BACKGROUND PAPER Strategic Communication Explains the Work of Peace and Is the Work of Peace

Strategic communication plays a critical role in both the promotion and the practice of foreign policy. Strategic communication is how those who conduct foreign policy in international capitals and on the ground in conflict zones both talk about their work and how they do their work. This is as true for treaty negotiations as it is for local peacebuilders. As such, successful promotion of peacebuilding and peacekeeping, and successful peacebuilding and peacekeeping itself require an understanding of both the theory and practice of strategic communication.

This paper defines strategic communication and connect the work of peacebuilding research and practice to communication theory. The paper concludes that if the analysis is correct, there are several implications: those who talk about the work to gain attention to, and support for, peacebuilding should keep the larger strategies of strategic communication in mind as they do the work; those who study the success or failure of strategic communication efforts have several thousands of years of research on which to draw; and if strategic communication is central to the work of peacebuilding, then communication theory should be central to peacebuilding research and practice.