Nigeria’s historic election in 2015, which marked the first ballot-box victory over a sitting president in Africa’s most populous nation, opened new prospects for improving governance, reducing corruption and reversing the Boko Haram insurgency in the north. Even amid these imperatives, President Muhammadu Buhari faces a flagging economy—Africa’s biggest—as a result of the collapse of world oil prices, and unresolved conflicts in the Niger Delta and the Middle Belt. USIP provides education, grants, training, and resources to those working for peace in Nigeria and seeks improved governance with approaches that connect authorities more constructively with citizens, especially at the state level. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Nigeria.

The Power of Youth Working for Peace and Equality

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:30
Tue, 09/13/2016 - 11:00

The new U.N. Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security calls for organizations around the globe to involve young women and men more in peacebuilding. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace, Search for Common Ground and other partners on Sept. 13 for a Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum including USAID Agency Youth Coordinator Michael McCabe. Speakers, including youth leaders, will discuss how young women and men are leading such work and what policymakers can do to ensure that the largest generation of youth the world has ever known is not left on the sidelines.


The U.N. resolution, adopted in December, identifies young people as critical partners for peace. It aims to counter a frequent narrative that defines young men as perpetrators of violence and young women as victims. In this discussion, policymakers, civil society organizations, and youth leaders will explore solutions that support youth leadership in peace and security efforts.

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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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Nigerian Governors Set to Discuss Paths to Progress

The urgent challenges for Nigeria’s powerful northern state governors range from addressing a humanitarian crisis sparked by Boko Haram’s insurgency to boosting economic growth with alternatives such as agriculture to make up for declining oil revenue, Johnnie Carson, a senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, said ahead of a governors’ symposium to be held at the Institute next week. 

Fred Strasser

The northern states of Africa’s most populous country are its poorest, and they are beset by social, economic and environmental problems that affect the stability of the whole nation, said Carson, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa who is helping to organize the meeting. Such issues are the cause of underlying tensions that gave rise to the extremist Boko Haram group, and the governors have the clout to begin tackling them, he said.

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:25
Type of Article: 

Nigeria Beyond Boko Haram

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 09:00
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 10:15
An Online Conversation with Northern Nigerian Governors on Strategies for Peace

Despite Nigeria’s recent advances in pushing back the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, the country now faces fresh challenges in the region. They include a growing humanitarian crisis because of destruction and displacement, including the risk of widespread hunger, and the need for progress on reconstruction and reconciling communities. Throughout Nigeria, the flagging economy is further straining businesses, government spending and day-to-day living. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace for a webcast discussion on October 20 with governors from states across the northern region of Nigeria on what they and their citizens can do to address these and other challenges. Participating governors will take questions via Twitter.


In 2014, Boko Haram ranked as the world’s deadliest extremist group, killing thousands of people and outpacing the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS. The insurgency threatens not only Nigeria but neighboring countries across the Lake Chad Basin. Resolving the crisis requires more than a security response. Nigerian leaders and society must address a range of factors – economic, social, environmental and political – that create conditions for Boko Haram and other violent conflict to take root.

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Understanding the Informal Security Sector in Nigeria

Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impact of informal security providers, but these groups have an essential role in a community’s safety and security. This report provides an analysis of the informal security actors in the Nigerian states of Plateau, Kaduna, and Kano and in the capital city of Abuja. 


  • Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impacts of informal security providers, including the perpetration of human rights violations, rather than on the essential roles these groups play in a community’s safety and security.
Ernest Ogbozor
Thu, 09/15/2016 - 15:45
Issue Areas: 

Nigeria’s Powerful Governors Eye Roots of Boko Haram

Governors from northern Nigeria, where the U.S. military is helping quell the Boko Haram militant group, will convene at the U.S. Institute of Peace for the second time this October to agree on civilian actions they can take to address the root causes of violent extremism and help ensure that efforts to stabilize this vital region will stick. Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, a USIP senior advisor helping organize the gathering, said Nigerian governors are some of the most powerful figures in a country that ranks as the continent’s second-largest economy and a political, communications and petroleum giant.

“Northern Nigeria is an area of increasing importance—but also increasing instability and conflict, as a result of Boko Haram,” Carson said. “The United States is engaged there in order to combat violent extremism, to work with leaders there to encourage development, undercut radical recruitment and to build a stronger foundation with an extraordinary, increasingly important Islamic community.”

USIP Staff
Tue, 09/13/2016 - 13:28
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Articles & Analysis

The urgent challenges for Nigeria’s powerful northern state governors range from addressing a humanitarian crisis sparked by Boko Haram’s insurgency to boosting economic growth with alternatives...

Fred Strasser

Governors from northern Nigeria, where the U.S. military is helping quell the Boko Haram militant group, will convene at the U.S. Institute of Peace for the second time this October to agree on...

USIP Staff

Three former high-ranking officials in the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) urged the next presidential administration to commit more...

Viola Gienger

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...

Learn More


USIP Staff
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has made progress on reforming the country’s military and intensifying the fight against the extremist group Boko Haram, which threatens the stability of not only...
Ernest Ogbozor
Informal security actors such as vigilantes play a variety of roles in African communities. Research has tended to focus on the negative impact of informal security providers, but these groups have...