Nigeria’s historic presidential vote of March 2015 may prove to be a milestone for African democracy. The peaceful transfer of power opens new prospects for the continent’s demographic and economic giant to strengthen governance, clean up corruption and reverse the spread of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north. Peace and security continue to be elusive in other parts of Nigeria as well. USIP provides education, grants, training and resources to those working for peace in Nigeria, with the aim of informing U.S. government policy and improving governance with approaches that will connect authorities more constructively with citizens, especially at the state level.

Learn more about USIP's work on Nigeria

A Different Route to Countering Violent Extremism: What Works?

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 09:30
Tue, 04/14/2015 - 11:30

From Paris to northeastern Nigeria to Burma, violent extremism has emerged as a critical threat to peace and stability. Military and police responses make headlines, but many governments, civil society organizations and individuals also are doing painstaking work to build resilience, support alternative narratives, reduce underlying divisions and ultimately counter the allure of militant groups. State Department Counselor on Counterterrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism, Eric Rosand, joins the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum on Tuesday, April 14, at the U.S. Institute of Peace for a discussion of the results of these efforts, and how to build on effective approaches.


The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) provides a monthly platform in Washington for highlighting innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. Established in 1999, the forum’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving.

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Religion and Gender in Extremist Violence: A Discussion with Human Rights Defenders

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:30
Thu, 02/12/2015 - 15:00

Former President Jimmy Carter calls discrimination and violence against women and girls one of the most serious and pervasive -- yet ignored -- violations of human rights. Escalating violent religious extremism fuels this pattern. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the U.S. Institute of Peace and The Carter Center were pleased to host this event, which addressed ways in which human rights defenders in Libya and Iraq are working to build peace with particular attention to the role of religion and gender. 

carter center logoReligion often is used to justify violence and the unequal status of women. More than ever, these problems are interrelated, and efforts that address them in isolation fail to produce comprehensive, long-term strategies.

Manal Omar, Welcoming Remarks
Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP

Karin Ryan, Remarks
Senior Advisor for Human Rights and Project Director, Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative, The Carter Center

Panel Discussion: 

  • Dr. Alaa Murabit
    Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
  • Mubin Shaikh
    Counterterrorism, CVE and De-radicalization Expert in Canada
  • Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
    Co-Founder & Executive Director, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  • Fatima Kadhim Al-Bahadly
    Director, Al-Firdaws Society, Iraq
  • Susan Hayward, Moderator
    Interim Director, Religion & Peacebuilding Center, USIP

Q&A with audience

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U.S. Policy Today for Africa Tomorrow

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:00
Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:30
A Conversation with Ambassadors Carson, Lyman and Moose

On July 22, Ambassadors Carson, Lyman, and Moose discussed U.S.-Africa Engagement at USIP. 

Read the event  analysis, U.S. Africa Summit Leaders Face Weighty Agenda for Continent

Home to burgeoning economies and brutal civil conflicts – sometimes coexisting in the same country – Africa is increasingly prominent in the foreign policy agendas of world powers. In early August, President Obama will convene most of the heads of state of the 54 nations of Africa in Washington, D.C. for the first-ever summit between U.S. and African leaders. There will be no shortage of issues to discuss, from how to harness Africa's economic growth and lift large sections of its population out of poverty, to growing trade between the U.S.

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Water Security and Conflict Prevention Summit

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 08:30
Tue, 09/10/2013 - 14:00

On September 10, 2013, U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) hosted a summit on the growing concerns in water security and the risks for increased conflict.

Read the event coverage, USIP Hosts International Gathering on Water Security and Conflict Prevention

Water is an undeniable, un-substitutable, and powerful factor in everyone’s life, from sustaining individual lives to defining both economic and social policies and practices. As populations and demand expand while supplies decline, access to water will become increasingly difficult, raising the prospects for conflict over this precious resource. By 2025, experts estimated that 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions of absolute water scarcity.

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Nigerian Dilemmas

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 14:00
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 15:30

USIP recently published two Special Reports. One by Aaron Sayne, entitled What’s Next for Security in the Niger Delta, focused on the unfolding situation in the Niger Delta. The other, Midterm Challenges in Nigeria by John Paden, looks at the run-up to the elections and the need to examine whether mechanisms for avoiding conflict are sufficient.


International attention focused on Nigeria tends to fixate on terrorism. But there are other pressing issues. One is the Niger Delta where an amnesty for rebels has reduced the level of violence but has not settled the grievances of those in the Delta against the state and federal governments. Another is the run up to 2015 elections which hopefully will not generate the same level of violence that followed the last elections.

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Salih Booker

Vice President for External Relations

Please submit all media inquiries to or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Salih Booker is the vice president for external relations at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Previously, he was a special advisor to the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa. Earlier, Mr. Booker directed two international human rights organizations – the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and the Washington-based Global Rights and was the founding Director of Africa Action. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and served as a Ford Foundation program officer in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Corruption Poses Unparalleled Threat, U.S. Official Says

Corruption is an unparalleled threat to democracy and prosperity that costs the global economy as much as $2 trillion a year, and it will require the approach of a marathon rather than a sprint to eradicate the scourge, according to William Brownfield, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement. Victories like the current transformation of Ukrainian traffic police from reviled bribe takers to respected public servants give citizens the kind of hope needed to fortify them through the long, tough process of reform.

The corrosive effects of corruption can undermine entire societies, Brownfield said in a Dec. 10 event at the U.S. Institute of Peace. By weakening effective government, draining wealth, breeding discontent and destroying the investment climate, corruption plays a key role in spawning dangerous, unstable environments around the world.

“There is no greater corrosive threat to democracy and prosperity throughout the human race than corruption,” Brownfield said.

Colin Cleary
Thu, 12/17/2015 - 09:30
Issue Areas: 
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Terrorism Study: ISIS Isn’t the Deadliest Extremist Group

Worldwide deaths from terrorist incidents jumped 80 percent in 2014 compared with the year before and were concentrated in five major conflict zones, according to the third annual Global Terrorism Index, released November 17. While that conclusion was unsurprising, the index included less obvious findings with implications for policy makers who have to tailor solutions to specific countries and regions, according to experts who discussed the study at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Data in the index help differentiate between causes of terrorist incidents within countries and those that are transnational, said Georgia Holmer, director of countering violent extremism at USIP.

Gopal Ratnam
Wed, 11/18/2015 - 15:34
Type of Article: 

Women, Religion and Peacebuilding

Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen examines the obstacles and opportunities that women religious peacebuilders face as they navigate both the complex conflicts they are seeking to resolve and the power dynamics in the insti­tutions they must deal with in order to accomplish their goals.

Susan Hayward and Katherine Marshall, editors

Many women working for peace around the world are motivated by their religious beliefs, whether they work within secular or religious organizations. These women often find themselves sidelined or excluded from mainstream peacebuilding efforts. Secular organizations can be uncomfortable working with religious groups. Meanwhile, religious institutions often dissuade or even disallow women from leadership positions.

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 01:00
Issue Areas: 

Law and Disorder on the “Outlaw Ocean”

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 09:30
Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:30
A Twitter Forum with New York Times Reporter Ian Urbina

The high seas are a lawless space where ships can hide their ownership, movements and practices, and thus escape the rule of law applied on land. A startling New York Times series, “The Outlaw Ocean,” reports this summer on how ships’ crews are abused and enslaved in the tens of thousands. Migrants are trafficked or killed, drugs and arms smuggled, and toxic wastes dumped – all beyond any effective law enforcement by governments or international agencies. Join a Twitter discussion August 18th with the Times’ lead reporter on the series, Ian Urbina, about impunity at sea and the connected issues of justice, international security, and human rights.

Read the Twitter chat recap, Twitter Forum Explores Lawlessness at Sea.

Urbina and colleagues at the Times tracked rogue ships that escape criminal charges in part by repeatedly changing their names and flags. They gathered databases on the unreported scale of violence on the high seas. They visited fishing vessels that do battle and floating armories from which squads of security guards battle boredom and pirates. 

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Articles & Analysis

Corruption is an unparalleled threat to democracy and prosperity that costs the global economy as much as $2 trillion a year, and it will require the approach of a marathon rather than a sprint to...

Colin Cleary

Worldwide deaths from terrorist incidents jumped 80 percent in 2014 compared with the year before and were concentrated in five major conflict zones, according to the third annual Global Terrorism...

Gopal Ratnam

The extremist organization ISIS manipulates gender dynamics far better than its opponents often understand. It recruits young men with promises of control over women and uses mass rape as a form...

Fred Strasser

Videos & Webcasts

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his new government will “do what it takes” to defeat the extremist violence of Boko Haram, and he bluntly called on the U.S. to ease its restrictions on...

Nigeria’s next government needs to have the political will to act decisively against the Boko Haram extremist group, said Pastor Esther Abimiku Ibanga ahead of the country’s March 28 presidential...

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, begins 2015 at the brink of both a historically important election and a breakdown of state authority that is simultaneously cause and effect of the...

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Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen examines the obstacles and opportunities that women religious peacebuilders face as they navigate both the complex conflicts they are...
USIP Staff
Nigeria’s historic presidential vote of March 2015, in which an opposition candidate won against a sitting president for the first time, may prove to be a milestone for African democracy. The...