International Crisis Group

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International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group logo.png
Abbreviation Crisis Group
Motto "Preventing War. Shaping Peace."
Formation 1995
Type International non-governmental organization
Headquarters 149 Avenue Louise Level 14
B-1050 Brussels
Fields International conflict prevention and resolution
Key people
Robert Malley
(President and CEO)
Mark Malloch-Brown
Ayo Obe

The International Crisis Group (ICG; also simply known as the Crisis Group) is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995 that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict. It advocates policies directly with governments, multilateral organisations and other political actors as well as the media.[1]


The International Crisis Group was founded after a chance meeting in January 1993 between former US diplomat and then-President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Morton I. Abramowitz and then future World Bank Vice-President Mark Malloch Brown on a flight to Sarajevo.[2] The international community's difficulty in responding to the Bosnian War provided the catalyst for "an independent organisation that would serve as the world’s eyes and ears on the ground in countries in conflict while pressing for immediate action."[2] George Soros was involved in discussions early on and provided seed money.[2] Disaster relief specialist Fred Cuny made significant contributions to disaster relief in Bosnia, and was brought on board later that year, though participation was cut short by his death in 1995.[2]

In November 1994, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace announced plans for Crisis Group, while former Congressman Stephen J. Solarz toured foreign capitals to promote the new organisation and raise funds, gaining early support from Martti Ahtisaari (President of Finland), Gareth Evans (Foreign Minister of Australia) and Bernard Kouchner (founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and future French Foreign Minister).[2] A January 1995 meeting in London brought many international figures together, and approved a proposal for an annual budget of $8m and 75 full-time staff. In mid-1995 it was formally registered in the US as a tax-exempt non-profit organisation.[2] From 1996 to 1999, Crisis Group had an annual budget of around $2m and around 20 full-time staff; by 2008 its budget was $15m.[2]

Following the death of its first president, Nicholas Hinton, in January 1997 and his replacement by Alain Destexhe, Crisis Group moved its headquarters from London to Brussels.[2] Destexhe resigned in October 1999 and was replaced by Gareth Evans, with Martti Ahtisaari becoming Chairman both from the beginning of 2000.[2][page needed] Louise Arbour became president in July 2009,[2] succeeded in September 2014 by Jean-Marie Guéhenno.[3] In January 2018 Robert Malley, became President and CEO.[4]



The International Crisis Group is an independent organisation working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. It provides early warning through its monthly CrisisWatch bulletin, a global conflict tracker designed to identify risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. The organisation produces analysis and advice on specific policy issues in conflict or potential conflict situations; it engages with policy-makers, regional organisations and other key actors to promote peaceful solutions to major conflicts; and it offers new strategic and tactical thinking on intractable conflicts and crises.

Regional Programs

The Africa Program’s priorities are to forge responses to the threat of violent jihadism, particularly in the greater Sahel and Lake Chad basin area, and to help prevent political unrest and build peace in the troubled states of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, and South Sudan. Leading the Program’s work since 2011 is Comfort Ero, formerly Africa Program deputy director at the International Centre for Transitional Justice, and a member of the board of several journals including International Peacekeeping.

The Asia Program is focused on devising conflict prevention strategies to de-escalate geopolitical tensions, particularly regarding North Korea and Afghanistan, as well as tackling violent extremism and transnational militancy, especially in the Philippines. The Program, which also tracks the global rise of China and the narrowing democratic space in many Asian countries, has been led since 2017 by Anagha Neelakantan. She was previously the Program’s Deputy Director, our analyst in Nepal in 2010–2013, and the executive editor of the Nepali Times weekly.

The Europe & Central Asia Program works primarily to contain the risk of conflict escalation in the EU’s and Russia’s shared neighbourhood, particularly in Ukraine and regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; and to counter threats to stability in the region, including in Turkey. Its work has been headed by Magdalena Grono since 2016, who has worked on conflict and transition in the former Soviet Union since 1999. She previously advised the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and mediated on the EU side the humanitarian strand of the Geneva International Discussions dealing with Georgia conflict issues.

The Latin America & Caribbean Program’s main goal is to reduce the risks of political violence and civil war, particularly in Venezuela and Colombia; and to inform regional policies to address migration, corruption and criminality in Mexico and in Central America more broadly. The Program has been led since 2016 by Ivan Briscoe, who has worked on the region since 1996 as a senior research fellow at the Clingendael Institute of the Netherlands and Spain’s FRIDE, and as a journalist in Argentina and Spain, including for El País.

The Middle East & North Africa Program’s principal aims are to urge warring parties to reach peace settlements in the region’s most violent conflicts, especially in Syria, Yemen and Libya; to sustain the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal in the face of dangerous headwinds; and to avert direct or indirect confrontation between Iran and Israel and/or between Iran and its Gulf neighbours. The Program has been led since 2015 by Joost Hiltermann, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and author of A Poisonous Affair.

The newly established U.S. Program develops and promotes strategies for addressing crises that could draw the United States into major conflict, such as on the Korean peninsula, as well as for mitigating the impact of U.S. counterterrorism operations on civilians and for encouraging U.S. support to programs and mechanisms that furnish assistance to victims of conflict. The Program is led by Stephen Pomper, who served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the U.S. National Security Council.


A January 1995 meeting in London brought many international figures together, and approved a proposal for an annual budget of $8 million and 75 full-time staff. In mid-1995 it was formally registered in the U.S. as a tax-exempt non-profit organisation. From 1996 to 1999, Crisis Group had an annual budget of around $2 million and around 20 full-time staff; by 2017 its budget had risen to over $17 million. Crisis Group receives funding under grants from governments, charitable foundations, private companies and individual donors. In 2017, it received 43% of its funding from governments, 28% from charitable foundations, 22% from the private sector, 3% from investment income, 3% from other sources and 2% from program service revenue.[5]


Crisis Group is headquartered in Brussels, with advocacy offices in Washington DC, New York and London. Other legally registered offices are based in Bogota, Colombia; Dakar, Senegal; Istanbul, Turkey; and Nairobi, Kenya.

As of June 2018, Crisis Group has a presence in Abu Dhabi, Abuja, Bangkok, Beirut, Caracas, Gaza City, Guatemala City, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Juba, Kabul, Kiev, Mexico City, Mogadishu, Rabat, Tblisi, Toronto, Tunis and Yangon.

Crisis Group also has a presence in a number of other countries, the details of which are not disclosed primarily for reasons of field-based staff security.

Officers and staff[edit]

Board of Trustees[edit]

Robert Malley, who previously served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser, became President & CEO of the organisation in January 2018. His predecessor, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, a former UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, served as President and Chief Executive from 2014 to the end of 2017. He was preceded by Louise Arbour, formerly the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She was preceded from January 2000 to July 2009 by Gareth Evans, former Foreign Minister of Australia.

Crisis Group Board of Trustees is chaired by Mark Malloch Brown, Former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. The Vice Chair of the Board is Ayo Obe, lawyer, columnist and TV presenter from Nigeria. As of June 2018 the Board consisted of the following trustees:


Crisis Group's "In Pursuit of Peace Award" was established in 2005, and is associated with a gala event in New York City. Recipients include U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush;[why?] Hillary Clinton; Nobel Peace Prize laureates Martti Ahtisaari and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and financier and philanthropist George Soros.[7]

Recipients for 2018 include Frank Giustra, founder of the Radcliffe Foundation and a prolific entrepreneur and financier, H.R.H. Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Olympic Refugee & Paralympic Teams.


Gareth Evans, President and Chief Executive of the International Crisis Group for nine years and former foreign minister of Australia, officially recognized East Timor as a province of Indonesia, a decade after the dictatorship invaded and carried out a genocide of the East Timorese, killing 200,000 according to a report co-sponsored by the Australian Parliament.[8] Evans described the massacre of 200 East Timorese in 1991 by the Indonesian Army as an "aberration," despite widespread knowledge of the Indonesian military's genocide.[9]

A July 2014 special issue of Third World Quarterly brought together 10 critiques of the organisation from the Left.[10]


  1. ^ "It is not a campaign organization in the familiar grass-roots, or now social-media sense, but it is certainly a high-level advocacy one, seeking constantly to communicate directly with government policymakers and those who influence them, and with a strong media profile." - The International Crisis Group: The Role of a Global NGO in Preventing and Resolving Deadly Conflict, Gareth Evans, 17 May 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ICG, Fifteen Years on the Front Lines, 1995-2010 Archived 2013-03-13 at the Wayback Machine.. pp. 10-27.
  3. ^ "International Crisis Group announces next President & CEO Jean-Marie Guéhenno". Challenges Forum. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  4. ^ "Robert Malley". Crisis Group. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  5. ^ "International Crisis Group" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Frank Giustra, President & Ceo from Vancouver". Check Director. nd. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner: Peace, Prosperity and the Presidency". International Crisis Group. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012.
  8. ^ "2011 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture by Prof Noam Chomsky".
  9. ^ "East Timor: a lesson in why the poorest threaten the powerful". 5 April 2012. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015.
  10. ^ Knowledge Production in Conflict: the International Crisis Group Third World Quarterly, 2014, Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 545-722. Taylor & Francis

External links[edit]