The Center for Global Peace’s activities are covered by four initiatives. The Center’s four strategic initiatives are:
- PEACE RESEARCH & EDUCATION INITIATIVE - undertaking research and partnerships that address underlying sources of conflict through the development of local and cross-cultural resources for peacebuilding and community empowerment initiatives which cultivate shared visions of security in community.
The Islamic Peacebuilding Program focuses on the challenges of peaceful change, interpretation of Islamic sources and rediscovery of core Islamic values through the lens of the Islamic principles for plurality, dialogue, coexistence and reconciliation. This initiative endeavors to uncover the embedded theories and methodologies that Islam has to contribute in addressing contemporary issues, and undertakes research and curriculum development which will reflect the richness of Islamic understandings on international peace and conflict resolution, human rights and democracy.
The Foundations of Global Peace Program offers a series of research and educational activities to facilitate student involvement with IPCR and the Center’s Academic Council faculty members in meeting global challenges through transforming thought into action. Through an annual joint faculty-student proposal process, research, conferences and fieldwork will be supported in such areas as Business as Peace Partners, Environmental Sustainability, Dignity as a Human Right, Peace and Development, and States in Transition. A subcommittee of the Center’s Academic Council, in consultation with the Director, will determine the parameters for funding, including the contribution of the proposal to ongoing work through the Center.
- CIVIC ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE – reaching out to underrepresented communities and traumatized post-conflict societies in transition to support local capacity building and institutional stability as a basis for inclusive governance, and positive, transformational change.
The Youth Program is a comprehensive educational and social development program, designed to increase the social capital of youth through identifying and extending social relationships and networks, which help young people expand opportunities in education, employment, and civic participation. Investing in “Building Social Networks to Increase Social Capital” increases both individual and community social capital through relationships based on trust, shared interests, and interactions, which are essential for creating and maintaining thriving democratic civil societies. The Youth Program will work through adult community and peer youth facilitators to help young people determine the relationships and networks they already have, how others can be generated, and the ways in which new technologies, including social networking internet sites, can help young people engage more fully in their communities.
The Tribalism Program recognizes the tribal unit as an indigenous civil society organization. In the Middle East today, tribes represent a vibrant part of civil society that offer a safe space for open discussion and have the necessary attributes to support a democratic transition under the proper conditions. Utilizing research, fieldwork and engagement, this program explores how people perceive their tribal identities in order to understand how shared ideas about loyalties, morality, honor and the nature of society relate to concepts of civil society, good governance and democracy. The concept of a civil society implies a social order in which the interests, concerns, and dignity of the "ordinary person", are taken seriously. Far from being a relic of the past, ‘tribe’ in some modern contexts can be a constructive element in sustaining modern national identity (e.g. Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia) and supporting democratic processes such as elections (i.e. Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar).
- NONVIOLENT CONFLICT RESOLUTION INITIATIVE – supporting human and societal progress through the cultivation of inclusive values and peaceful strategies for transformational change and the establishment of just and equitable communities.
The Geospatial Conflict Mapping Platform is an innovative conflict mapping project in which the factors of conflict analyzed will pertain to many layers of violence and potential peaceful outcomes. The goal of this project is to develop a conflict mapping system that spatially illustrates the multiple dimensions of contemporary conflict in visually dynamic terms. Using Google Earth and Google Maps computer interfaces, this project represents the pioneering integration of Web 2.0 technology and innovative teaching methodologies in the field of International Affairs and Conflict Resolution. This is the first such initiative of its kind, bringing tremendous value to practitioners and scholars from multiple fields interested in the study, resolution, and prevention of conflict.
Future possibilities of the conflict mapping system include exploring conflicts in layers that show the interaction of structural and cultural violence with direct physical violence. Through Google Earth, current conflicts will be rendered, giving everyday users a chance to understand the intricacies of political violence and related conflict resolution and peacebuilding strategies. The demo is a build-out of Afghanistan, and the research team is delving into other conflicts to be incorporated into the model.
The Localizing Peace Program seeks to strengthen and stabilize local resources using cultural, environmental and religious institutions and community dispute resolution systems. Local tools are the best way to ensure sustainable peace, and the national and international levels can best help to support peace in conflict-torn regions through bottom-up approaches using existing local peacebuilding structures. Researching these local peace tools will be the initial primary focus of this program. The research team will establish a literary bibliography on the subject matter and then delve into new research in local peace resources, building a multi-lingual approach to peacebuilding that can be used in a classroom framework or in the academic field of Peace and Conflict Resolution to broaden its traditional approaches. The research will form the basis for a graduate level course “Localizing Peace: Community Embedded Capacities” offered at American University, spring 2010.
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE – promoting research and practices which raise awareness of the key interrelationships between conscientious environmental stewardship, culture, economic and political actions and the conditions necessary for human dignity and thriving.
The globally-peer reviewed Journal of Peacebuilding and Development was launched in 2002, as a forum for the sharing of critical thinking and constructive action on issues at the intersections of conflict, development and peace. The publication, now releasing its 13th issue, endeavors to capture and examine critical peacebuilding and development topics and questions that challenge our era, and aims to develop theory-practice and South-North dialogues that advance collaborative efforts and people-centered development.