Oxford Research Group (ORG) is an independent peace and security think-and-action-tank that promotes dialogue and common security approaches as sustainable alternatives to violent global confrontation. Through original research, wide-ranging dialogue, and practical policy recommendations 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.
ORG’s Mission and Goal
Sometimes described as a conflict resolution, conflict transformation or peacebuilding organisation, ORG’s mission is larger than this. Our long-term goal is 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 creating safe spaces for dialogue 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.
Following a reorganisation in 2015, our work now focuses on three programmatic areas:
• The Sustainable Security Programme researches and promotes a radical shift in UK and global security policy, from suppressing challenges to resolving the underlying drivers of conflict.
• The Middle East Programme builds the capacity of regional actors to engage in strategic thinking to explore alternative routes to peaceful coexistence in Israel, Palestine, Egypt and elsewhere.
• The Oxford Process uses a proven preventive diplomacy methodology to engage diplomats and technical experts in discreet high-level dialogue on conflict prevention and disarmament.
The work of these programmes utilises several conceptual approaches pioneered by, or unique to, ORG.
Our work begins with understanding the root causes of violent conflict, from the psychological basis of confrontation, domination and ‘deterrence’ to struggles over resources and growing inequality. Sustained analysis of the self-reinforcing logics and counter-productive consequences of nuclear rivalry, the ‘War on Terror’ and military occupations inform our commitment to sustainable, non-military security solutions.
ORG promotes long-term thinking not just about the roots of conflict but in order to strategise routes to more peaceful futures. ORG’s unique strategic thinking methodology for conflict resolution recognises the need to start where people are, not where we would like them to be. We then build the capacity to think strategically about alternative futures. Often this is more about locating mutual self-interests than finding common ground.
Reactive, militarised approaches do not provide solutions to contemporary security challenges; more often, they escalate cycles of violence. They also detract from efforts to address the deeper drivers of conflict like marginalisation, resource scarcity and climate change. We work to understand, develop and promote the preventive, non-military solutions needed to build lasting peace, security and justice.
Preventive diplomacy is a form of early intervention aimed at preventing conflict from becoming violent or escalating. ORG has pioneered alternative forms of diplomacy independent from the political interests, bureaucracy and policy positions that encumber national and international diplomats. We call this the Oxford Process.