The Importance of Networking

Elise Boulding

Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Dartmouth College and Former Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

IPRA, the International Peace Research Association, I always said was founded out of the wastebasket in the Center for Conflict Resolution at the University of Michigan, which my husband had helped start. Everybody was so excited about this new field of conflict resolution and peace studies. We were getting letters from all around the world asking what was going on.


I noticed they were throwing away all these letters from around the world, so I would rescue them. I created a newsletter for those people who wrote. These people would get back a compendium of what everyone else had been sending in. That became the International Peace Research Newsletter. After a couple of years, we met in Geneva and London to actually form the International Peace Research Association (IPRA). But it was formed out of the network created by that newsletter.


This kind of networking empowers people to do more because they get ideas of how other people are working in their settings.


A researcher by no means is necessarily a conflict resolution specialist. What I kept saying in IPRA is that we needed to move from the research to the practitioners and begin networking with them. As I anticipated, the practitioner networks are formed separately. I don't say that there is no interaction but that is one of the things that I am really sad about. Some of my former students are very active in these practitioner networks. It's really sad that the two are separate. I still hope that we can develop more connections.