International Alert

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International Alert is a London-based charity and international non-governmental organisation working to prevent and end violent conflict around the globe. It was founded in 1986. Alert is active in over 20 countries and territories around the world including the African Great Lakes region, West Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Andean Region of South America, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines.


The vision of the organisation is to work "towards a world where differences are resolved without erupting into violence".

It seeks to achieve this by following its three key missions:

  1. Working directly with people affected by violent conflict, supporting their efforts to improve their prospects for peace'
  2. Shaping international policy and practice that affect peacebuilding
  3. Strengthening the expertise, impact and public profile of the peacebuilding sector

Regional programmes[edit]

Great Lakes[edit]

Alert has conducted peacebuilding projects and programs at the national and Great Lakes regional level since 1995. Current programs are being conducted in Burundi,[1] the Democratic Republic of Congo,[2] Rwanda, and Uganda and focus on topics ranging from good governance, social inclusion, supporting women's organisations, and ties between economics and conflict.[3]


Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka is one of Alert's longest running program areas and today, the organisation works with a number of partners from the private, public, and non-profit sectors.[4] Other regional efforts include capacity building of civil society, business, and development organizations in Nepal as well as security sector reform and supporting the peace process in the Philippines.

Caucasus and Central Asia[edit]

Alert's activities in the Caucasus include promoting bilateral civil society interactions and regional economic integration in the Caucasus.[5] The organisation has also been active in Tajikistan since 2006 as part of a wider regional peacebuilding initiative.

Latin America[edit]

Between 1994 and 2004 Alert conducted research and consultations in Colombia on peacebuilding issues such as small arms control. The organisation's primary focus in the region is now working with private sector actors throughout the Andean region to promote conflict-sensitive business practices.

West Africa[edit]

International Alert is active in Guinea, Liberia, and São Tomé and Príncipe and is involved in programs promoting human security efforts, emerging democratic practices, the training of journalists, and the development of civil society organisations, among others.

Thematic programmes[edit]

Aid effectiveness[edit]

Alert promotes cost-effective development policies at the national, EU, and UN levels that reflect the realities of post-conflict or fragile states.

Climate change[edit]

A Climate of Conflict, a 2007 Alert publication has brought much needed attention to the issue of the links between climate change and armed conflict. Alert continues to offer leading insights on this topic, largely through Secretary General Dan Smith.[6] and prior to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Alert launched a second influential report entitled Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility.


International Alert has been advocating for the relevance of gender issues in peacebuilding since 1999, when it began pushing for the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Current efforts include research efforts, lobbying national, regional, and international policymakers, and supporting local efforts in coordination with partner organisations.

Peace and economy[edit]

For more than 10 years, Alert has been promoting the importance of recognizing the links between peacebuilding and an equitable socio-economic foundation. Alert currently works with multinationals and local businesses alike to promote conflict-sensitive business practices that contribute to long-term peacebuilding efforts.


Alert is also currently engaged in Security Sector Reform (SSR); Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR); Community Security; and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) programs.


International Alert provides training for individual practitioners and organisations engaged in peacebuilding activities. Alert's training staff is made up of experts with diverse backgrounds and works with Alert's various field programs to refine the methodologies and peacebuilding approaches offered to the government officials, civil society actors, and students who attend their courses. The training department regularly updates the schedule of upcoming course offerings.


International Alert was founded in the mid-1980s by genocide scholar Leo Kuper, with the support of Michael Young, Martin Ennals and others.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

This was an era dominated by the Cold War, and whilst conflicts between nations were decreasing, internal conflicts and civil wars were rapidly increasing. Born out of the merger of The Standing International Forum on Ethnic Conflict, Development, and Human Rights (SIFEC), and US organisation International Alert on Genocides and Massacres, it counted Archbishop Desmond Tutu amongst the members of its first board of trustees.

It was the first organisation to concern itself specifically with violent internal conflict and at that time there existed no internationally agreed procedures for resolving internal conflict. International Alert aimed to encourage the creation of acceptable procedures and structures for resolving such situations.

Its work in areas of violent conflict focused on working with local partner organisations to facilitate peace deals and to ensure a transition to a functioning stable society.

UK Charity Commission number: 327553.[15]


International Alert's current Secretary General is Dan Smith. The organisation is led by a Board of Trustees made up of eleven members from around the world, and a five-person Senior Management Team. It is divided into teams working on Eurasia, Asia, the Americas, West Africa, the African Great Lakes, Peacebuilding Issues, and Development.

Secretaries General[edit]

The organisation has been led by four Secretaries General, as well as two acting Secretaries General, since its creation.


  • Richard Dales (Chair), UK
  • J. R. Nereus O. Acosta, Philippines
  • Rosemary Bechler, UK
  • Edward Clay, UK
  • Paulina Lampsa, Greece
  • Craig McGilvray (Honorary Treasurer), UK
  • Frida Nokken, Norway
  • Brendan O'Leary, USA
  • Will Samuel, UK
  • Stephen Stedman, USA
  • Martin Woollacott, UK
  • Michela Wrong, UK

Notable past board members[edit]


External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World Bank
  2. ^ Reuters AlertNet
  3. ^ ReliefWeb- Trading for Peace
  4. ^ SundayTimes
  5. ^ ReliefWeb-Peace Forum
  6. ^ ABC News
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Charity Commission - Finding Charities website