The Oxford Research Group (ORG) is an independent peace and security think-and-action-tank that has been influential for over 30 years in pioneering the idea of sustainable approaches to security as an alternative to violent global confrontation, through original research, wide-ranging dialogue, and practical policy recommendations.
Our Mission and Goal
We work to promote a more sustainable approach to security for the UK and for the world. Since 1982 we have been devoted to building trust between policy-makers, military, civil society and academics. We seek a shift in global priorities away from militarism, and towards security based on justice, human rights, prevention of conflict and fair distribution of the world’s resources.
Our long-term goal is to encourage and promote a deep shift in the way that people think about security, based on the understanding that lasting security is not attainable through military means. Developing long-term ‘sustainable security’ for everyone means understanding the root causes of conflict, and promoting dialogue rather than confrontation as the means to a truly secure world.
We work through research, analysis and dialogue to understand the deep roots of conflicts and the evolving nature of violent confrontation in order to develop and promote peaceful and sustainable alternatives.
Conflict Resolution. We aim to reduce the potential for violent conflict, or to resolve violent conflict, by bringing together constituencies for peaceful change. Over the past decade we have focused on situations of intractable conflict in the Middle East, where we facilitate sustained strategic dialogue and behind-the-scenes track II engagement.
Conflict Analysis. Underpinning our work to resolve conflicts, we analyse the toughest security questions using detailed research and deep understanding of human psychology. Sustained analysis of the self-reinforcing logics and counter-productive consequences of nuclear rivalry, the ‘War on Terror’ and military interventions inform our commitment to sustainable, non-military security solutions.
Non-Military Alternatives. Reactive, militarised approaches do not provide solutions to contemporary security challenges; more often, they escalate cycles of violence. We work to understand, develop and promote the preventive, non-military solutions needed to build lasting peace, security and justice. Where violent conflict has broken out, we apply our insights to help transform conflict and end the violence.
Sustainable Security. Security challenges such as terrorism, crime and weapons proliferation cannot be successfully contained or controlled without understanding and addressing their root causes. ORG’s Sustainable Security concept takes a comprehensive, long-term approach that encompasses climate change, resource scarcity, militarisation, poverty, inequality and marginalisation.
Our Principles and Approach
Dialogue. We believe that dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation can resolve many conflicts more effectively, and with far less cost, than military approaches. We foster deep listening between those who disagree – often radically. We bring together a broad range of opinion and expertise – political, legal, psychological, military and journalistic.
Respect. We consider that attention to the quality of human relationships is key to any successful activity we undertake. This includes deep and respectful listening to those who do not share our views. It is essential to listen to the legitimate grievances of marginalised groups. Solutions, which exclude significant constituencies, are doomed to fail in our view.
Prevention. We believe that most violent conflicts could be prevented by the application of proven and cost-effective non-military methods, which address the root causes of conflict, uphold international law, and respect fundamental human rights.
Research and Analysis. We apply detailed analysis on a range of issues; from the drivers of insecurity, to the most thorny issues in the Middle East Peace process.
Access. Whenever relevant, we liaise with governments and decision-makers at the highest political level to increase their awareness of the root causes on conflict and how this needs to shape their policy. We see our role as bringing truth to power.
Partnership. We work closely with like-minded institutions across the world in networks to foster change, for example, on dialogue processes in the Middle East, or security specialists in the Global South.
Policy Recommendations. We aim to understand and warn of threats and suggest, wherever possible, policy recommendations and practical, achievable steps forward as a means of prevention or as response to crises when they arise.