IPRA – a professional body for peace researchers (as opposed to practitioners)

In the foreword of Hugh Miall’s 1992 book The Peacemakers, reference is made to “the first conference of British professionals concerned with [peace and conflict resolution] was held in 1963 and the International Peace Research Association was founded later the same year“.

The International Peace Research Association (home page) (Wikipedia entry) (Facebook page) says “International Peace Research Association is the largest and most established global professional organisation in the field of peace research, addressed from a wide range of interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives“.  So it is for researchers rather than practitioners.  Their ‘brief history’ tab goes to a 40 page document – not a good sign.

The membership link asks for sponsorship.  The ‘becoming a member’ link asks for conference sponsorship.  Click on Membership Form to actually get details; it is €100 per year for students, ouch!  Their web site is a mess with links going to an index of pages and no content or ‘PAGE COMING SOON’ with a 2014 copyright message.

The Facebook page is very sparse, with nothing since 2016.

According to JSTOR, they were responsible for the International Journal of Peace Studies from 1996 to 2013.

Conclusion: not interested.  Was intended for researchers, not practitioners.  Probably moribund.

There is also the IPRA Foundation (home page) (Facebook page) which says “The mission of the IPRA Foundation is to advance the field of peace research through rigorous investigation into the causes of conflict and examination of alternatives to violence. Peace researchers inform peace activities that inspire visions of a peaceful world.” and “Founded in 1990 the IPRA Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, furthers the purposes and activities of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) which, since 1965, has sought to enhance the processes of peace.

Other things to look up:

Is a PhD a possibility for me?

So I am preparing for my Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at Lancaster University and reviewing my plan.  My intention was to get a Peace Studies MA then a job in conflict prevention somehow such that I could do my bit to stop the UK starting any new wars by providing evidence-based arguments that there are better alternatives.

A few people have – in jest? – asked if I am intending to do a PhD or suggested I do one.  Having looked again at the university I have chosen – a “triple top ten university” with a joint top best research library and one of the top 3 research universities in the UK – and it seems I have chosen well.  One that prides itself on the quality of its research.  I wonder if that applies to the social sciences too, specifically the politics and international relations?  If so, I would be in the right place.

I had an idea the other day regarding modelling of the kind done in IT, physics and maths: are there models for conflict resolution?  If not, fame and fortune awaits if I invent the first.  If so, there is the opportunity to learn about them and apply them in the workplace.  But an academic view might be to review them, compare them, evaluate them – that could be what I do with this MA.

But there is a further opportunity. I am a practitioner by nature, not an academic.  I have been seeking ‘the learned journal for peace’, the professional body for peacemakers, the text books, the methodologies, the best practice for the people working in the field.  Do these things exist?  If not, they need creating and there is the scope for a PhD.

If I could create or document a framework for peacemongery such that practitioners could take it off the shelf and use it, that would be a heck of a legacy.  If I could form a ‘professional body’ or a methodology, that would also be a great contribution.  Even creating something so that when someone says “There is no alternative to war”, I can say “Yes there is, I wrote the book!” would be an immense move forward.

I shall keep pondering on this idea…