Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Don't Think Tanks Study Peace?

Today Jon Temin in Foreign Policy asks "why don't the policymakers and practitioners looking to end the world's deadliest wars spend more time studying peace?"  He says that much time and resources are spent understanding sources of violence, without making nearly as much effort understand why certain places and people resist violence.

Here is more:
So why do the building blocks of peace get so little attention? Part of the problem is that there is little incentive to study peace. The day-to-day excitement and drama of conflict zones is attractive, and conflict-focused donors rarely fund analyses of peaceful places. Think tanks and policy institutes are not often inclined to support such work either -- and good luck getting the media to pay attention. There may be more focus on the ingredients of peace in academia, but the stubborn divide between academics and practitioners persists, and those making difficult policy decisions or implementing programs rarely consume relevant work done in the Ivory Tower.

One of his conclusions is that peacebuilders need to rethink the balance between studying violence and peace.  He also says that donors should provide consistent funding for analyses of places and people who are not in conflict.

Mr. Temin is the Director of the Africa Programs at the US Institute of Peace (USIP).