"promoting peace activities informed by peace research"
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SMALL PEACE RESEARCH GRANTS

GRANT AWARDEE: Mel Duncan, USA

NONVIOLENT PEACEFORCE PILOT STUDY

Mel DuncanPROBLEM: The Nonviolent Peaceforce grant was designed to help fund exploratory research that would examine three potential conflict sites as locations for activities of a “brigado humanitano”, a humanitarian and ecological guard. The Nonviolent Peaceforce was founded in 1999 at the Hague Appeal for Peace. Its mission is to facilitate the creation of a trained, international, civilian nonviolent peace force. The peace force will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction, and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution led by an international steering committee.

In 2001 and early 2002, Nonviolent Peaceforce staff and consultants visited over 30 countries worldwide—including 15 areas of violent conflict. Following those visits, the Nonviolent Peaceforce received 13 requests for action from people working and living in areas of armed conflict. The International Steering Committee narrowed the requests to Colombia, Israel/Palestine and Sri Lanka.

RESEARCH METHODS: Multi-national research teams conducted on site, follow-up research in the three areas of conflict, Colombia, Israel/Palestine and Sri Lanka. The teams assessed the conflict and determined the role that the Nonviolent Peaceforce could play in each area. The teams surveyed and analyzed existing publications, interviewed key groups, and interviewed individuals and organizations to determine the criteria for the pilot selection and to assess the conditions for a successful larger-scale civilian mission.

RESULTS: The results of the research were presented in a report at the November 2002 International Convening Event held outside of Delhi, India. The 130 international delegates narrowly picked Sri Lanka as the pilot site for 2003. Since the Convening Event, an Oxford trained United Kingdom citizen has been hired as the project director. The first team of international team peace force members has been trained. Fundraising efforts have been undertaken and a partnership formed with two local groups.