Our mission, strategy and history
Who we are
For over 30 years, International Alert has been working to build positive peace and reduce violence, working across conflict lines and with all parties to conflicts.
Experienced and respected, we have a proud track record of achieving change in fragile and conflict-affected countries and territories.
Our vision is a world where conflicts can be resolved without violence and people work together to support and sustain peace.
Our purpose is to support a sustainable and inclusive end to violence. To fulfil this purpose, we:
- work with people directly affected by violence to support lasting solutions;
- advocate with them for the changes to policies, practices and behaviours that are required for peace to be inclusive and sustainable; and
- collaborate openly and in solidarity with all those striving for peace, to strengthen our common cause.
We base all our work on a deep understanding of the root causes of violence in each context, developed through long-term engagement. Our work draws on what we and others have learnt from decades of peacebuilding efforts.
Our strategy for 2024–2030, ‘Partners for peace’, sets out how we see International Alert’s contribution to building the more peaceful world that is so urgently needed.
We believe in global solidarity, and that international organisations such as Alert can be expressions of and partners for such solidarity. Our strategy therefore affirms and strengthens our commitment to working in partnership, collaboration and solidarity with all who strive for peace around the world.
We seek to be clear both on our own role and on the humility, thoughtfulness and lived commitment to equity that we must practise in playing it. In creating the strategy, we have challenged ourselves to think afresh about Alert’s role, structures and practices, confronting embedded power relations and assumptions.
International Alert was founded in 1986 to help people find peaceful solutions to conflict.
At that time, the number of conflicts between countries was decreasing, but there was an alarming increase in the number of conflicts within countries. Both types of conflict were undermining development and leading to gross violations of human rights. Identifying and highlighting individual abuses of human rights was not enough; a different approach was desperately needed. It was out of this urgency that International Alert was born.
In 1985 the Standing International Forum on Ethnic Conflict, Development and Human Rights (SIFEC) was founded with the purpose of addressing the issue of conflict and to alert governments and the world to developing crises. The following year, SIFEC merged with another organisation, International Alert on Genocide and Massacres, to become the charity we know today.
In 1986 we named our first Board of Trustees as well as Secretary General, Martin Ennals. Martin was the former Secretary General of Amnesty International and founder of Article 19, and a pioneer of the human rights movement. He served as our Secretary General – and for a time our only full-time member of staff – from 1986–1990. It is thanks in no small part to his energy, inspiration and vision that we have become the organisation that we are today.
Building on our early work in Sri Lanka, Uganda and the Philippines, we now help people find peaceful solutions to conflict in over 20 countries around the world and are one of the world’s leading peacebuilding organisations.