Got complexity? How systems and complexity thinking can help peacebuilders

2014-06-25 - 5:14 pm

By Rob Ricigliano
Co-Director of the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding Program at University of Wisconsin

Peacebuilders are struggling with a series of challenging and important imperatives: how to build more sustainable, locally-owned initiatives; how to avoid negative impacts; and how to do more with fewer resources. Many have looked to systems thinking and com-lexity science for help. This post is meant to help inform that search.

Before exploring what systems thinking and complexity science can offer peacebuilders, it is important to say what they do not offer. Systems thinking and complexity are not “magic bullets” that can instantly reveal the answer to intractable problems. And, while systems and complexity offer a powerful critique of more linear, short-term approaches, they are not a rejection of traditional practice. Finally, even though the rage in many parts of the field is to find the right tools, systems thinking and complexity approaches to peacebuilding are not just a set of tools.

So what do systems thinking and complexity have to offer peacebuilders?

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Strengthening constructive state-society relations in fragile and post-conflict situations. Some important considerations from Colombia

2014-05-28 - 6:40 pm

By Lina María García
Grupo Postconflicto - Departamento Nacional de Planeación, Colombia

Nowadays, in Colombia it is necessary to rethink how to transform and generate new kinds of relationships between the state and the (civil) society, not only for the post-conflict stage but to facilitate and make possible the peace dialogues and conversations taking place in Cuba.

Colombian society is very divided and polarized around peacebuilding topics, even before an eventual post-conflict scenario. For example, the current dialogue process (Government-FARC) does not have the acceptance and support from the society as a whole. The protracted armed conflict has generated a social adaptation to war, a situation that makes some social groups believe that keeping the armed conflict that mainly affects the rural and isolated areas is more feasible and acceptable than achieving peace in the whole country (see also James Robinson, 2013).

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Interview with Sweta Velpillay, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies

2014-05-19 - 4:54 pm

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Interview with Emmanuel Bombande, Chair of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Executive Director of WANEP

2014-05-19 - 4:49 pm

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Interview with Erin McCandless, The New School for Public Engagement

2014-05-19 - 4:46 pm

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Welcome to the FriEnt PBF Voices Blog


The PBF Voices Blog is not solely shaped by us, the FriEnt team, it shall rather provide a space for conference speakers, participants and other interested persons to share ideas and insights on the future of peacebuilding policy and practice.

All posts relate to the multifaceted theme of the conference in its widest sense. Every article reflects the author’s personal opinion and captures his or her unique style.