Oxford Research Group
Oxford Research Group (ORG) is a London-based charity and think tank working on peace, security and justice issues. Its research and dialogue activities are mainly focused on the Middle East, North and West Africa, as well as influencing UK and international security policy.
ORG was founded in 1982 by a group of academics and activists with an interest in the psychological dimensions of international security decision-making. While established in sympathy with Quaker values of peace and social justice, ORG is an independent, secular group without affiliation to any religious or political group. ORG is not a pacifist group in that it recognises that there are legitimate roles and uses for armed forces. Rather, it defines its mission as to enlarge the space for non-military alternatives to prevent and manage conflict. It was registered as a charity in England and Wales in 1988.
Initially, the Group focused on dialogue between British nuclear decision-makers and nuclear disarmament activists, widening its activities to incorporate the other P5 nuclear weapons states, India and Pakistan. In the 1990s, ORG fostered security dialogue between the UK and China on a broader range of issues.
In 2006 ORG relocated from Oxfordshire to London. Since 2001, it has focused particularly on analysing the causes, consequences and character of the War on Terror, promoting more sustainable approaches to international security policy, investigating the changing nature and technologies of warfare, mediating track II dialogues around conflicts in the Middle East, and recording the casualties of armed conflict.
ORG has three thematic programmes and has served as host or incubator for several other projects.
Sustainable Security is ORG’s core thematic programme. It aims to highlight the limitations of orthodox security policy that seeks to contain the symptoms of deeper conflict and to develop policy alternatives that address such underlying drivers as marginalisation, militarisation, climate change and resource scarcity.
The Middle East Programme is ORG’s conflict resolution programme, mediating a series of Track II dialogues in Israel, Palestine and Egypt and between Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other states. The programme uses a strategic thinking methodology based in ‘radical disagreement’ theory to develop strategies for alternative routes to peaceful co-existence.
The Oxford Process is a third programme under development in 2016 to focus on the discreet high-level dialogues that ORG has facilitated. It describes its approach as Track 1.75, alternative or preventive diplomacy.
Peace Direct was developed within ORG in 2003 as a project developing links to local peacebuilding organisations in a number of fragile or conflict-affected states, and became a separate organisation in the following year.
Every Casualty Worldwide was developed as a programme of ORG between 2007 and 2014. It aimed to enhance the technical, legal and institutional capacity, as well as the political will, for every single casualty of armed conflict throughout the world to be recorded. It became a separate NGO in October 2014.
Remote Control is a project of the Network for Social Change, hosted by ORG since 2013. It analyses current developments in military technology and doctrine such as cyber-warfare, unmanned weapons systems (such as unmanned aerial vehicles), private military and security contractors, and special operations forces.
Honours and Awards
Notable Current and Former Staff and Associates
- Lord John Alderdice
- Prof Frank Barnaby
- Hamit Dardagan (co-founder of Iraq Body Count)
- Dr Scilla Elworthy (founder)
- Paul Hilder
- Prof Khaled Hroub
- Paul Ingram
- Tim Livesey
- Prof Hugh Miall
- General David Ramsbotham
- Prof Oliver Ramsbotham
- Gabrielle Rifkind
- Dr Nick Ritchie
- Prof Paul Rogers
- Salman Shaikh (Director of Brookings Doha Center)
- Prof John Sloboda (co-founder of Iraq Body Count)
- Dr Ben Zala
- Dr Hans Blix
- Dr Scilla Elworthy
- President Ashraf Ghani
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- Baroness Shirley Williams
- Oxford Research Group website
- Oxford Research Group's Sustainable Security Programme
- Ramsbotham, Oliver. Transforming Violent Conflict: Radical Disagreement, Dialogue and Survival, Routledge (2010)
- Oxford Research Group's Middle East Programme
- Every Casualty page on Oxford Research Group's website
- Network for Social Change website
- Remote Control Project on Oxford Research Group's website
- "Why Dr. Priscilla Elworthy Was Selected for the 20th Niwano Peace Prize" (pdf). Niwano Peace Foundation. 2003. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Prof Hugh Miall's profile on University of Kent website
- Dr Nick Ritchie's profile on University of York website
- Dr Ben Zala's profile on University of Leicester website