Conflict and Peace Building

Nearly 30 years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of maimed amputees remind us of the war that took 500,000 lives in 100 days. War leaves marks that cannot be erased—not only in Rwanda, but on every continent.

Reporting from Conflict and Peacebuilding examines the roots of conflict, whether it be religious hatred, sectarian rivalry, a security vacuum, the struggle for natural resources, or the desperation that results from poverty.

Pulitzer Center journalists also cover war’s aftermath: the transitional governments that result in chaos, diplomacy that goes awry, peace talks that never end, and the people who suffer the consequences, young and old. We see the children who go hungry, lose their homes, leave school, become combatants, or join the jihad.

Often the end to conflict leaves turmoil in its wake while the road to peace seems circuitous: In South Sudan, rebel-commanders-turned politicians plunge the country into civil war. In the U.S., troops return home from one war only to be re-deployed to another. But everywhere, in every conflict, there are also voices crying out for peace, determined to heal the divide.


Conflict and Peace Building

Democracy Grows In the Desert

This September in Somalia, hundreds of thousands of people are due to take part in an election. At polling stations guarded by civilian police, they will stand in orderly lines beneath a scorching sun waiting to vote for a new leader.

Much of this country continues its relentless descent into mayhem and murder. But Somaliland, a small north-western chunk, has been trying for the past 18 years to free itself of its bigger, nastier neighbour, having declared independence when Somalia's last government, a violent military autocracy, collapsed in 1991.

U.S. to limit air power in Afghanistan

Sobered by the backlash from civilian casualties, the U.S. military is taking steps to tighten restrictions on the use of air power over Afghanistan.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, will order U.S. and NATO forces to break away from engagements with militants who are hiding among villagers as part of a comprehensive "tactical directive," a coalition official said Tuesday.

Taliban Kidnappings: Afghan Journalists Face Bigger Risks

The escape of veteran New York Times correspondent David Rohde from Taliban captors was a rare piece of good news from the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands. For more than seven months, there was almost no public word on his fate. Western news agencies kept silent about the kidnapping of the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, the Afghan reporter Tahir Ludin and their driver, out of concern that international attention might jeopardize their safety. The trio was betrayed by a Taliban commander with whom Ludin had arranged meetings several times before.

Somaliland: The Pirate Hunting Coast Guard

Until pirates showed up on the world's media radar few people would have been able to point to Somalia on a map. That all changed in April when a gang of pirates attempted to hijack a US-flagged ship with an American crew. They failed but took the ship's captain hostage.

The days-long stand off ended with the deadly sniping of three pirates by US Navy SEALS.

Somaliland: A Land in Limbo (Part II)

The road to the port town of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden drops thousands of feet through a landscape of white sun-bleached rock, brittle thorn bushes and bone-dry riverbeds set against a backdrop of mountains sliced by desiccated ravines cut when the rain occasionally comes. It is an unremitting kind of beauty.