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Conflict Resolution Program

Our Goal

The Carter Center works to build sustainable peace in emerging democracies and to prevent and resolve conflicts.

Where We Work

The Center has conflict resolution efforts underway in:

  • Israel-Palestine, where we support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promote comprehensive peace in the region
  • Liberia, where we partner with local organizations to advance access to justice in a post-war setting, paying special attention to rural areas and the needs of marginalized populations
  • Preventing Violent Extremism, where we aim to understand violent extremist organizations' recruitment strategies by working with Muslim leaders and media institutions in the Middle East and North Africa
  • South Sudan and Sudan, where a series of nongovernmental dialogues between prominent civil society leaders from both countries aims to strengthen peace and create a lasting understanding.
  • Syria, where we support a political solution to the catastrophic war by exploring constitutional and legislative options for a transitional governance, and where we have initiated a conflict mapping project that analyzes the unprecedented volume of citizen-generated information about the conflict to better inform peace-building efforts

Monitoring and Mediating Conflicts

Program staff and interns monitor world events and armed conflicts to better understand the histories, underlying causes, primary actors, disputed issues, and dynamics on the ground, as well as efforts being made to resolve these disputes. The Center intervenes when no current avenues for mediation exist or if value can be added to existing efforts. It must be invited by the major adversaries and see indications that they are truly interested in resolving the conflict. Conflict Resolution Program staff pave the way through ground-level contacts, and President Carter may travel to the region in question and remain in close touch with key leaders. In addition to high-level interventions, The Carter Center may work with local communities on specific conflict issues.

Implementing Peace Agreements and Peacebuilding

An end to fighting does not always mean a conflict has been completely resolved. The process that leads to a peace agreement represents the beginning of an even longer process of peace implementation and post-conflict reconciliation. All parties must be held accountable for implementing agreements in good faith. Even after a peace agreement is implemented, a conflict's root causes may longer and continue to fester, sometimes even reigniting the conflict. The Center seeks ways to ease tensions, identify and build consensus around shared goals, strengthen the rule of law, and bring justice to victims. For example, a successful Carter Center project in Liberia has strengthened peace by providing greater awareness of, and access to, the nation's justice system, especially in rural areas.

Preventing Conflict

While direct negotiation to resolve armed conflict is the program's major focus, it also emphasizes preventing conflict. A series of minor crises can signal or contribute to deteriorating societal and political stability. In such situations, parties in dispute may approach the Center as a neutral third party to facilitate dialogue that can keep tensions from erupting into violent conflict. The Carter Center's conflict monitoring also helps alert Carter Center staff to nascent crises.

Results and Impact 

  • The Carter Center has furthered avenues to peace in Bosnia and HerzegovinaEthiopiaEritreaHaitiKorean PeninsulaLiberia, Israel and PalestineNepalSouth SudanSudan, and South American nations.
  • Since 2007, more than 7,000 cases across Liberia have been opened by community justice advisors, giving access to justice to many who otherwise could not afford or access it.
  • In 1999, President Carter and The Carter Center negotiated the Nairobi Agreement between Sudan and Uganda, in which both sides committed to stop supporting forces against each other's government and agreed to re-establish full diplomatic relations.
  • In 1994, President Carter negotiated terms for the first dialogue in 40 years between the United States and North Korea.
  • President Carter; Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga.; and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell successfully negotiated the departure of Haiti's military leaders in 1994, paving the way for the restoration of Jean-Bertrande Aristide as president.
  • The Carter Center advised negotiations for the 2003 Geneva Accord, an informal draft agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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