Nigeria faces a series of critical challenges. Elections are looming for the spring of 2011 and this always generates severe tensions. Pressure will be on the electoral commission and other officials to conduct more credible elections than most previous elections. While violence in the Niger Delta subsided temporarily after an amnesty was declared for rebels in 2009, kidnapping and sabotage of oil installations are on the rise again. The amnesty process suffered several serious shortcomings. Violent conflict between Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria, and particularly in Plateau State and Bauchi, seems to allude containment.

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. 

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.

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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Brett G. Sylvia

Military Fellow

Please submit all media inquiries to or call 202.429.3869.

For all other inquiries, please call 202.457.1700.

Brett Sylvia, a 20 year veteran of the U.S. Army, came to the U.S. Institute of Peace as a fellow in the summer of 2014 after recently completing command of a battalion conducting combat operations in Western and Southwestern Afghanistan.

Inclusive Approaches to Community Policing and CVE

What happens when community policing—a strategy that promotes collaboration between the police and a community to ensure safety and security—is implemented in transitional societies, in marginalized communities, or to prevent violent extremism or to engage women in providing community-level security? To ensure that they are not doing more harm than good, security, gender, and peacebuilding practitioners must both expand their understanding of policing methodologies and related assumptions and reconcile sometimes competing objectives.

Georgia Holmer with Fulco van Deventer


  • Accountable and effective policing institutions are key to stability in volatile environments, especially societies transitioning from conflict or authoritarian rule. From a development or peacebuilding perspective, community policing can aid in reform of security institutions and give civil society an active role in the process.
  • Community policing—simultaneously an ethos, a strategy, and a collaboration—helps promote democratic policing ideals and advance a human security paradigm.
Thu, 09/18/2014 - 15:29
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The Crowd Who Would Be King

Technology is connecting people all over the world, giving them new power and a stronger voice. But is it making government any better?

Sheldon Himelfarb

If there is one word that has been on everyone's lips during the political crises in Iraq, Ukraine, and Afghanistan, it is "inclusive." Heads of state, foreign secretaries, and even military chiefs like NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have made head

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 16:18
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National Security Advisor Rice Vows Long-Term Ties with Africa

National Security Advisor Susan Rice drew attention to Africa's progress in the past two decades and its possibilities for economic growth, good governance and long-term stability, in a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace on the eve of next week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

Viola Gienger

Previewing the event, which will bring approximately 50 presidents and prime ministers to Washington, Rice announced that President Barack Obama will work with Congress for a "seamless, long-term renewal" of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and that the administration plans to double the number of young African leaders brought to the U.S.

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:24
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U.S. Africa Summit Leaders Face Weighty Agenda for Continent

President Barack Obama and African leaders attending the first U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington next month face an array of factors undermining the democratic development and economic growth achieved on the continent in recent decades, according to three former high-level U.S. officials on Africa who spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace this week.

Viola Gienger

Ambassadors Johnnie Carson, Princeton Lyman and George Moose, all of whom now are affiliated with USIP, outlined the priorities that will need to be addressed at the Aug. 4-6 Summit and beyond to achieve the improved security, governance and trade and investment that Africa needs. Leaders of most of Africa’s 54 nations will meet as a group not only with Obama but also with Cabinet members and chief executive officers of major American companies that are potential investors and trading partners.

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 13:10
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Preventing Extremist Violence: Views From a Peacebuilder

Holmer, who leads USIP’s project on Women Preventing Extremist Violence (WPEV), presented her views July 8 during the latest Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum, a monthly event conducted in Washington since 1999 to highlight innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. USIP is one of nine co-sponsors of the forum. Holmer’s remarks have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Articles & Analysis

September 24, 2014

How is it possible to do community policing in the absence of trust between citizens and security forces? This is just one of the questions that challenged an international group of experts as they explored the role of police and citizens, especially women, in countering violent extremism (CVE), during a workshop hosted by USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding. 

Our Work in the Field

From Northern Ireland to Somalia to Pakistan, police leaders and ministry officials attending a series of courses that USIP co-hosted on community policing expressed surprise that they faced common challenges -- from the threat of violent...

Religion is often seen as the cause of strife around the globe, but in reality, it can provide the foundation for what helps to end conflict. USIP’s work, from Indonesia to Pakistan, demonstrates that religion can play a positive role in managing...

The April 2011 elections in Nigeria marked a pivotal period for the country. The European Union dubbed the tumultuous 2007 elections “the worst they had seen anywhere in the world.” Given this, there were concerns that the 2011 elections would...

Senior Program Officers Nina Sughrue and Noor Kirdar continued USIP’s support for the international Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU), run by the Italian Caribinieri in Vicenza, Italy. CoESPU, which was established on March...

Learn More


What happens when community policing—a strategy that promotes collaboration between the police and a community to ensure safety and security—is implemented in transitional societies, in marginalized...
National Security Advisor Susan Rice drew attention to Africa's progress in the past two decades and its possibilities for economic growth, good governance and long-term stability, in a speech at the...