About the author

A bit of background in case you are interested:-


I am Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. I am also a part-time Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manchester, where I’m affiliated with the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. Until August this year I was Secretary General of International Alert, the London-based international peacebuilding organisation.

I took up my post at International Alert in December 2003. Before that, I was Director of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. I have written books, articles and reports about conflict and international politics for over 30 years and I have worked with divided communities so they could try to enhance their prospects for peaceful relations. I was a member of the UN Peacebuilding Fund‘s Advisory Group from 2007 through 2011, and chair of it in 2010 and 2011.


I am British, a Londoner by nature but, these days, living in the most London-like part of Stockholm I can find (that’s to say, Södermalm – and what a great area it is). I am of the baby boom generation and, like a reported three-quarters of boomers, I fondly think I look younger than the rest of that generation. You be the judge (actually, this needs an update – these days I am bearded):

May 2013

In July 2009 I started out on what a friend called Fatherhood v2.0. Fatherhood is one reason why there are intermittent silences on this blog (my verbosity is another – if I were to write shorter blogs, I’d probably write more of them). In addition, in August 2014 I became a grandfather. And then in February 2015 I became a grandfather again (if you see what I mean).

So: sorry about the blog but from time to time (like every week) there is a bigger priority.

And by the way, thanks for asking: while still uncertain about my future as a septuagenarian father of a teenager, I am still loving Fatherhood v2.0.


The picture at the top of the page is of the main reading room in the Library of Alexandria. Here’s another.

Alexandria Library, main reading room

Alexandria Library, main reading room

It’s the modern one, obviously, not the ancient one that was founded about 283 BCE and whose destruction remains an unsolved mystery.  The building is beautiful and the institution and the way it is run reflect an inclusive, reflective idea about education, learning and civilisation. The more I learned about Egypt under Mubarak, the more extraordinary it seems to me that the library could be founded and run in the way that it has been. In the events that overthrew Mubarak in February 2011, the Library emerged unscathed.

In whatever future unfolds for Egypt now, the survival of the Library of Alexandria may be a useful litmus test of freedoms and values in the country.

Visit it if ever you have an opportunity – it really is wonderful.

(Updated September 2015)

8 responses to “About the author

  1. Hello Dan,

    Long time, no see. Congratulations on fatherhood revisited. Us older dads have much to offer, I like to think. My eight-year-old son, Conrad, is pure pleasure, and keeps me busy.

    I’ll keep in mind the Library at Alexandria.


    Tony Simpson
    Betrand Russell Peace Foundation

  2. Global Peace Index

    I am getting touch with you on behalf of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) to let you know that this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) will be launched on June 12th. Having covered the GPI previously, we thought you might be interested in receiving this year’s ranking.

    We will be in touch closer to the launch with GPI results, interactive maps, videos and charts; however if you have any question or would like to speak to someone from the IEP about the GPI, feel free to get in touch before then.

    If, for whatever reason, you are not interested in this year’s GPI and do not wish to be contacted on the subject do please let us know and we will remove you from our contact list.


  3. Drazen Pehar

    Dan, glad to see that you are active….still having a good memories of the lectures you delievered at Nansen School in 1995; I recently published a book on Izetbegovic, a bilingual one, and it partly deals with an innovative addition of my own to the theory of the causes of war, If you would like to read it, I will be happy to e-mail to you an e-version. Best regards. Drazen

  4. Dear Dan, thanks for this excellent piece. I would be interested in exploring further with IA the proposed work on expanding our understanding of violent conflict. Regards
    Ozonnia Ojielo
    Coordinator, Conflict Prevention and Recovery, BCPR
    UNDP, NY.

  5. Dear Dan,
    Thank You so much for your inspiring work!
    Could we at Positive News US get a copy of your recent State of the World Atlas for review?
    With much appreciation,
    Ilonka Wloch

  6. Dear Dan,
    To ditto Ilonka, your work is inspiring.
    I (along with a group of young writers) are looking for some great minds to help launch our new website discussing various global issues. I wondered if you had any work that you would like to share with our readers, or perhaps a copy of your fantastic article ‘Natural Resources in a Conflict Context’?
    It would be great if your writing was shared further, and great for us to have some work written by more experienced writers such as yourself.
    Kind regards
    Tom Beacham
    Global Issuers

  7. Pingback: BibSonomy :: url :: About the author | Dan Smith's blog

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