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The International Crisis Group (ICG; also simply known as the Crisis Group) is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1995 that advertises itself as carrying out field research on violent conflict and says it advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict[1].

International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group logo.png
AbbreviationCrisis Group
TypeInternational non-governmental organization
Headquarters149 Avenue Louise Level 14
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
FieldsInternational conflict prevention and resolution
Key people



The International Crisis Group is an organisation which describes itself as working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. It says it provides early warning through its monthly CrisisWatch bulletin, a global conflict tracker it says is designed to identify risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. The organisation says it produces detailed analysis and advice on specific policy issues in conflict or potential conflict situations; and that it engages with policy-makers, regional organisations and other key actors to promote peaceful solutions to major conflicts; and that it offers new strategic and tactical thinking on intractable conflicts and crises.[2]


The ICG garnered controversy in April 2013 as it awarded Myanmar President Thein Sein its "In Pursuit of Peace Award",[3] with the award ceremony coinciding with the publication of a Human Rights Watch report of ethnic cleansing by Sein's administration.[4][5][6]

A July 2014 special edition of the peer-reviewed journal Third World Quarterly published 10 critiques of the organisation, ranging from its influence on foreign-policy makers, "manufacturing" crises, and the methodologies it deploys in gathering its research.[7]

Gareth Evans, president and CEO 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 in 1991, killing 200,000, according to a report co-sponsored by the Australian Parliament.[8] Evans described the massacre by the Indonesian Army as an "aberration".[9]

Regional ProgramsEdit

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[10], 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[11], 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, 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[12], 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[13]; 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[14], 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.


George Soros provided the organization's seed funding[a][16] and continues to support it.[b]. The first government representative to offer financial support, of $100,000 was Martti Ahtisaari, in March 1994.[c] That same year, Gareth Evans, as Foreign Minister of Australia, pledged $500,000.[d].

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. For the financial year ending June 30 2018, it received 45% of its funding from governments, 23% from foundations, 27% from the private sector, 3% from investment income, 2% in "kind contributions", 2% from program service revenue and 1% from investment income.[18]

23% of the ICG's budget comes from the government of Qatar, it was reported in 2019.[19]


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.

Board of TrusteesEdit

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.[20]

Malley, the current ICG president, had his ties to the Obama electoral campaign severed in May 2008, when it became public that Malley had been in discussions with the militant Palestinian group Hamas, listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.[21][22]

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:

Past board members have included, for example, Sandy Berger[23] and Stephen Solarz.[24][25]

Chairman EmeritusEdit

Martti Ahtisaari[26]

Gareth Evans[26]


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; Hillary Clinton; former Brazilian President Lula da Silva;[27] Nobel Peace Prize laureates Martti Ahtisaari and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and financier and philanthropist George Soros.

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


  1. ^ "I was happy to offer the seed money to get them started investigating the possibilities for a new organisation"[15]
  2. ^ "I’ve been a proud supporter of Crisis Group ever since"[15]
  3. ^ "Martti Ahtisaari, had just been elected President of Finland a month earlier. When I explained to Martti what we had in mind, he immediately and graciously offered to provide $100,000 in funding from Finland"[17]
  4. ^ "Gareth Evans, then Foreign Minister of Australia, who indicated his government would be prepared to provide up to $500,000 in multi-year funding if we decided to move ahead."[17]


  1. ^ "International Crisis Group Calls Afghan Government 'Shaky'". Voice of America News.
  2. ^ "Preventing War. Shaping Peace". Crisis Group. 2016-07-07. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ Dan Murphy (22 April 2013). "Myanmar's Ruler to Get Peace Prize, Despite 'Ethnic Cleansing' Charge". Christian Science Monitor.
  4. ^ GUY HORTON. "Burma's Shame: Why the ICG's Peace Award for Thein Sein Is Unconscionable". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 5 April 2019. The ICG’s notorious history of nuanced understating of human rights violations to promote collaboration with successive regimes has finally culminated in this shameful bequest. A seal of approval has been given to what is a racist dictatorship.
  5. ^ Francis Wade (22 April 2013). "International Crisis Group makes a mockery of 'peace' in Burma". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 5 April 2019. groups like ICG wanting to become part of a “pacted transition” in Burma, with a pro-trade and aid stance that ultimately reaps significant economic benefits for stakeholders, ICG included.
  6. ^ "Islamophobia: Myanmar's racist fault-line". Al Jazeera. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2019. Unconscionable then, that the International Crisis Group chose to honour Thein Sein with its peace award this year.
  7. ^ Knowledge Production in Conflict: the International Crisis Group Third World Quarterly, 2014, Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 545-722. Taylor & Francis
  8. ^ "2011 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture by Prof Noam Chomsky". 2011-11-02.
  9. ^ "East Timor: a lesson in why the poorest threaten the powerful". 5 April 2012. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015.
  11. ^ "EASO Country of Origin Information Report: Afghanistan Individuals targeted by armed actors in the conflict". Relief Web.
  12. ^ "Ivan Briscoe". The Dialogue.
  13. ^ "A Year Later, Iran Nuclear Deal OK, But Road Ahead Could Be Rocky". NPR.
  14. ^ "Stephen Pomper talks about possible outcomes for the Trump-Kim summit". CGTN America.
  15. ^ a b ICG 2010, p. 11.
  16. ^ ICG 2010, p. 6: "George Soros was in from the beginning"
  17. ^ a b ICG 2010, p. 12.
  18. ^ "Financials". Crisis Group. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Board of Trustees". Crisis Group. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Baldwin, Tom (May 10, 2008). "Barack Obama sacks adviser over talks with Hamas". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  23. ^
  24. ^ DOUGLAS MARTIN (29 November 2010). "Stephen J. Solarz, Former N.Y. Congressman, Dies at 70". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2019. He was a leader of the International Crisis Group, which works with governments and global organizations to quell deadly conflicts.
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b "Board of Trustees". International Crisis Group. ICG. Archived from the original on 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019. Chairmen Emeriti - Martti Ahtisaari - Gareth Evans
  27. ^ William Corliss (22 April 2013). "Conflicted peace prize for Thein Sein". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019. gala dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York City to present its annual "In Pursuit of Peace Award". This year's recipients are Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former President of Brazil, and Thein Sein, the current President of Myanmar.


External linksEdit