International Alert

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International Alert
AbbreviationAlert, IA
TypeInternational Non-governmental Organization
PurposePeacebuilding, Conflict Prevention
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Harriet Lamb
Carey Cavanaugh
Approx. 250

International Alert is an independent international peacebuilding organization, operating programs around the world to address conflict. Its mission is to build a more peaceful world by: working with people directly affected by conflict to find peaceful solutions; shaping policies and practices to support peace; and collaborating with those striving for peace. Alert accomplishes these goals through dialogue, training, research and policy analysis, advocacy and outreach activities.[1]

International Alert is headquarters in London, but also has a European office in The Hague.[2] This NGO maintains about 250 staff in nineteen countries. These experts work with over 800 partner organizations on projects to advance conflict resolution, support human rights, and build a more peaceful future. Alert’s main geographic areas of operation are Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but it is also supporting peace activities in Colombia, the Caucasus and Ukraine.[3]

Harriet Lamb became Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2015. [4] Before that Lamb was CEO of the United Kingdom Fairtrade Foundation for over a decade.[5] The chairman of Alert’s Board of Trustees is retired US ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, a former peace mediator. [6]


In 1985 the Standing International Forum on Ethnic Conflict, Development and Human Rights (SIFEC) was founded with the purpose of addressing the issue of conflict and to alert governments and the world to developing crises. The following year, SIFEC merged with another organization, International Alert on Genocide and Massacres, to become International Alert (IA). Alert was founded in 1986 by Leo Kuper, Michael Young, Martin Ennals and Luis Kutner in response to growing frustration in the international development and human rights community that internal conflicts were impeding the ability to protect and provide for civilian populations and that there was no effective international mechanism to address this situation.[7][8][9] International Alert undertook to advance research on the causes of such conflict and to promote all means of conciliation and resolution, becoming an early advocate of multitrack diplomacy. From its first days, the conflict in Sri Lanka was a particular focus. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town was engaged in the formation of the new organization and became Vice Chairman of its Board of Trustees.

Martin Ennals, the former Secretary General of Amnesty International and founder of Article 19, served as Secretary General of the new organization.[10] From 1986-1989, Ennals was International Alert’s only full-time staff member. He was joined by Andy Carl (later the founder of Conciliation Resources, who managed IA from 1992-1993 following Ennals’ death. Alert expanded rapidly in 1994-1998 under the leadership of Kumar Rupesinghe, growing to over 50 staff with major programs in Sri Lanka, Burundi, and Sierra Leone.[11] By 1998 Alert had a budget of approximately UK£5 million and 80 staff, managing programs in over 15 countries in conflict. Dan Smith, now Secretary General of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute served as Secretary General from 2003-2015. In 2015, Harriet Lamb became International Alert’s current CEO.

Board Members[edit]

International Alert’s board of trustees is composed of the following members: Carey Cavanaugh, Chris Deri, Padma Jyoti, Oliver Kemp, Helena Puig Larrauri, Gordana Duspara Moriarty, Alaa Murabit, Lisa L. Rose, Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Gregor Stewart, and Carol Allen Storey. Cavanaugh became chair of the board in 2018.

Notable initiatives[edit]

Data mining for conflict prevention[edit]

International Alert was an early advocate for the development of conflict early warning systems.[12] Its work on gender and peacebuilding was important in establishing the necessity of incorporating gender relations and female stakeholders in conflict early warning systems.[12]

By the early 1990s, International Alert was using the HURIDOCS database in conjunction with early Internet conferencing systems, to enable it to keep abreast of and interact with "local and international nongovernmental organizations and international experts."[13] Through the mid-1990s, by applying a combination of manual and automated analysis in conjunction with such systems, researchers collaborating with International Alert performed early data mining research, demonstrating the viability of this approach for predicting conflict outcomes and encouraging the development of a website for the African Union's Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).[13]

Millennium Peace Prize for Women[edit]

In 2001, as part of International Alert's Women Building Peace campaign, the organisation collaborated with the United Nations Development Fund for Women awarded a Millennium Peace Prize for Women.[14][15][16][17][18][19]


In 2015 and 2016, International Alert organised a series of hackathons called Peacehack, exploring ways information technology might be used to reduce conflict by discouraging hate speech.[20][21][22][23]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 346 Clapham Road,SW9 9AP London,United Kingdom
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  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Galchinsky, Michael (2008). Jews and Human Rights: Dancing at Three Weddings. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 99. ISBN 9780742552678.
  8. ^ Charny, Israel (2013). "Chapter 11: Leo Kuper: A Giant Pioneer". In Totten, Samuel; Jacobs, Steven Leonard. Pioneers of Genocide Studies. Transaction Publishers. pp. 273, 280. ISBN 9781412849746.
  9. ^ Kuper, Adam. "Obituary: Leo Kuper". The Independent. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Martin Ennals: A Giant Human Rights Defender". Martin Ennals Award. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013.
  11. ^ NGOs in Conflict: An Evaluation of International Alert (1997)
  12. ^ a b Nyheim, David (2009). Deutscher, Eckhard, ed. Conflict and Fragility: Preventing Violence, War and State Collapse (PDF). OECD. pp. 28, 30. ISBN 978-92-64-05980-1.
  13. ^ a b Alker, Hayward R.; Schmalberger, Thomas (2001). "Chapter 2: The Double Design of the CEWS Project". In Alker, Hayward R.; Gurr, Ted Robert; Rupesinghe, Kumar. Journeys Through Conflict: Narratives and Lessons. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780742510289.
  14. ^ "UNIFEM - Millennium Peace Prize for Women - 2001 Peace Prize Recipients". United Nations Development Fund for Women. 2001. Archived from the original on 8 February 2002. Retrieved 5 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ Bell, Imogen, ed. (2003). Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004. Regional Surveys of the World (4th ed.). Europa Publications. p. 699. ISBN 9781857431865.
  16. ^ Sandrasagra, Mithre J. (8 March 2001). "DEVELOPMENT: New Peace Prize to Honour Women". IPS Inter Press Service. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  17. ^ Weatherford, Doris (2002). Women's Almanac 2002. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 6. ISBN 9781573565103.
  18. ^ van der Gaag, Nikki (2004). The No-nonsense Guide to Women's Rights. Verso. p. 113. ISBN 9781844675029.
  19. ^ Zirin, Mary; Livezeanu, Irina; Worobec, Christine D.; Farris, June Pachuta (2015). Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography. Routledge. p. 415. ISBN 9781317451976.
  20. ^ Akl, Aida (21 October 2016). "Hate Speech Plugin Gives Internet Trolls a Chance to Pause". Techtonics. Voice of America. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  21. ^ McDonald, Clare (2015). "Worldwide #peacehack hackathons use technology to promote peace". Computer Weekly. TechTarget. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  22. ^ Ismail, Nick (3 October 2016). "Peacehack hackathon tackles hate speech". Information Age. Vitesse Media Plc. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  23. ^ writer, Vanessa Thevathasan Freelance; Rights, Independent Consultant on the; Women, Protection of; Conflict, Children in; Peacebuilding; Development. (22 September 2014). "International Peace Day: Social Media as a Tool for #TalkingPeace - Huffington Post".

Coordinates: 51°28′08″N 0°07′37″W / 51.46893°N 0.12686°W / 51.46893; -0.12686 Geographic data related to International Alert at OpenStreetMap