As 2013 draws to a close, we would like to take a moment and reflect on the conversations that have unfolded on our blog in the past year. This was the year we launched the redesigned World Peace Foundation website and expanded our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to the blog posts and publications highlighted below, 2013 gave the staff of the World Peace Foundation the opportunity to participate in various conferences and events. Among the highlights were Executive Director Alex de Waal’s keynote on the responsibilities of global activists at The Social Practice of Human Rights Conference, his remarks at the commemoration of death of Meles Zenawi, and his participation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy panel on intervention in Syria. On her end, Research Director Bridget Conley-Zilkic appreciated the opportunity to join colleagues at a series of meetings for the Deconstructing Prevention project and at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. We are looking forward to continuing these discussions in 2014! Both Alex and Bridget presented at the International Association of Genocide Scholars conference in Siena, Italy this past summer, and participated in several consultations in support of the African Union Human Rights Memorial.

In January, we kicked off a series of book reviews and reflections on Africa and the war on drugs. January also brought the World Peace Foundation Annual Reception in Ginn Library at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This year’s event was devoted to the question of whether social media can bridge divides between diverse Muslim and Western communities, featuring U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith and Riyaad Minty, head of social media at Al Jazeera. The conversation was captured on Twitter under #tweetingforpeace and a recap is available here.

In February, the World Peace Foundation Student Seminar brought together scholars, conflict practitioners, and advocates to discuss “Advocacy in Conflict: Do international public advocacy campaigns make an impact?” The seminar consisted of a public event, summarized here, as well as two-days of closed group discussions. Bridget Conley-Zilkic’s seminar note provides an overview of these conversations, supplemented by the panelists’ reflections on advocacy on our blog.

March began with a Q&A series with Alex de Waal on African roles in the Libyan conflict of 2011, as part of a broader series of conversations on Libya in this space. In the same month, students in Bridget Conley-Zilkic’s “Understanding Mass Atrocities” seminar also shared their responses to the 2012 Human Security Report’s claims about wartime sexual violence.

Continuing the conversation on advocacy in April, Alex de Waal proposed reclaiming activism. In response to his post, we also featured reactions by Alhaj Warrag and Monim El Jak.

Our “How Mass Atrocities End” series continued in June with a seminar on Iraq, whose briefing note is available here. The seminar participants also shared their own reflections on the blog.

Over the summer, our team reflected on the diverse ways in which individuals and organizations work towards world peace.

In September, Alex de Waal and Bridget Conley-Zilkic shared their thoughts – both on our blog and elsewhere – on intervention in Syria. We are especially grateful for the thoughtful reactions to the New York Times op-ed on September 4, 2013 on the dilemmas of intervention.

The focus of our “How Mass Atrocities End” program shifted to Somalia in October, yielding another blog series on topics ranging from the rentier political marketplace to clan cleansing. The World Peace Foundation was also happy to launch its first Occasional Paper, co-authored by Dyan Mazurana and Keith Proctor, on Gender, Conflict, and Peace. On the same month, Alex de Waal also shared his thoughts on the latest round of protests in Khartoum.

In November, the new Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, James Stavridis, interviewed Alex de Waal.

We are closing the year with reflections on the passing of Nelson Mandela. In December, Bridget Conley-Zilkic also launched an ongoing blog series in which to reflect on the language we use to describe the subjects of mass atrocities. Earlier this week, Alex de Waal also published his thoughts in the New York Times on the use of the word ‘genocide’ to describe the violence in the Central African Republic.

In addition to the activities highlighted above, you can browse the full array of World Peace Foundation programs and publications on our relaunched website. We are grateful to all the contributors who shared thoughts on our blog this year and further thankful for the responses of our readers and community! Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation in the New Year. Until then, happy holidays from the World Peace Foundation!


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