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Global peace system


Global Peace System is a concept of global conflict resolution dependent on nonviolent processes to eradicate war. It relies upon a multi-strand approach to conflict resolution, incorporating broad social and political solutions. In contemporary peace and conflict studies, the concept of a global peace system has been evolving since the 1940s around the theory that there is a global infrastructure of peacebuilding and that there is a need for systems thinking in peacebuilding. The term "global peace system" was coined from the work of Robert Johansen, who explored the concept in 1978's Toward a Dependable Place.

In a 1943 pamphlet and a 1966 book, political theorist David Mitrany stated that the prevention of wars required the creation of a peace system which he outlined. In 1978's Toward a Dependable Place, Johansen coined the term "global peace system", arguing that, contrary to the advocated and perceived military security in the international system, the peace system provides greater justice, economic well-being and ecological security. In a global peace system, according to Johansen, "conflict is resolved through nonviolent, political, social, and judicial processes. There are no expectations of war and no national military arsenals." Johansen called for the creation of such a system by a people’s movement.

In 1988, Robert A. Irwin stated that a peace system involves multiple war prevention layers: first, global reforms which reduce the causes of war involve non-threatening defense-policies as well as political, economic, ecological and cultural change; second, conflict resolution mechanisms on the local, regional, national and global level.

In 1991, Louise Diamond and John W. McDonald authored Multi-track Diplomacy: a Systems Approach to Peace, wherein they identified nine specific tracks to produce a synergy in peacebuilding: public opinion and communication, government, professional conflict resolution, business, private citizens, activism, religion, funding, and research, training and education. In 1992, the pair founded the United States-based non-profit organization Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy with the mission of putting into practice their systems-based approach to peacebuilding.

In 2003's Instead of War: the Urgency and Promise of the Global Peace System, Timothy McElwee emphasizes three major focal areas in the construction of a global peace system: (1) strengthening international norms and institutions against war; (2) eliminating the conditions that give rise to war and violence; (3) supporting and encouraging alternative means of international conflict transformation. Other sector-based approaches to peacebuilding link international development, humanitarian assistance, gender, the private sector, religion, environmental change, security, media, health and the rule of law.



  • Adebajo, Adekeye (2011). UN peacekeeping Africa: From the Suez crisis to the Sudan conflicts. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
  • Diamond, Louise, & McDonald, John W. (1993). Multi-track diplomacy: a systems approach to peace (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy.
  • Chenoweth, Erica, & Stephan, Maria J. (2011). Why civil resistance works: the strategic logic of nonviolent conflict. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2013). War, peace, and human nature: the convergence of evolutionary and cultural views. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Goldstein, Joshua S. (2011). Winning the war on war: the decline of armed conflict worldwide. New York: Penguin Group.
  • Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy. "Building Peace and Transforming Conflict: Multi-track Diplomacy in Practice". 
  • Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy. "Mission". 
  • Irwin, Robert A. (1988). Building a Peace System. Washington, DC: ExPro Press.
  • Johansen, Robert C. (1978). Toward a dependable peace. New York: Institute for World Order.
  • McElwee, Timothy A. (2003). Instead of war: the urgency and promise of the global peace system. Cross Currents, 53(2).
  • McElwee, Timothy A. (2007). "The Role of UN Police in Nonviolently Countering Terrorism". In Senthil Ram and Ralph Summy. Nonviolence: An Alternative for Defeating Global Terror(ism). Nova Publishers. pp. 179–210. ISBN . 
  • Mitrany, David. (1966). A working peace system. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.
  • Pinker, Steven. (2011). The better angels of our nature: why violence has declined. New York: Viking.
  • Ricigliano, Rob. (2012). Making peace last: a toolbox for sustainable peacebuilding. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
  • Shifferd, Kent D. (2011). From war to peace: a guide to the next hundred years. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.
  • Zelizer, Craig. (2013). Integrated peacebuilding: innovative approaches to transforming conflict. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
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