In my Peace Paradigms graduate class, as well as in Theories of Conflict, Violence and War this semester, I've had the opportunity to read Paul Collier's work on economic theories of conflict, as well as Professor Johan Galtung's important work on structural violence and conflict resolution, particularly in the middle east. Naturally when I found out they'd both be speaking at author events this month, I made plans to attend! I also discovered the U.S. Institute of Peace's free panel events on various international topics, and attended one and registered to attend another. It is an amazing feeling to be a part of an academic community in this city where such revolutionary thinkers and practitioners are readily available to the citizen academic.
On the morning of April 20, my generous boyfriend drove me into the city to attend the United States Institute of Peace's public event about Iraq's new divided elections and what they mean for this country's future and the future politics of the region. It was my first visit to the USIP, and I’m interested in working for the Institute in the future, so it was nice to become familiar with the building and the location (just a few blocks from Farragut North metro, where I headed off to school afterwards) and the way the public events there operate. I had a great experience and I’ve already registered for another of their free events next month on mediation called “The Peace Maker’s Toolkit.”
The USIP is an independent national organization, funded by Congress, with the goal of resolving international conflict. Their programs are worldwide, and involve the training and education of others internationally on strategies for conflict resolution. People at the USIP essentially study peaceful solutions, strategies, and possibilities for the resolution or mediation of specific situations of conflict in the world, and then they generate policy options to share with those in conflict and go out to form workshops and lasting organizations in those locations, teaching what they have learned. They mostly seem to create task forces and partner with other organizations, empowering others with education and training on the peaceful resolution of conflict.