Peacebuilding Overview

January 26, 2012

Peacebuilding is the set of initiatives by diverse actors, including civil society, to address the root causes of violence and protect civilians before, during, and after violent conflict.

For many years, U.S. nonprofit organizations have helped pave the way for peace by bringing fighting factions together and providing alternatives to violence as a means of redressing grievances. Unfortunately, the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP) upheld the law defining prohibited “material support” of terrorism to include conflict prevention and resolution activities aimed at getting terrorist groups to lay down their arms.



Headlines & Opinion

2012 & 2013

2010 & 2011


Study: Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation

June 17, 2015

There is a growing consensus that laws prohibiting support to listed entities “have contributed to a ‘shrinking space’ for those seeking to establish the conditions conducive to peace.” This is the conclusion of a groundbreaking March 2015 report by the Transnational Institute, Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation

Handbook Explores Different Approaches to Peacebuilding

June 20, 2013

“In order for peacebuilding to be successful,” the ACCORD Peacebuilding Handbook says, “there is a strong need to understand local contexts and to develop strategies that address root causes of conflict.”  Released in April 2013, the Handbook provides an introductory look at the various actors involved in and phases of peacebuilding efforts and identifies different approaches that practitioners have used in recent history when trying to end conflicts nonviolently. “As can be expected from such an ambitious undertaking, a large variety of peacebuilding tasks are conducted at different levels (grass-roots, sub-national, national and international) and at different stages of a conflict-to-peace spectrum (pre-conflict through to post-conflict environments),” it says. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a conflict management organization based in Durban, South Africa, and has worked with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi.

USIP Report: Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Perspective

September 11, 2013

The United States Institute for Peace's Georgia Holmer published the report Countering Violent Extremism, a Peacebuiling Perspective on Aug. 29, 2013.  It examines theories and practive of preventing terrorism by countering violent extremism (CVE) and points out the need for strong civil society participation in this arena.  She recommends that "Peacebuilders and peacebuilding practice can contribute to and enhance the CVE agenda in several ways.." These include:

Report: 2015 Global Peace Index

June 24, 2015

On June 17, 2015, the Institute for Economics & Peace released the 2015 Global Peace Index, a study highlighting trends of peace and violence around the world. It ranks independent states based on several qualitative and qualitative indicators, as well as assesses global peace by the degree of safety and security in society, the scale of domestic and international conflict and the extent of militarization.

Nonprofit and Legal Experts Respond to Supreme Court Ruling in Humanitarian Law Project Case

June 21, 2010

On June 21, 2010, a divided U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal statute that bans support to designated terrorist organizations, even when defined to include conflict mediation, human rights training and peace-building efforts aimed at turning terrorist groups away from violence. That same day the Charity and Security Network (CSN) and the Constitution Project (CP) held a press conference to comment on the ruling. An audio file of the entire teleconference, including reactions to the decision and a question and answer period from national media, is available here. 

Impact on Women: Counterterrorism Laws and Policies Restricting Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Work

August 19, 2015

A new C&SN Issue Brief examines the impact on women of counterterrorism laws and policies restricting peacebuilding and humanitarian work. It looks at the disproportionate effect that armed conflict has on women, shines a light on the role women are taking in these global hot spots to improve their lives and their communities, and explains how empowering legislation would allow U.S.


June 24, 2015
Audio Recording Now Available

Click on the link above to access the audio file with slides for this webinar

Building Peace in Permanent War: 
Counterterrorism Laws and Constraints on Peacebuilding
Five Years after Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

Wednesday, June 24    9:30-10:30 a.m. (EST)


Vicki Sentas, Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales 
Louis Boon-Kuo, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Lisa Schirch, Director of Human Security, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, former U.S. State Dept. Senior Advisory for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, currently with the
New America Foundation

The groundbreaking report, Building Peace in Permanent War, Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation, provides empirical data on how counterterrorism legislation has affected peacebuilding practice at the local and international level. Co-authors Sentas and Boon-Kuo will discuss their report, with commentary from Schirch and Tillemann.