Welcome to my blog! Every week, I will post at least one article on something involving wicked problems either in peacebuilding or comparative politics. I define those fields very broadly, so you’ll probably be surprised by some of the topics I end up covering.

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Peace Rewire

Peace Rewire Last week, my colleagues at AfP launched Peace Rewire, a new website growing out of our work on the links between neuroscience, peacebuilding, and spirituality. It is fascinating work that I helped bring to AfP. Both the site—and even more importantly work in these areas in general—mark an important step forward for our field. Origins A few years ago, I attended the second and third meetings of a series of conferences linking neuroscience and peacebuilding organized by Beyond Conflict and held at the MIT Media Lab. Later, Beyond Conflict, AfP, and the El-Hibri Foundation held a two day workshop to bring those ideas to the Washington DC policy and peacebuilding community. With the generous support for the United States Institute of Peace, AfP launched the project that we recently renamed Peace Rewire. The Project For the last two years, groups of neuroscientists, peacebuilders, and spiritual leaders have been meeting and drawing the connections that link the three fields. This video sums by co-directors Melanie Greenberg and Béatrice Pouligny sums up the logic behind the project, at least as it stood in mid-2017. As it currently stands,  Peace Rewire has four components: Brain 101 covers the basics of neuroscience and their implications for peacebuilding. It reflects state of the art research by practicing neuroscientists and was coordinated for that part of the team by Dr. Jeremy Richman, co-founder of the Avielle Foundation, which was created following the murder of his daughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School. [...]

By |June 24th, 2018|Categories: Events, Ideas, Videos|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Peace Rewire


Using Improv to Work With Those We Disagree With In his class, Doug Irvin-Erickson gave his grad students an assignment half way through the short summer semester. He broke them into teams and asked them to make presentations to the class on how peacebuilding and human rights overlapped—or didn’t as the course may be. Because I had had to miss the previous class, the students had decided that I would serve as a discussant and respond to each project. During the course of the semester, we had mostly focused on how the two fields differ. Human rights advocates focus on rights that they assume to be universal and innate—and all too often denied by the powers that be. Peacebuilders, by contract, try to build agreements among all parties to a dispute, including those that limit some people’s human rights. Intersection Sets The three groups did a remarkable job of seeing how little overlap there is between what the two communities do but how much there could and should be. One of them actually drew a Venn diagram of the two fields showing a very small intersection set suggesting that there is next to no overlap between them. This is a problem we run up against almost any time peacebuilders who have a background in consensus building try to work with colleagues who come from an advocacy background, especially one that focuses on rights, inequality, injustice, and the like. Often those discussions don’t go very far. The other night, [...]

By |June 11th, 2018|Categories: Books, Design, Ideas|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Improv