the UN, namely the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).
See below for descriptions of each and an outline of reports and resources available on their respective websites.
UN Peacebuilding Commission
The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is a UN advisory body that supports peace efforts in conflict-affected countries and provides technical support to the UN global peace agenda. The PBC is composed of 31 Member States, elected from the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council. The PBC produces a large amount of policy briefs, statements, event and meeting notes, resolutions, reports, and other publicly available documents on UN Peacebuilding efforts and initiatives. Refer to the PBC to find any information you need on UN peacebuilding efforts.
The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office
The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) assists the PBC and directly manages the PBF, and works to enhance system-wide coherence and partnerships with UN and non-UN actors to support peacebuilding efforts worldwide. No resources are available on their website directly, but it is linked to the PBF which they manage and lots of resources on there (see below)
UN Peacebuilding Fund and key UN agencies receiving PFF funds
The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is a UN financial mechanism established to support peacebuilding efforts in countries emerging from conflict. It aims to prevent the recurrence of violence, consolidate peace, and foster sustainable development. The fund provides grants to national and international organizations working on projects that promote peace, security, and social cohesion. PBF funds are primarily delivered through UN agencies, who in turn operate projects through partner organizations. The PBF publishes key guidance, toolkits, and resources guiding UN agencies on carrying out peacebuilding initiatives around the world.
Top recipients of PBF funds are United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Women, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). While these UN agencies manage peacebuilding efforts around the world, none of them conducts significant research on peacebuilding or regularly produces publicly available resources on peacebuilding. You may find some useful resources, but publication of these tends to be quite random and dependent on projects and funding in any given moment.
UNAOC (UN Alliance of Civilizations)
Tagline – UNAOC explores the roots of polarization between societies and cultures today, and recommends a practical programme of action to address this issue.
I’m not sure why the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is not a major recipient of PBF funds because they are the only UN agency that produces any substantial resources on peacebuilding. UNAOC is an initiative of the UN that aims to promote intercultural understanding and dialogue and to build bridges between cultures and religions. UNAOC seeks to counter the polarization and extremism that can arise from cultural differences by promoting respect for diversity and intercultural dialogue. They publish some cool toolkits and other resources on sport and peace, youth peacebuilding, interfaith peacebuilding, intercultural dialogue, culture of peace, and other topics. They also have a fellowship for young peacebuilders, conduct trainings, host a film festival, produce peacelearning resources for teachers, manage a youth peacebuilding innovation hub, and have developed a peacebuilding app.
Life and Peace Institute
The Life & Peace Institute (LPI) works to promote inclusive peacebuilding practice. They conduct collaborative projects with local communities in conflict affected contexts predominantly in Africa and they engage in international policy advocacy. A lot of their reports raise the voices of local peacebuilders on topics like peacebuilding financing, UN peacebuilding architecture and global peace infrastructures, participatory research and policy engagement, lessons on peacebuilding practice, and other topics. Having a review of their resources, you can see that they are champions for local peacebuilding.
Search for Common Ground
Tagline – We are the world’s largest peacebuilding organization. We help supposed enemies learn to trust each other, create avenues for collaboration, and generate breakthroughs for peace.
Search for Common Ground (SFCG) operates a wide array of peacebuilding efforts with local partners in over 30 countries. Their main focus is on bringing people from different backgrounds together to find common ground and build sustainable peace. And while their peacebuilding initiatives take a diversity of approaches I find their media and communication programs to be particularly innovative and unique.
Their resources page is hidden on the bottom of their website at the moment, but through that you can find a lot of manuals, toolkits and guidance materials on a wide array of approaches media and peacebuilding, training materials, and also resources on design, monitoring and evaluation for peacebuilding.
Peace Direct (and Peace Insight)
Tagline – Supporting local people to stop war and build lasting peace in some of the world’s most fragile countries.
Peace Direct manages a global network of locally led peacebuilding initiatives and focuses their efforts on empowering grassroots peacebuilders and advocating on their behalf. They do great work in the area of promotion of local peacebuilding initiatives and advocacy for decolonizing peacebuilding efforts globally, and additionally they provide unique perspectives and resources on a range or practical topics for peacebuilders. They conduct regular collaborative research studies inviting contributions from local peacebuilders around the world. Their website has a range of practical resources for download and they manage an online publication called Peace Insight.
Tagline – We highlight the invaluable work of local peacebuilders around the world.
Peace Insight is an online publication that provides timely analysis about conflict situations around the world and information local peacebuilding efforts, with regular contributions from local peacebuilders in the Peace Direct network. The platform aggregates news, reports, and other resources related to peacebuilding in different countries and regions, and offers perspectives from local peacebuilding initiatives.
Tagline – A global team of humanitarians working together on the front lines of today’s biggest crises to create a future of possibility, where everyone can prosper.
Mercy Corps operates emergency response, sustainable community development, and peacebuilding programs to communities affected by crisis, conflict, and poverty. They work in over 40 countries and they operate peacebuilding programs and also a wide array of other types of programs that are not peace related. Their peacebuilding programming includes supporting community-level peacebuilding efforts, promoting conflict sensitivity and inclusion in its programs, and partnering with local organizations to address the root causes of conflict and build more peaceful societies.
You can do a search on their resource database for resources related to peacebuilding, and there you’ll find a number of country/region specific resources since their projects are mostly focused on specific countries as well as some practical toolkits and guidance materials that are produced from the learnings across countries.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Tagline – Addressing the root causes of violence through a feminist lens.
Founded in 1915 during World War I, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) works for peace and security by advocating for disarmament, promoting women’s participation in peace processes, and ensuring gender equality worldwide. They manage a network of feminist peacebuilders and feminist peace organizations around the world, and through them publish regular analysis of global conflict and produce guidebooks, policy briefs and other resources to help peacebuilders apply feminist peace approaches.
The Network of Religious and Traditional Peacebuilders
Tagline – Strengthening peacemaking by collaboratively supporting the positive role of religious and traditional actors in peace and peacebuilding processes.
The Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (Peacemakers Network) manages a network religious and traditional peacebuilders around the world and supports them to prevent and transform violent conflicts through dialogue, mediation, and other peaceful means. They create spaces to bring together diverse groups of peace activists, mediators, civil society leaders, and experts from various fields to engage in a dialogue and identify creative solutions to resolve conflict and address specific threats to peace. The network offers training, capacity building, and other resources to support local peacebuilding initiatives and strengthen the skills of peace practitioners. Their website offers a number of reports designed for specific geographic regions and also offers general resource guides on topics of dialogue, mediation, and reconciliation with a focus on religious and traditional peacemakers.
Tagline – Making peace possible.
Conciliation Resources (CR) supports locally-led peacebuilding initiatives and builds the capacity of local peacebuilders to address the drivers of conflict. They also facilitate dialogue between different parties to the conflict, and work towards building inclusive and sustainable peace processes. Additionally, they conduct research and advocate for policies that support peacebuilding efforts globally. Their website includes an absolutely massive database of toolkits, policy briefs, reports, and other resources covering tons of peacebuilding topics. They also have a cool publication called Accord that have been publishing practical lessons and innovations of peacebuilding since the 90s.
Tagline – Preventing violence and building lasting peace.
Interpeace is a peacebuilding focused organization with nearly 30 years in the field that takes a collaborative approach, working with local partners to identify and address the root causes of conflict, engaging a diversity of stakeholders in the process. Interpeace operates programs in over 20 countries and is involved in lots of efforts for peace oriented policy engagement at the global level. They have tons of reports on a wide array of peacebuilding topics, a bunch of webinar videos, and an impressive looking huge guidebook on how to write constitutions in ways that promote peace.
Tagline – Solving the root causes of conflict with people from across divides.
International Alert (IA) is a peacebuilding organization that works with local partners and communities to find peaceful solutions to conflicts, and address the root causes of violence and instability. Their approach includes conflict analysis, mediation, capacity building, and advocacy for policies and programs that support peace. Their website has a ton of toolkits, guidebooks and reports on a huge amount of topics, interestingly also including lots on business and economics for peace.
Peace Nexus Foundation
Tagline – Strengthening Organisations, Enabling Collaboration, Building Peace
The Peace Nexus Foundation (Peace Nexus) provides strategic advice, offers capacity-building support, and facilitates partnerships to enhance the impact of peacebuilding interventions. They collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, and private sector actors, to promote inclusive and sustainable peace processes. They do a lot of interesting work on inclusive governance and responsible business. And you can find some great resrouces on their website on conflict sensitivity, business and peace, and organizational development for peace organizations.
Swathmore College Peace Collection
Tagline – The most extensive research library and archive collection in the United States focusing solely on movements for peace around the world.
This one is a go-to database for everything peacebuilding and peace history. The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is located at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA. It has a publically accessible and extensive archival and research repository dedicated to the study of peace and nonviolent social change. The collection houses a wide range of materials including books, manuscripts, photographs, and audiovisual recordings related to peace movements and peacebuilding efforts. The collection’s focus spans both historical and contemporary aspects of peace activism, covering topics such as anti-war movements, disarmament, human rights, and conflict resolution. A lot of stuff is available that can be accessed virtually, but I think there is a lot that needs to be accessed by a visit to the physical site of the collection. On the website you can book an appointment to visit the physical site of the collection.
The School for a Culture of Peace (Escola de Cultura de Pau) | Autonomous University of Barcelona
Tagline – We carry out research, teaching, awareness-raising and intervention activities in order to promote a culture of peace and nonviolent transformation of conflicts.
The School for a Culture of Peace (Escola de Cultura de Pau) is a research and training center located at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. Their main focus of research and is a yearbook they publish that provides an analysis of the state of peace in the world tracking global data in three categories: armed conflicts, socio-political crises and gender, peace and security. The yearbook is very comprehensive, and from it they publish a number of information-dense infographics. They have another yearbook tracking peace process negotiations worldwide. They also have other papers and reports about specific conflict situations that you can download on their site.
Center for Justice and Peacebuilding | Eastern Mennonite University
Tagline – We educate a global community of peacebuilders through the integration of practice, theory and research.
The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) is part of the Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Virginia, USA. As CJP learning programs are designed to help students develop practical skills for building peace, so too are the resources they publish and provide on their website. There are a bunch of free downloadable resrouces on their website organized across the topics of restorative justice, racial healing and reconciliation, trauma healing and resilience, tools for analyzing conflict, practices for working on conflict, and violent extremism. They also have all of their books in the series ‘Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding’ available on their website. Awesome books, and there are over twenty of them.
Center on International Cooperation | New York University (NYU)
Tagline – Advancing Effective Multilateral Action to Prevent Crises and Build Peace, Justice, and Inclusion
The Center on International Cooperation (CIC) is a research center based at New York University (NYU). They focus on analyzing and providing policy recommendations on peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Their research spans across various regions, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and there are over 1000 publications listed on their searchable database. Some topics you can search for in their database include crisis prevention, peace data, peacebuilding financing, social justice and peace, peace in our cities, and young peace leaders, among others. They also host regular events like high-level meetings, forums, roundtable discussions, webinars, dialogues, and more.
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies | University of Notre Dame
Tagline – We study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace.
The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame has a research department. Faculty and fellows of the Institute conduct research on issues related to peace. There are tuns of links to publications on their website, some free to the public while others in paid academic journals. You can search by topic or year. Some topics include: artificial intelligence, social media, political violence, intersectionality, PeaceTech, and peacebuilding strategy, among others. They also host a number of events, conferences, and workshops to facilitate dialogue and build networks among peace scholars and practitioners.
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies | University of San Diego
Tagline – Learning. To end violence.
The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego includes a searchable research database where you can download a range of publications. Themes listed in the search option at time of writing include: emerging leaders, community-police relations, San Diego and cross border, violence and conflict, and women, peace and security. The Kroc School also hosts a variety of events, seminars, and workshops.
Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace | Payap University
Tagline – Preparing peacebuilders for the creation of a just and peaceful world.
I visited this one once many years ago and was very impressed with the founder/director Dr. Mark Tamthai. The Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab (RCPL), formerly known as the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace (IRCP) is part of Payap University in Northern Thailand and is dedicated to the study and promotion of peaceful coexistence. There is a long list of publications by students and faculty on their website. Students come from all over the world so research publications on the site are associated with conflict all over the world, however as the peace lab is based in Thailand, there is a larger focus on the Asia region.
Purdue Peace Project | Purdue University
Tagline – To advance knowledge about political violence prevention at the local, community level.
The Purdue Peace Project (PPP) is a research initiative at Purdue University in Indiana, USA. Their education programs, activities, and publications tend to focus on developing a better understanding of political violence and its prevention. Publications from faculty are posted on their website and include journal articles, book chapters, conference presentations, published reports, presentations, and other articles.
Center for International Cooperation | New York University
Tagline – We strengthen cooperative approaches among national governments, international organizations, and the wider policy community to prevent crises, and advance peace, justice, and inclusion.
The Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University (NYU) is a research institution focused on addressing global challenges through innovative and collaborative approaches. CIC conducts research, publishes reports and hosts events to promote peace, justice and inclusion in the world. They have three peacebuilding-specific programme areas including crisis prevention and peacebuilding, data for peacebuilding and prevention, and good peacebuilding financing.
Tagline – To promote peacefulness through the study of societies that are already peaceful.
I’ve been a fan of this one for a while now. Peaceful Societies is an initiative coming out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It is an online resource that focuses on studying and documenting ‘peaceful societies’, basically communities and cultures that prioritize nonviolence and peaceful coexistence. The website provides information about various peaceful societies around the world, highlighting their unique social structures, conflict resolution practices, and sustainable lifestyles. It includes a searchable database of peaceful societies around the world, each with a brief overview of the society and links to published articles about them. There are also free, downloadable articles about the patterns found across peaceful societies and how we can use what we learn from the study of peaceful societies to build peaceful societies where we live.
Peace History Society
Tagline – n/a
Founded in 1964, The Peace History Society is dedicated to promoting and preserving peace history, including the study of peace movements, nonviolent conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. The society seeks to provide a forum for scholars, teachers, activists, and others interested in peace history to exchange ideas, collaborate on research, and support each other’s work. It also seeks to educate the broader public about the importance of peace history and its relevance to contemporary issues. They host regular conferences. The website is old, but it is kept up to date on information about events, publications, and activities of network members.
Transnational Institute (TNI)
Tagline – We strengthen international social movements with rigorous research, reliable information, sound analysis and constructive proposals that advance progressive, democratic policy change and common solutions to global problems.
Transnational Institute (TNI) is a justice-oriented international research and advocacy institute based in the Netherlands. They work in partnership with social movements and civil society organizations to bring about positive change in the world. The institute conducts research and publishes content on a huge amount of global issues, and has critical analysis on topics including border militarization, the war on terror, security policy, authoritarianism, corporate power, political repression, and environmental justice, among many others.
Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
Tagline – We are a progressive organization dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements, we turn transformative policy ideas into action.
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and analysis on a variety of social and political issues, including peace in foreign policy and a broad array of relevant social justice issues. The organization was founded in 1963 and has a long history of advocating for social justice and peace, working to promote progressive policies both domestically and internationally. Their work includes publications, events, and advocacy campaigns aimed at promoting greater equality, justice, and democracy. One amazing project of theirs is the National Priorities Project which fights for a demilitarization of the US budget and a transition towards a peace economy.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Tagline – We work to inspire people to act on injustice and inequality. Through research, convening and influencing, we generate ideas that matter for people and planet.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is a global think tank based in the United Kingdom that focuses on international development. They conduct research, provide policy advice, and offer practical solutions to address complex development challenges. Their work covers a wide range of areas, and you can search their database to find articles and publications on topics like peacebuilding, decolonization, violent conflict, system reform, anti-racism, corruption, and many other topics.
International Crisis Group
Tagline – We work to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) provides analysis and advice on conflicts around the world, with the aim of preventing and resolving deadly conflict. It conducts research, produces reports and briefings, and provides field-based analysis on conflicts and potential conflicts in over 50 countries. I used ICG reports a lot for the many years I was working to support civil society peacebuilding groups in Myanmar, and later while working in other contexts. I find their reports to be timely and insightful, covering specific issues within the countries they report on.
United States Institute for Peace (USIP)
Tagline – We link research, policy, training, analysis and direct action to support those who are working to build a more peaceful, inclusive world.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was founded by the U.S. Congress to advise US politicians on national and global security issues. They are one of the primary publishers of content on peacebuilding globally. Under the guise of peace, they publish huge amounts of content to justify US military expansion and interventionism all over the world. They mobilize enormous resources to influence domestic and international opinion to sway in favor of US involvement in global violent conflict and against enemies of the US. Reading any of their reports, participating in their events or trainings, and using any of their tools is not recommended as USIP is not considered as an organization that genuinely works for peace.
Use this as a resource. Share with your friends!
So there are many organizations and institutions that are conducting research and publishing great reports and resources on tons of topics associated with building peace that can be helpful for you in any peace effort you are involved in. I hope that you found some great resources in this blog post, that you downloaded some cool reports form some of these that you can use in your peace efforts.
Don’t forget to sign up for some email lists of some of these organizations to get announcements of new reports, job openings, and upcoming events. AND…. of course, if you aren’t yet subscribed to our newsletter (the best peacebuilding newsletter in my opinion!) be sure to subscribe by clicking HERE. I send out a weekly list of all the best resources coming out from a broad range of global efforts to build peace. People love it!
And if you’re looking for more information about peacebuilding check out our Resources page! There are many other great resources out there. This is part of a series of blog posts I write mapping peacebuilding organizations – working on themes like gender and peacebuilding, environmental peacebuilding, peace education, technology and peace, and many more.
And finally, if I missed any good think tanks on peacebuilding that you think are great please add them to the comments below.
Taylor O’Connor, MA Peace Education, UN Mandated University for Peace, 2009. Taylor is a rebellious peacebuilder, peace educator, and founder of the blog Everyday Peacebuilding. Freelance Peacebuilding Technical Specialist by day, he’s working to make insights from peacebuilding practice relevant and practical to wider audiences. If you’d like to learn some creative and strategic ways you can build peace in your life and in the world around you, get his free handout 198 Actions for Peace – also good for educational settings.
Tags: Peace, Peace Building, Peace Research, Resources
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