A Letter from the President and Editor-in-Chief

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Jessica Berns has twenty years international experience, primarily working on issues of social inclusion, peacebuilding, governance, and anti-corruption. The majority of her work has taken place within the NGO sector. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, program design and implementation, partnership development, and strategic communications. In 2011 she founded Jessica Berns Consulting, where she provides non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and philanthropists with customized guidance, directional support, and project management. Jessica works with clients to develop strategies, ignite programs, create communications platforms, and convene networks. She tweets from @jessicabberns. 1

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Building Peace, a new publication that highlights the myriad of ways in which peacebuilding can heal war-torn societies and prevent deadly violence in the world’s most chaotic and fragile conflict zones. Peacebuilding offers hope and concrete solutions for many of the most vexing social problems, from the challenges of governance following the Arab Spring to the disruptions caused by globalization and climate change. As the articles in this issue demonstrate, peacebuilding is a highly inclusive concept, touching on the fields of security, democracy, development, health, and many more. Peacebuilding reaches from the grassroots level to the highest policy circles, seeking to bring security, reconciliation, and structural change to societies embroiled in violent conflict. The field has strengthened over the past twenty years, but too often the dynamic stories behind the people who create peace get lost in the media glare of war, terrorism, and bloodshed.

The Alliance for Peacebuilding, the creator of Building Peace, is the institutional home for leading peacebuilding institutions and professionals around the globe. With more than seventy organizational members and several hundred practitioners, our mission is to provide a platform of collaboration and creativity for the field and to raise the visibility of peacebuilding worldwide. Building Peace is born from our desire to broaden the conversation about what peacebuilding is; to recognize the many ways women, men, and children are building peace in their local communities and capitals; to articulate the notion that global security depends on creating peaceful and inclusive societies; and to document how meaningful peacebuilding efforts combine to achieve, through long-term dedication, the lasting peace and security the vast majority of the world seeks.

This issue’s authors represent multiple viewpoints, cultures, and contexts: They write from Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mexico, Syria, Uganda, and the United States. They are united, however, by their commitment to reducing violent conflict, identifying mechanisms for reconciliation, and building more peaceful and secure nations. In the cover article, Liberian Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee adopts an expansive definition of peacebuilding that the Alliance for Peacebuilding enthusiastically embraces. She describes the challenges that arise after conflict ends and the many streams of action that must come together to build sustainable peace. Neil Levine’s feature article provides a U.S. government perspective on how to best gather early-warning information in fragile and conflict-affected nations in order to act and respond effectively to conflict. The many voices and issues represented in Building Peace add up to a nuanced vision for peace and security, describing the many paths involved in building peace and emphasizing why peace is an integral part of our lives. We welcome you to our community and encourage you to contact us with your own thoughts and reactions, to Building Peace and to the peace and security challenges facing us all.

Warmly,

Melanie Greenberg
President and CEO
Alliance for Peacebuilding
Jessica Berns
Editor-in-Chief
Building Peace

(Feature Photo Credit: Liberia Commemorates 2003 Peace Agreement that Ended Civil War by
United Nations Photo used with Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Accessed 1/40/2016.)

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