The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has played a key role in promoting peaceful governance through collaborative civic engagement in Iraq since 2003. USIP’s core mission is to strengthen local capacities to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts peacefully by assisting Iraqis to develop the tools and institutions necessary to peacefully resolve disputes. We work across the community, provincial and national levels, and above all seek to provide Iraqis with the tools to act as citizens and peace builders. Our Iraqi partners in government and civil society have facilitated dialogue with multiple stakeholders across the country that address the roots of the conflict and propose concrete solutions.

Consolidating Democratic Gains or Cementing Sectarian Divides?

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:30
Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:30
Prospects for Iraq’s April 30 Elections

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) are pleased to present a panel of experts to share their perspectives on Iraq’s rapidly approaching April 30 national elections, which will take place against a backdrop of sharpening sectarian divisions and an increasingly precarious security environment.


Later this month, Iraqis will go to the polls to elect new members of the Council of Representatives, the country’s legislative body, as well as members of provincial assemblies in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Preparations for the April 30 elections have been turbulent to date, with looming questions regarding the ability of displaced Iraqis to participate in the polls; the controversial disqualification of certain candidates; and the now-rescinded resignation of the commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission, the body charged with organizing the polls.

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Governance and Stability in Iraq

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:00
Tue, 01/14/2014 - 17:00
Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq and Discussions with Members of the Council of Representatives

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the National Defense University (NDU), and the Iraqi American Community Center (IAC) hosted H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, and members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for public remarks and a discussion on governance, services, transition, and peace and stability in Iraq.

Despite regional geopolitical tensions from Syria, high levels of violence, and political differences, Iraq has braved its external and internal obstacles to remain on course to hold its national elections scheduled for April 2014. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, the relationship between the federal, regional, and provincial levels and devolution of powers will remain at the core of Iraq’s politics, and with significant implications for governance, services, security, and overall peace and stability in the country.

The schedule of events was as follows:

2:00pm to 3:15pm | Remarks by H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

  • William B. Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President for Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Keynote Remarks
    Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
  • Q&A Discussion

3:15pm to 3:30pm | Intermission

3:30pm to 5:00pm |Town Hall Discussion with Iraqi Members of Council of Representatives

  • Sarhang Hamasaeed, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ezzat al-Shebander
    Member of Council of Representatives
  • Nada al-Juburi
    Member of Council of Representatives

This event was hosted jointly by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Defense University, and the Iraqi American Community Center.

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Iraq’s Transition: Remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noori al-Maliki

Thu, 10/31/2013 - 10:00
Thu, 10/31/2013 - 11:15

The United States Institute of Peace will host Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Noori al-Maliki for public remarks and a discussion on U.S.-Iraq relations, and the current challenges facing Iraq and the region.

Jim Marshall, Opening Remarks and Moderator
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Amb. Beth Jones, Introductory Remarks
Acting Assistant Secretary of State – Near Eastern Affairs

H.E. Noori al-Maliki, Keynote Remarks
Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq

Moderated discussion

Iraq has made significant progress since the last of U.S. troops left the country in December 2011, but continues to face serious challenges. Iraq’s economy became stronger, provincial and regional elections were organized, and the country has made steady steps toward regaining its regional and international stature. At the same time, the country is struggling with high levels of violence and other spillover effects from Syria, as it tries to hold national elections in 2014 and find a workable common vision of governance.

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Amidst Iraq’s Turmoil: What Can We Do?

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 14:00
Mon, 05/06/2013 - 15:30

How are Iraqis coping with the current crisis, and how can they be better engaged by the international community?  What policy levers do the U.S. or other international actors have to help promote stability?  What lessons can be applied across the increasingly porous and insecure boundaries of the Middle East?

For well over a year, Iraq’s political, security, economic, and social well-being continues to be shaken by internal and external events that have implications for stability in the country and the region. Despite gains, recent events on the ground have taken a swift turn. Internal displacement, the rise of armed groups, and recourse to violence present serious challenges in maintaining peace and sustained development within the country.

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Lessons Learned from Iraq and How They Apply to North Africa

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 10:00
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 12:00

The event highlighted the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) experience in Iraq and examined the major problems it discovered, such as America’s “ad hoc” approach, the effectiveness of oversight, funding challenges, and the larger issue of nation-building. Experts explored how lessons learned from Iraq could be applied to other American-led efforts, such as those associated with emerging democracies.


Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen on March 6 released SIGIR’s final report for Congress, “Learning From Iraq,” which details the accomplishments of the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The report provides an “instructive picture of what was the largest stabilization and reconstruction operation ever undertaken by the United States (until recently overtaken by Afghanistan)."  Additionally, the report outlines seven lessons that the U.S. should implement to improve its approach to future stabilization and reconstruction operations.

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Iraq Chief Justice Cites Judicial Progress and Needs Amid Tensions

In the latest of a series of appearances at USIP by prominent figures from all branches of Iraq’s government as well as religious leaders and others in civil society, Al-Mahmood outlined the development of the country’s justice system. He cited its tremendous workload in a country struggling with security and political tensions. Such strains also threaten plans for nationwide parliamentary elections on April 30.

Working Effectively with Interpreters

The success of a project or mission in a cross-cultural, multilingual environment often depends upon effective communication with an audience or local counterpart. Interpreters play a critical role in bridging language and cultural divides, but that depends upon your ability to work with them effectively. Failed interpretation of an important message or concept can easily lead to miscommunication, embarrassment, strained relationships, or even danger. This course offers practical tips to work effectively with interpreters.

Fundamentals of Strategic Advising in Reform Environments

Government institutions, local organizations and individuals need capacity to manage conflicts that arise in society.  International assistance missions focus on strengthening the capacity of foreign governments and individuals and invest significantly in capacity building activities.  Therefore, it has become imperative that advising projects are conducted effectively. This course is designed for experienced professionals who plan to take part in international capacity building missions in post-conflict or fragile environments. The course includes lessons on:

Global Religious Engagement

This course is an introduction to a set of “soft skills” for those who will work closely with religious individuals and groups in a foreign environment. It is geared toward practitioners who will need to engage religious peoples for partnerships, programming, and project implementation, and touches on often-contested issues such as gender and women’s voices, religious freedom, discussing personal beliefs in the public sphere, and how to integrate religion and programming.

Articles & Analysis

March 28, 2014

Iraqi Chief Justice Madhat Al-Mahmood said the country’s judicial system has developed significantly in the past decade, despite the resurgence of violence in the past year. But the courts still need more personnel and training and a greater public awareness of human rights and the rule of law, he said.

Our Work in the Field

Learn More

Classroom Courses

Robert M. Perito

This course will be offered again in the Fall of 2014

A comprehensive strategy is critical for reforming the security sector in post-conflict, transitioning and fragile states. Participants will explore field-tested methods for building military and police forces, and the capacity of oversight ministries. They will develop comprehensive assessments and plans through exercises and simulations guided by experts and through interaction with classmates who "own" other critical pieces of the capacity-building effort.

Drawing from lessons learned in Liberia, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the course will cover the basic principles and steps in security sector reform.

Online Courses

December 11, 2013

This course is designed for international professionals who wish to improve their communication skills when working with an interpreter in a cross-cultural context.

The success of a project or mission in a cross-cultural, multilingual environment often depends upon effective communication with an audience or local counterpart.
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USIP Staff
Iraq’s political divisions will require considerable efforts at reconciliation and better communication among the country’s major political parties, or those divisions are likely to widen, Rowsch N. Shaways, Iraq’s federal deputy prime minister, said during a visit to the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) on March 5.
USIP Staff
An influential Iraqi Shiite scholar used a visit to the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) to argue that even amid the growing Shia-Sunni tensions and violence besetting his country, religious leaders there should support a civic rather than a sectarian conception of state affairs and politics.