Peace War And Defense Essays In Peace Research Grants

About the grant 

Ever since the Peace Research Grants Fund was created in 2002, IPRAF has awarded grants to help fund peace research projects in places as diverse as Argentina, Bosnia, inner city communities in the United States, the Middle East, the Philippines, the Punjab, and Uganda.  Please see Small Peace Research Grants for details of the many wonderful projects we have funded from 2002 through 2012.  The original “Small Peace Research Grants Program” was replaced by the current IPRA Foundation Peace Research Grants Program in 2013 with larger grants available of up to $5,000, and details about these wonderful projects can be found below.


To apply for a Peace Research Grant, please fill out the application form and email it and the following documents to the Grant Administrator. The current Grant Administrator is Crystal Money.

The Grant Administrator accepts all the required grant application documents, communicates with applicants, sends grant applications to the review committee, collates the committee’s results, informs applicants whether or not they have won an IPRA Foundation Peace Research Grant, and continues to follow up with grant recipients to collect interim and final reports.

Successful applicants agree to include the following in all current and future written and oral presentations related to this research project: “This research was funded by the Peace Research Grant Program of the International Peace Research Association Foundation.” If you are interested in viewing previous recipients, please view the Grant Awardees page.

There are four documents needed to apply for a Peace Research Grant:

  • The application form
  • Your curriculum vita
  • A letter of support from an official of an organization with which you have been associated, on that organization’s letterhead. This letter should be sent directly by its author to Crystal Money  (please email it or have it emailed to the email address below.)
  • Your Project Proposal

The Project Proposal should include your explanation of the problem or research question investigated by the project, the goals of the project, a detailed research strategy, a timeline for completion of the project, a budget, a brief, relevant bibliography, and full contact information (including phone, postal and email address) for three references. The Project Proposal document must not exceed six single-spaced pages exclusive of bibliography with 1 inch margins all around, Times New Roman Font 12. (For suggestions on how to address these issues and to structure the proposal, please consult The Foundation Center Learning Lab.)

The proposal must address how the project furthers the goals and mission of the International Peace Research Association Foundation, which are to advance interdisciplinary research into the conditions of peace and the causes of war and other forms of violence. Peace research is distinguished by its attention to systematic observation or study of conflict phenomena and peace strategies. We are especially interested in projects that investigate how the conditions of peace can be advanced and/or the causes of war and other forms of violence be addressed, including their effects on people and society.

The Project Proposal should also include a dissemination plan that explains how you will share your research and how your research could lead to action that will promote peace.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Our Peace Research Grants do not allow for indirect costs, particularly in the form of facilities or administration.  All funds must be used for the intended research project.

Only one grant will be awarded to any applicant from either the Peace Research Grant Program or the Small Peace Research Grant Program.    If you have previously received a grant, please do not apply for another.


1) Initial Award Date:  Successful applicants will receive 60% of their award at the beginning of the project, i.e. on the initial award date, and the final 40% only after project completion and a final report as described below has been submitted.

2) Project End Date:  The Project Proposal should state the date the project is anticipated to end. After the grant is awarded, the actual completion date may be negotiated with the Grant Administrator.

3) Six Month Progress Report:  A one page progress report 6 months after receiving a grant must be submitted summarizing how the money has been spent to date, what has been accomplished, and identifying obstacles and delays, if any.

4) Report Date:  An applicant must determine the date on which the final project report will be due. The final project written report is a three page, single-spaced final written report to the IPRA Foundation after the project’s completion. This report must identify project outcomes, including what was accomplished and learned. Primary Investigators should also explain additional dissemination and publication plans as part of the project outcomes. This final report must be completed within the timeline submitted in the proposal or within a revised timeline agreed upon with the president of the IPRA Foundation. The outstanding 40% of grant funding will be disbursed upon receipt of this report and all other required materials.

5) Newsletter Article:  In addition, an awardee will provide a brief report on the project and its outcomes written in a style appropriate for the IPRA Foundation Newsletter. This brief report of 250-500 words, is due on the same date as the Final Report Date.

6) Presentation Date:  This date is determined after the award has been granted and consists of an oral presentation at an IPRA or IPRA affiliate meeting.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

Introduction to Peacebuilding

Last Updated: April 25, 2013


The Introduction to Peacebuilding section aims to provide a concise overview of international peacebuilding, with a particular emphasis on the history of the notion, its core components and the main debates surrounding it. The section presents a wide array of perspectives and the evolution of thinking and practice that are shaping the course of peacebuilding. It also provides access to key resources, including academic and policy journals as well as information on universities, research centers, and networks around the world (including in the Global South) that are involved in the study and/or practice of peacebuilding. As the website continues to develop, further research will continuously enlarge and update this database.


Peacebuilding can be defined in many different ways. Scholars, policymakers, and field practitioners have developed different conceptions of peacebuilding, the timeline it is associated with, as well as the main priorities and tasks it entails. The historical development of the notion helps explain why this is the case.

The conceptual origins of peacebuilding

The term "peacebuilding" originated in the field of peace studies more than thirty years ago. In 1975 Johan Galtung coined the term in his pioneering work "Three Approaches to Peace: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, and Peacebuilding." In this article, he posited that "peace has a structure different from, perhaps over and above, peacekeeping and ad hoc peacemaking... The mechanisms that peace is based on should be built into the structure and be present as a reservoir for the system itself to draw up... More specifically, structures must be found that remove causes of wars and offer alternatives to war in situations where wars might occur."1 These observations constitute the intellectual antecedents of today's notion of peacebuilding: an endeavor aiming to create sustainable peace by addressing the "root causes" of violent conflict and eliciting indigenous capacities for peaceful management and resolution of conflict.

John Paul Lederach, another key scholar in the field of peace studies, has called for expanding our understanding of peacebuilding. Peacebuilding, according to him, "is more than post-accord reconstruction" and "is understood as a comprehensive concept that encompasses, generates, and sustains the full array of processes, approaches, and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships. The term thus involves a wide range of activities that both precede and follow formal peace accords. Metaphorically, peace is seen not merely as a stage in time or a condition. It is a dynamic social construct."2 Lederach speaks of conflict transformation as a holistic and multi-faceted approach to managing violent conflict in all its phases. The term signifies an ongoing process of change from negative to positive relations, behavior, attitudes and structures.3 The integrated approach to peacebuilding must take into account the complex and multi-dimensional nature of the human experience and rely on broad social participation. "A sustainable transformative approach suggests that the key lies in the relationship of the involved parties, with all that the term encompasses at the psychological, spiritual, social, economic, political and military levels."4 Cultivating an "infrastructure for peacebuilding" means that "we are not merely interested in 'ending' something that is not desired. We are oriented toward the building of relationships that in their totality form new patterns, processes, and structures."5

Other scholars have been conducting research along similar lines since the 1980s. Meanwhile, throughout the world, well-known international NGOs, as well as local NGOs and community groups were working to help individuals, communities, and societies transform the way they perceive and manage conflicts - a core component of peacebuilding. But since the "peacebuilding industry" had not yet developed, these analyses and field work were considered peripheral to international affairs, much like projects in human rights, civil society, and rural development that were undertaken by UN and bilateral development agencies. Today each of these streams can be considered key areas that comprise overall efforts needed to ensure a sustainable peace. 

In practice, greater awareness of, and reliance upon, peacebuilding approaches have much to do with the changing perceptions of decision makers and analysts about contemporary wars. These differ fundamentally from the images of "classical" wars and decades of bipolar order. Whereas some scholars have shown the similarities between so-called "old" and "new" civil wars,6 part of the literature has been focusing on the changing nature of violent conflicts. Today's wars are sometimes portrayed as being more violent and protracted, more destructive of social, political, and economic infrastructure, resulting in more civilian than combatant deaths. Research teams involved in extensive field research and epidemiological surveys have shown that such analyses were more often based on perceptions than on verified empirical data.7 The publication of the first Human Security Report, in 2005, has also fueled the polemic. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors have documented a dramatic, but largely unknown, decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuse over the past decade. They have also argued that, since the end of the Korean War, in 1953, there has been a clear but uneven decline in battle-deaths around the world.8 The mere existence of such debates illustrate a greater awareness of the human cost of wars as well as of their multiple impacts on societies and states, a diagnosis at the basis of peacebuilding efforts.

The recent developments in the use of the peacebuilding concept are also related to the notion of "human security." Though a relatively new concept, human security is now widely used to describe the complex of interrelated threats associated with civil war, genocide and the displacement of populations. All proponents of human security agree that its primary goal is the protection of individuals. But consensus breaks down over what threats individuals should be protected from. Proponents of the "narrow" concept of human security, which underpins the Human Security Report, focus on violent threats to individuals, while recognizing that these threats are strongly associated with poverty, lack of state capacity and various forms of socio-economic and political inequity.9 Proponents of the "broad" concept of human security articulated in the UN Development Program's 1994, Human Development Report, and the Commission on Human Security's 2003 report, Human Security Now, argue that the threat agenda should be broadened to include hunger, disease and natural disasters because these kill far more people than war, genocide and terrorism combined. Although still subject to lively debate within the research community, the two approaches to human security are complementary. Together, they result in a redefinition of traditional understandings of security and peace to one of a positive state of being and feeling "secure." This redefinition has informed the evolution of peacebuilding thinking. While continuing to work closely with governments and their traditional "top-down" approach, many bilateral and multilateral cooperation agencies have also developed a complementary "bottom-up" policy, or a "human security" program, aiming at ensuring the protection and empowerment of individuals at all stages.10

"The mechanisms that peace is based on should be built into the structure and be present as a reservoir for the system itself to draw up... More specifically, structures must be found that remove causes of wars and offer alternatives to war in situations where wars might occur."

Johan Galtung
In Johan Galtung, "Three Approaches to Peace: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, and
Peacebuilding," in Peace, War and Defense: Essays in Peace Research,
Vol II (Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers, 1976), 297-298.

Peacebuilding "is understood as a comprehensive concept that encompasses, generates, and sustains the full array of processes, approaches, and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships. The term thus involves a wide range of activities that both precede and follow formal peace accords. Metaphorically, peace is seen not merely as a stage in time or a condition. It is a dynamic social construct."

[...]"The process of building peace must rely on and operate within a framework and a time frame defined by sustainable transformation... a sustainable transformative approach suggests that the key lies in the relationship of the involved parties, with all that the term encompasses at the psychological, spiritual, social, economic, political and military levels."

[...]"Cultivating an "infrastructure for peacebuilding" means that "we are not merely interested in 'ending' something that is not desired. We are oriented toward the building of relationships that in their totality form new patterns, processes, and structures."

John Paul Lederach
In Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1997), 20, 75, 84-85.

A UN history of the notion

Since its creation, the United Nations has played a vital role in helping to reduce the level of conflict in various regions of the world by mediating peace agreements and assisting in their implementation. But it was not until then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's landmark An Agenda for Peace was published in 1992, that "post-conflict peacebuilding" officially entered the UN language. The concept was linked to preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping. It was defined as "an action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict." Assisting in peacebuilding in its differing contexts meant "rebuilding the institutions and infrastructures of nations torn by civil war and strife; and building bonds of peaceful mutual benefit among nations formerly at war; and in the largest sense, to address the deepest causes of conflict." The concept was expanded to address all conflict phases in the Supplement to An Agenda for Peace, published in 1995, which put even more emphasis on creating structures for the institutionalization of peace. That same year, the Secretary General established a UN inter-departmental Task Force to identify peacebuilding activities that could be undertaken by UN agencies, described in An Inventory of Post-Conflict Peace-Building Activities published in 1996. Meanwhile, the successive publications of An Agenda for Development (1994), An Agenda for Democratization (1996) as well as the UNDP Report on Human Security (1994) have contributed to a greater interaction between issues traditionally considered to fall under the security agenda and issues related to development, democratization and human rights.

The 2000 Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (also known as the Brahimi Report) refined the definition of peacebuilding as "activities undertaken on the far side of conflict to reassemble the foundations of peace and provide the tools for building on those foundations something that is more than just the absence of war." The Panel also offered a middle ground to the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) political emphasis and UNDP developmental emphasis of the concept by stating that "effective peacebuilding is, in effect, a hybrid of political and development activities targeted at the sources of conflict" (para 44).

In his 2003 Review of Technical Cooperation in the United Nations, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an action plan to "identify the ways in which different parts of the [UN] system might properly work together to devise country specific peace-building strategies." The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office was recommended in the 2004 report of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change: A More Secure World. The idea was further elaborated in the Secretary-General's report In Larger Freedom in May 2005, and was endorsed by heads of state at the World Summit in September 2005, which was incorporated in the World Summit Outcome document.

These developments culminated in identical resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly in 2005, establishing the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office. The Peacebuilding Commission's purpose has been explained as follows: "Countries emerging from conflict face a unique set of challenges and unless they are identified and effectively addressed, these countries face a high risk of relapsing into violence. The Commission was therefore created to serve as a dedicated institutional mechanism to address these special needs and to assist these countries in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development."11 In other words, the Peacebuilding Commission is designed to develop integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding, which entails better coordination and collaboration among various UN agencies, international donors, national governments and civil society organizations. A central goal of the Peacebuilding Commission is to ensure donor mobilization in support of sustained engagements in post-conflict countries.

There are two areas of lingering confusion about peacebuilding among practitioners and scholars alike. First, there is a tendency, especially within the UN system, to conflate peacebuilding with UN complex peace operations (a much expanded and multi-functional version of the traditional peacekeeping missions). According to the Supplement to an Agenda for Peace, peace operations refer to instances "when a comprehensive settlement has been negotiated, with long-term political, economic and social provisions to address the root causes of the conflict, and verification of its implementation is entrusted to a multifunctional peace-keeping operation (para 49)." In this respect, UN peace operations have been engaged in different aspects of peacebuilding, especially in terms of their military and political dimensions. International peacebuilding, however, is not limited to these operations or to UN action at large, but instead encompasses a much wider array of activities and actors.

Second, some scholars and organizations, including the UN Peacebuilding Commission12, tend to see peacebuilding as applicable only to post-conflict situations. As prominent scholars explain, "peacebuilding underpins the work of peacemaking and peacekeeping by addressing structural issues and the long-term relationships between conflictants."13 Peacebuilding, according to this view, occurs at the end of a conflict's "life cycle," when armed hostilities cease, a negotiated agreement is in force, and international peacekeepers are present. So far, the Peacebuilding Commission has adopted this "post-conflict" lens of peacebuilding. But, as Boutros Boutros-Ghali had envisioned, "peacebuilding, whether preventive or post-conflict, [may be] undertaken in relation to a potential or past conflict without any peacekeeping operation being deployed." In short, what he suggested and most existing research has been confirming is that peacebuilding should not be limited to post-conflict situations, nor should it be confined to averting a relapse into conflict. Such a restrictive conceptualization may, paradoxically, undermine the prospects for sustainable peace.

Recent developments show that peacebuilding reflection is evolving in the UN itself. For instance, the UN Peacekeeping Capstone Doctrine prepared by DPKO aims to set out the guiding principles and core objectives of United Nations peacekeeping operations as well the main factors contributing to their success in the field. The document, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines, approved on January 18, 2008, outlines its own definition of peacebuilding: "Peace-building involves a range of measures aimed at reducing the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict, by strengthening national capacities for conflict management, and laying the foundations for sustainable peace. It is a complex, long-term process aimed at creating the necessary conditions for positive and sustainable peace by addressing the deep rooted structural causes of violent conflict in a comprehensive manner. Peace-building measures address core issues that affect the functioning of society and the state. In this regard, they seek to enhance the capacity of the State to effectively and legitimately carry out its core functions. Peace-building is undertaken by an array of UN and non-UN actors, including the UN Agencies, Funds and Programs, the International Financial Institutions and NGOs."14

In May 2007, the UN Secretary-General's Policy Committee agreed on the following conceptual basis for peacebuilding to inform UN practice: "Peacebuilding involves a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and tailored to specific needs of the country concerned, based on national ownership, and should comprise a carefully prioritized, sequenced, and therefore relatively narrow set of activities aimed at achieving the above objectives."

"For countries emerging from conflict, peace-building offers the chance to establish new institutions, social, political and judicial, that can give impetus to development. [...] Pulling up the roots of conflict goes beyond immediate post-conflict requirements and the repair of war-torn societies. The underlying conditions that led to conflict must be addressed. As the causes of conflict are varied, so must be the means of addressing them. Peace-building means fostering a culture of peace. Land reform, water-sharing schemes, common economic enterprise zones, joint tourism projects and cultural exchanges can make a major difference. Restoring employment growth will be a strong inducement to the young to abandon the vocation of war."

An Agenda for Development, 1994

"Activities undertaken on the far side of conflict to reassemble the foundations of peace and provide the tools for building on those foundations something that is more than just the absence of war."

Brahimi Report, 2000

"The Peacebuilding Commission will marshal resources at the disposal of the international community to advise and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery, focusing attention on reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development, in countries emerging from conflict.

The Commission will bring together the UN's broad capacities and experience in conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, respect for human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and long-term development."

Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its first session, 2007

"The Peacebuilding Commission embodies all aspects of the UN's work: peace, development and human rights. By integrating them into one coherent approach you are helping to close gaps in the international response to countries emerging from conflict."

Secretary General discourse at the UN PBC Retreat, January 18, 2008

Outside the UN: Multiple concepts and definitions

Many actors working on peacebuilding, especially within civil society, adopt a more expansive definition and approach to peacebuilding, aiming at supporting the transformation of the very fabric of the society and, to a certain extent, of the international system. They argue that making conflict prevention - that is, averting a relapse into armed conflict - the central goal of peacebuilding runs the risk of shortchanging the establishment of sustainable peace for the sake of short-term stability. Peacebuilding, in this view, goes beyond peacekeeping and deals with such issues as equitable socio-economic development, accountable and transparent governance, impartial justice and true security for all citizens. Peacebuilding, in short, is a process that extends far beyond the immediate post-conflict situation. Peace has to be built at large.

Multilateral organizations outside the UN system as well as individual donors tend to use different terms that are related but are not necessarily synonymous with peacebuilding. "[Civilian] crisis management," "conflict prevention and management," "rehabilitation and reconstruction," "post-conflict recovery," "stabilization"... are among the terms most often used by the different stakeholders to refer to peacebuilding. As Barnett et al. note, "even more confusing, some use the same term, peacebuilding, in slightly different ways. [...] Organizations are likely to adopt a meaning of peacebuilding that is consistent with their already existing mandates, worldviews, and organizational interests."15

Today, more and more international actors (states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, research communities), are investing time, effort, and resources in what has become known collectively as "international peacebuilding," or what has been called the "peacebuilding bandwagon" effect.16 However, this rhetorical interest in peacebuilding has yet to translate into significant material commitment or effective coordination.

[From Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, vol. 13, #1. Copyright © 2007 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher.]

Operationalizing Peacebuilding

Peacebuilding is an evolving field of study, policy and practice. It may appear more as a set of beliefs or injunctions than a coherent theory. Indeed, the notion covers a host of different meanings. Yet, considering its evolution for the last twenty years it is possible to identify elements that constitute a widely shared understanding of peacebuilding.

Peacebuilding is generically defined as initiatives that are designed to prevent the eruption or return of armed conflict. It consists of actions undertaken by national actors, with the support of international actors, "to institutionalize peace, understood as the absence of armed conflict and a modicum of participatory politics. Post-conflict peacebuilding is the sub-set of such actions undertaken after the termination of armed hostilities."17 Peacebuilding refers to a process that relies heavily on the commitment and efforts by local actors/insiders to break away from conflict and create a state and society in which peace can be sustained. Outsiders support them by providing financial, technical and human resources.

Peacebuilding is a broad project not limited to post-conflict situations

The first important element in that definition is that most actors now largely consider that peacebuilding does not apply only to post-conflict situations, although those may attract a greater level of attention. In post-conflict cases, the main goal is generally defined as preventing a relapse into conflict and creating a sustainable peace. Despite some disagreement regarding the rate of war recurrence, a general consensus holds that between one-third and one-half of all terminated conflicts tend to relapse into armed violence within five years.18 In other words, there is an empirical basis to the current emphasis on preventing a relapse into armed conflict. That said, many point out that short-term prevention should not be the end goal of peacebuilding, but rather a stage within the broader peacebuilding project of establishing sustainable, long-term peace. "The main issue is to gradually create conditions which will ensure that there is no reason to resort to destructive means again, and thus peacebuilding is a long-term activity beyond the immediate imperative of stopping the armed conflict."19

Peacebuilding encompasses a wide array of activities and processes

As an operating concept, peacebuilding encompasses a wide array of activities, functions and roles across many sectors and levels. It is "not only multi-dimensional but also multi-sectoral in terms of what the international community should be doing on the ground, multi-leveled in terms of how much should be done, and multi-staged in terms of when the international community should be involved."20

The prevailing approach to peacebuilding has been to conceptualize it along sectoral categories. Most, if not all, analytical and operational frameworks organize peacebuilding activities according to four or five pillars.21 "While various actors define these pillars differently, there is consensus that peacebuilding has political, social, economic, security and legal dimensions, each of which requires attention. Distinguishing it from conventional development, peacebuilding is understood to be a highly political project involving the creation of a legitimate political authority that can avoid the resurgence of violence."22 On this website, five pillars will be defined:

  • To provide security and public order;
  • To establish the political and institutional framework of long-term peace;
  • To generate justice and rule of law;
  • To support the psycho-social recovery and the healing of the wounds of war;


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