Oxford Research Group has published its report for 2015-2016. 2015 was another deeply troubling year for European and global security. Perhaps best characterised as a bridge between the crises of 2014 – not least in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Libya – and the populist backlash of 2016, with
its polarising US election campaign, ‘Brexit’ referendum, and Europe’s securitised response to the Middle East refugee crisis, the year saw the further unravelling of the post-Cold War order. Oxford Research Group’s discreet work and measured voice in support of peaceful, progressive change has rarely felt so sane, humane or necessary.
In the Middle East, the July 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran was testament to the power of the quiet diplomacy and confidence-building that ORG had facilitated to revive the process in preceding years. The networks so-developed continue to be important in rebuilding trust between the region’s
powers. Our belief in the tried and tested methodologies of this work convince us of the impact and importance of what we call the Oxford Process, which ORG is launching as its new high-level dialogue programme in 2016.
Our strategic thinking work in Israel and Palestine has gained additional influence through links to the strategic planning structures of the Palestinian leadership, through connections with the new Joint List Arab parties in Israel, and by forging increased connections between influential thinkers in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. In 2015 ORG also began to work in Egypt and to influence Arab regional institutions towards more strategic approaches to conflict resolution. In the UK, we greatly increased our visibility and analytic outputs around the 2015 elections and security policy review.
ORG briefings warned loudly and coherently of the need to rethink UK policy to the crises in Iraq and Syria and of the problematic shift to unaccountable ‘remote warfare’. We also re-established ORG as an important voice in the debate on renewing Britain’s nuclear weapons. Our analysis has
been consistent, original and presented real options for change. In a polarised political context, there is increasingly public and political appetite to consider such change.
ORG also benefited from a successful organisational development programme in 2015-16. This has revitalised our Board, streamlined our structures and management, improved our communications and public outreach, enhanced our analytic and advocacy capacity, and increased the quality and quantity of our outputs. We look forward to ever greater influence in coming years as the world recognises the need to embrace change to shape a more sustainable, peaceful future.
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