The Sustaining Peace Project

Lead PI: Professor Peter Coleman, Allegra Chen-Carrel

Unit Affiliation: Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4)

January 2015 - December 2025
Project Type: Research Outreach

DESCRIPTION: For policy makers, civil society, and local communities around the world, specifying and achieving “sustainable peace” has too often proven to be elusive. This is in part due to challenges comprehending peace in complex societies as well as to a fragmented understanding about the conditions and processes conducive to sustainable peace. Research about peace has primarily studied the pathologies of war, violence, aggression and conflict – and peace in the context of those processes. Few efforts have been devoted to studying peace directly as a positive state. In addition, research and practice relevant to peace are typically rooted in specific disciplines while interdisciplinary approaches are limited. As a result, the complexity, multidimensionality, dynamism, and sustainability of peace are not well understood, contributing to a lack of coherent, measurable, and implementable policy agendas that effectively sustain peace.

Our Sustainable Peace Project, grounded in dynamical systems theory and informed by historical and anthropological evidence indicating that humans are fundamentally cooperative beings, seeks to:

*Advance conversations about peace with academic experts, policy makers, and local stakeholders;
*Bridge the gap between the academic understanding and practical applications of sustainable peace by providing policy-relevant tools; and
*Advocate for a more comprehensive and fundamental understanding of sustainable peace.

OUTCOMES: PeaceTech accessible through


Joshua Fisher, Douglas Fry, Larry Liebovitch, Genevieve Souillac, Naseem Aumeerally, Allegra Chen-Carrel



Coleman, P. T., Liebovitch, L. S., & Fisher, J. (2019). Taking Complex Systems Seriously: Visualizing and Modeling the Dynamics of Sustainable Peace. Global Policy, 10, 84-92.

Liebovitch, L. S., Coleman, P. T., Futran, D., Lee, D., Lichter, T., Burgess, N. & Ripla, C. C. (2018). Modeling the Dynamics of Sustainable Peace. In Mathematical Modeling of Social Relationships (pp. 147-159). Springer, Cham.

Fisher, J., Mazarro, K, Redding, N. & Straw, C. (2015). The Contribution of Reconciliation and Victim Memory to Sustainable Peace in Colombia.


peace peacebuilding sustainability


Sustainable living


This brief video, created by filmmaker Luz Marina Zamora, introduces the Sustainable Peace Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University - a decades long journey to learn from scientific research on peaceful societies to promote world peace.