This article explores the emergence of conflict prevention as an emerging norm in international conflict management. In particular, it examines the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations as primary actors in the construction and promotion of conflict prevention as an international norm. The article describes some of the major instruments that both organizations have already developed to implement the prevention of armed conflict on a more consistent rather than ad hoc basis. The article traces the emergent norm of conflict prevention through three stages—the awarenessraising and advocacy stage; the acceptance and institutionalization stage; and the internationalization stage. Although it is argued that conflict prevention as an emerging norm may eventually become firmly institutionalized and internationalized, at this point in time it remains for the most part in the advocacy stage. Regional organizations, such as the OSCE, have been more successful in moving conflict prevention toward acceptance and institutionalization, albeit on a regional level.

Author Bio(s)

Alice Ackermann was born and educated in Germany, and now is a U.S. citizen. She received her Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1992, and then taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations, European studies, conflict analysis/resolution, peace studies, and international security studies at Washington State University , the University of Miami (Florida), and at Lancaster University, The Richardson Institute (UK). Dr. Ackermann’s current research interests focus on conflict prevention, reconciliation, ethnic conflict, and the emergence of new norms in international relations. Dr. Ackermann’s research has been published in the Journal of Conflict Studies, Security Dialogue, Peace and Change, European Security, and The International Spectator. She is the author of Making Peace Prevail: Preventing Violent Conflict in Macedonia (Syracuse University Press, 2000), and the producer of an award-winning documentary on the prevention of violent conflict, From the Shadow of History (Cinema Guild, 1997) which has aired on the History Channel and Public Television in the United States, and has been screened internationally. In 1996, Dr. Ackermann was a Fulbright scholar at the German governmental institute, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. Recently she was awarded another Fulbright scholarship, also to Germany. Dr. Ackermann is the recipient of several grants, including two from the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace, and has worked as a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development. Dr. Ackermann has also been interviewed extensively on the Balkans, including by The BBC, Deutsche Welle, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Currently, Dr. Ackermann serves as the chair of the International Studies Association (ISA) Peace Studies Section, and also as the ISA annual conference program chair for that Section.


armed conflict, humanitarian intervention, international conflict management, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), sovereignty, United Nations

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