What is Proactive Peace Work?

Proactive Peace Work refers to the things we do that create an environment of peace that is strong enough to withstand a crisis.

More specifically, it is pre-violence war prevention work, or, the variety of things communities do that address conflict-risk factors, creating the kind of environment where, if a conflict-spark were to occur, it would likely be naturally resolved non-violently.

A conflict-spark is an event or crisis which has the potential to directly trigger a violent-response. And a conflict risk-factor is the variety of factors which indicate a regions vulnerability to conflict.

So basically, a conflict-spark is the lightening strike and the risk-factors are the dry forest that so easily catches ablaze. The approach of Proactive Peace, is to address the dry-forest, creating a situation where, if lightening strikes, it won’t start a fire.

Proactive Peace occurs every day, all over the world. It is largely successful, but invisible in its success, and successful Proactive Peace is, rightfully, taken for granted. Rightfully because it should be the norm. War on the other hand, is very visible, and its visibility has led to war being given a great deal of media attention, NGO attention and research attention. One of the outcomes of this has been an in-depth and deepening knowledge about the nature of war and possible ways to respond to it. This is incredibly important work, however we have not taken the time to look at and learn from the other side of the coin. The ‘success stories’. The situations where war didn’t happen. The communities that didn’t break out in violent-conflict, even though they were at risk for a while.

Proactive Peace is a way of seeing, measuring and talking about these Wars That Never Were, and how this occurred. This is with the intent to build our collective understanding of how we can support wars from not occurring in the future.

By rendering visible the important work that occurs preventing wars every day, Proactive Peace Work gives us a way to see peace in action before we see violence.

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