Santa Fe Goes to War

In February 2011, a remarkable meeting took place at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. SFI, one of the world’s preeminent academic and research institutions, has pioneered the use of concepts developed in studying complex adaptive systems to address environmental, technological, biological, economic and political challenges. In collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), SFI brought together a group of policy-makers, academics, development experts, scientists, and Afghan tribal and business leaders. The task was ambitious: to develop new ways of thinking about and working in conflict-affected countries, with a special focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The participants had diverse interests, from how to shift to a long-term sustainable development approaches in such countries to how to better counter violent insurgency movements. The work by SFI and others on complexity and emergence in the context of conflict, behavioral dynamics, policy making, strategy formulation and sustainable development served as a framework for these important discussions,  enabling participants to explore ways to bridge the gap between foreign policy decision-making process and a more innovative, scientific approach. “Foreign Policy and Complex Adaptive Systems:  Exploring New Paradigms for Analysis and Action”

Also of interest: USAID’s own notes on “the Complexity Event”

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