Our research programs aim to be innovative and provocative, marrying commitment to rigorous, interdisciplinary research with creative questioning in order to spark new conversations about we might understand and respond to the challenges of armed conflict today. Methodologically inductive, all of our programs are founded on analysis into the questions of the nature and causes of violent conflicts and mass atrocities, and how they are ended. Our policy engagement is integrated with our research, in two senses. First, our policy engagement provides materials for innovative research. Second, our policy engagement in turn derives from the research directions of the WPF program.  Drawing on the WPF’s unique access to political leaders and institutions, the programs aim to bring the qualities of innovation and creativity to its support of political processes for peace. Our focus is on the world’s most difficult places, especially in Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America

Current Research Programs:

Famine Research: This program develops the analysis, evidence base and legal body of work on the politics of famine. Drawing on a new dataset (introduced in 2015, updated in 2017) and Alex de Waal’s Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine (2018), the program aims to render mass starvation unthinkable. Program director Alex de Waal.



Global Arms Trade and Corruption: Focusing on the ways that the global arms business corrupts democratic practices in both selling and purchasing countries, this program is developed in collaboration with a group of research collaborators and partner, Corruption Watch UK. It includes research and public outreach components. Program director Sam Perlo-Freeman.



Political Markets and Conflict Research Program: This program includes several initiatives related to Alex de Waal’s conceptualization of the political marketplace, that explores patronage markets and hybrid political orders, asking how fragile and conflict-ridden countries really  function in fragile and conflict-affected states. Program Director Alex de Waal.



Mass Atrocity Research Program: This program is premised on the need to study the complications of how endings, memorialization and prevention of mass atrocities unfold in actual cases. In so doing, it aims to produce new research and policy insights. Program Director Bridget Conley.



Children and Youth Staying Safe in Violence: Children and youth’s self-protection strategies are more complex, multi-layered and fluid than generally understood, and extend well beyond how `protection’ is defined and approached by humanitarian or child protection actors. This research program will examine in cross-case studies the protection strategies, goals and tactics of children and youth. Program Director Dyan Mazurana.



African Peace Research Program: Projects in this program include research on security sector governance and state legitimacy, in partnership with The Fletcher School’s Institute on Human Security, and the African peace missions project. Program Director Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe.