Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Peace Institute of the Rockies Mission and Programs

Carole Fotino headshot by Carole Fotino

Related articles:
Strategic Decision Making Program
Institutionalized, Inclusive Grievance Pathways (IIGPs)
Costing Latent Conflict
Soldiers Against War

The Peace Institute of the Rockies works on the front end of peace.

We work to alter the way that nations interact, to generate sustainable development and to create grievance pathways at all levels because, those three things together equals peace. Few organizations work on the “front end” of peace, strengthening the social institutions that create alternatives to violence. It was killing me though, scenes like Darfur – each little hand, each little face. Helping one at a time was bailing a precious, sinking canoe with an eyedropper, it never stopped refilling. What we will need for our planet’s valuable cargo is stronger canoes because in the time it takes to build one school or help one orphan, a single foreign policy decision made from an erroneous premise can create 60,000 new orphans or refugees.

The Three Ingredients

So we need three things. We need to make foreign policy decisions differently, from a different premise and one that includes more of the actual costs, leading to an alteration in the way nations interact. We need sustainable development which, to be sustainable includes closing the wealth gap and increasing wealth spreading while decreasing the non-sustainable development result of wealth pooling. And we need to create pathways for grievances at all levels – institutionalized, inclusive grievance pathways – in order to have a peaceful, nonviolent way to hear and resolve grievances. After all, how can we hope for peace before we have a way to get it, to get nonviolent change?

A Different Premise

At The Peace Institute, we work with U.S. decision makers, increasing the accuracy of cost/benefit data used in foreign policy selection by including longterm “latent conflict” costs (please see attached.) The State Department is already a fan of this program that needs to be fully developed, saying it comes, importantly, from different assumptions outside the status quo, from a different premise about the way that nations interact which differs from the premise that has generated the less than maximally successful outcomes they have witnessed. We also are talking with them about altering the guidelines at the State Department that have self-interest defined erroneously in terms denying the realities of mutual self-interest.

Starting with a different premise, and including more of the costs, leads to decisions made differently and to an alteration in the way that nations interact.

Our work has been presented at The Hague as promising new work, has been nominated for the Breakthrough Award and is seen by a leading U.S. foreign policy academician as having “quite dramatic possibilities.”

If you are interested in supporting any of these programs that are enough different to make a difference, contact for more information.

Sustainable Wealth Spreading & Grievance Pathways

In addition to the Costing Latent Conflict – Strategic Decision Making program mentioned above, The Peace Institute of the Rockies also does original work on the following front end subtopics of the three categories integral to peace.

Again, the three categories that must interweave to create peace are:

  1. New foreign policy decision making premise and cost data
  2. Sustainable development including wealth gap closures,
    (this could be called Sustainable Wealth Spreading,) and
  3. Institutionalized, Inclusive Grievance Pathways at all levels

The subtopic programs under these headings are:

  • Terrorism: Co-optability Reduction & Human Security,
  • Grievance Pathways – Alternative to Autonomy?
    Sri Lanka, Basques, Palestinians, W. Sahara, Chechnya, E.Timor, Ogaden Nation
  • Soldiers Against War - SAW
  • International Law & Supranational Authority vs Regionalism or Hegemony,
  • 192 + 1 The Project to Challenge Unilateralism
  • Non-Violent Movements,
  • Transitional Economies & Conflict, and Peace & the Extractive Sector,
  • Post-Conflict Conditions as Predictive Indicator of Future Violence,
  • Spoilers – Groups vested in the status quo
  • Mindful Conflict – Ridding negotiations of Negative Attribution, Value Judgment, & Narrative Build Up

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