Tunisia’s democratic transition is often hailed as the only real success of the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions, yet the country continues to confront violent extremism, economic strains, and institutions weakened by years of authoritarian rule. The U.S. Institute of Peace works directly with Tunisians to conduct analysis and nurture sustainable programs that improve governance and strengthen civil society. It trains mediators and facilitators on dispute resolution, guides dialogues to improve community-police relations, and assists with the institutionalization of police reform. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on the  Current Situation in Tunisia.

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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Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: On 5th Anniversary, What’s Next?

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 14:30
Thu, 01/14/2016 - 16:00

Five years ago this month, the Tunisian people’s protests calling for respect of their civil liberties resulted in the downfall of the 24-year authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the start of a rocky but largely peaceful process toward an inclusive political system. The U.S. Institute of Peace and the International Republican Institute commemorated the 5th Anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution and examined the issues facing the country in the coming year and how the international community can help.

Read the event coverage, Tunisia’s Revolution: Five Years On, What Lies Ahead.

Tunisia is confronting the regional rise of violent extremism that has led to terrorist attacks in its own country, spotlighting the struggle to balance security and human rights. Its frail economy remains a danger to social peace, with unemployment even higher than when the Jasmine Revolution began. Many of Tunisia's youth are especially vulnerable to these factors.

The panelists considered these issues as well as specific decisions coming up in 2016, including the political situation, decentralization and economic reform.

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Beyond Security: Why a U.S.-Tunisian Strategic Partnership Matters

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 14:30
Wed, 05/20/2015 - 15:30
A Conversation with H.E. President Beji Caid Essebsi

The President of Tunisia, His Excellency Beji Caid Essebsi, gave remarks and took questions at the U.S. Institute of Peace on May 20, during his first visit to the United States since taking office in December. As Tunisia works to keep its largely peaceful transition on track, President Essebsi addressed the challenges Tunisia is confronting and the opportunities it offers.

Read the event coverage, Tunisian President: U.S. Is Key to Arab Political Futures

Recent violence in North Africa, including renewed unrest in Libya to the south, has increased religious and political tensions in the region, making security a priority for Tunisia. But Tunisia’s democratic gains and stability also hinge on economic growth and educational initiatives that could advance Tunisia's reform agenda and secure a more prosperous future for its citizens.

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Comparative National Dialogue Approaches

Wed, 11/06/2013 - 09:30
Wed, 11/06/2013 - 11:00
Transition Processes in Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen

As Yemen concludes its National Dialogue Conference, many question whether thus far inclusive and peaceful negotiations can act as a model for other transitioning countries. Tunisia also recently designed a national dialogue process to work through a political stalemate and re-start its post-Arab Spring transition process. Libya is also trying to work through its challenges through a holistic, national transition process.

While there are positive lessons learned from both countries’ experiences, there also have been pitfalls. The Yemeni and Tunisian experiences suggest that the timing of national dialogue processes vis-à-vis other political events and their relationship with other issues involved in political transition (such as institutional reform) are critical to ensuring the national dialogue can meet its stated goals.

Speakers included:

  • William Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Panelist
    Chairman, Libya Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Radwan Masmoudi, Panelist
    President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 
  • Daniel Brumberg, Discussant
    Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Erica Gaston, Discussant
    Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Manal Omar, Moderator
    Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, U.S Institute of Peace
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Effective Foreign Assistance and National Security: A View from Congressman Adam Smith

Fri, 07/19/2013 - 09:00
Fri, 07/19/2013 - 10:30
A USIP Congressional Newsmaker Series Event

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, offered his views on how foreign assistance preserves and promotes the country’s national security.

Drawing from his extensive experience assessing U.S. military capabilities, strengths and needs, Congressman Smith spoke about the importance of strengthening American diplomacy and development capabilities, as well as defense.

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Human Rights in Tunisia’s Transition: A View from the Field

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 10:00
Thu, 05/09/2013 - 11:30

 As Tunisia is led by a provisional government, how does the country rank on human rights, addressing political violence by intolerant groups, protecting freedom of expression and the rights of women and minorities, and writing a constitution that safeguards the rights of all Tunisians?

Read the event coverage, Tunisian Debate Over Islam, Rights in Constitution Illustrated at USIP Event

Between 2012-2013, Tunisia's political scene has witnessed increasing polarization and occasional violence, culminating in the assassination of Chokri Belaid in February 2013. In this context, Tunisia's national constituent assembly is considering the third and perhaps final draft of its proposed constitution.  The constitution-writing process has been protracted by disagreements about allusions to Islam and cultural values, and the primacy of human rights as they are internationally defined.
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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.


Read the event coverage, Iraq Lessons: Will They Be Heeded?


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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Secretary Kerry Defends Obama Foreign Policy

Secretary of State John Kerry contested what he called “revisionist commentary” about the Obama administration’s foreign policy, laying out a defense of achievements such as a global climate change agreement and the Iran nuclear accord, as part of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s “Passing the Baton” conference on Jan. 10. Kerry also shared his concerns about what he called the “fact-less political environment” and the President-elect’s penchant for communicating foreign policy positions on Twitter. 

“What troubles me a little bit is that people are not separating a remarkable transformation that has taken place globally, naturally, from things that we’re really responsible for,” Kerry said in a discussion with Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour. “Arab Spring -- we didn’t start the Arab Spring. We couldn’t have stopped the Arab Spring. We couldn’t have put a lid on it.”

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 11:12
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States of Fragility and Global Violence: An OECD Report

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 09:30
Tue, 01/24/2017 - 11:30
Improving Policies by Better Measuring How Weak States Risk Falling into Crisis

This event has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Over 15 years, nearly half of all people, 3.34 billion, have suffered from political violence or lived under its shadow, notes a new OECD report. Violence is on the rise and, surprisingly, conflict is not the leading cause of death.  Fragile contexts, especially those where governments are ineffective and social contracts with their populations broken—drive much of this violence, plus refugee flight, pandemic diseases and other catastrophes. So understanding and measuring fragility is vital to U.S. and international policies that aim to prevent crises.  Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for the Washington launch of an OECD report—States of Fragility 2016—that offers a new approach to monitoring the fragility of states at risk.


Twenty-two percent of the global population now live in countries where human development is hampered by fragility and violence. On Tuesday, January 24, USIP, OECD, and other specialists will discuss OECD’s States of Fragility report, which presents a new approach for measuring the extent of fragility.

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The Arab Woman: Enhancing Leadership & Resilience

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 10:00
Mon, 12/05/2016 - 15:30
A Discussion Hosted by the League of Arab States and the U.S. Institute of Peace

The League of Arab States adopted a regional action plan on women, peace and security in partnership with U.N. Women in October 2015, highlighting the need to empower Arab female leaders to strengthen institutions and help communities address conflict peacefully. On December 5, to mark the Fifth Annual Arab-American Day, the League of Arab States and the U.S. Institute of Peace will host a discussion with Arab women leaders, academics and policymakers,  including the newly-elected Minnesota House Representative and Somali American, Ilhan Omar, on how education and economic opportunities can engage women and men in supporting women’s voices, equality and success.

Social and economic empowerment of women has been shown to strengthen stability and resilience. From the national level to the grassroots, Arab women continue to face and overcome challenges to lead their countries and communities, while empowering one another. 

Full Agenda with Biographies

Session 1: Empowering Women and Building Resilience

Nancy Lindborg,
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Inas Mekkawy, Introductory Remarks
Head of Women, Family and Childhood Development, League of Arab States

Randa Fahmy, Moderator
Founder, Fahmy Hudome International

Manal Omar, Panelist
Associate Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace

Hibaaq Osman, Panelist
Founder & CEO, El Karama

Donald Steinberg, Panelist
CEO, World Learning

Luncheon and Keynote Address

Representative Ilhan Omar, Keynote Speaker
Minnesota House Representative for District 60B

Dr. Linda Bishai, Moderator
Director of North Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Session 2: The Up-and-Coming Arab Woman

Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, Moderator
Senior Gender Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace

Marwa Alkhairo, Panelist
Manager of Partnership Development, International Youth Foundation

Hajar Sharief, Panelist
Co-Founder, Libya Ma'an Nabneeha

Sali Osman, Panelist
Cybersecurity Risk Advisory, Ernest and Young
"One to Watch" Award from Executive Women's Forum

Closing Remarks

Dr. Sahar Mohamed Khamis
Professor of Middle East Media and Communications, University of Maryland

Amy Schedlbauer
Director of the Office of Regional Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

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Articles & Analysis

Secretary of State John Kerry contested what he called “revisionist commentary” about the Obama administration’s foreign policy, laying out a defense of achievements such as a global climate...


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

As the United States and the international community grapple with interlocking crises in the Middle East and nearby parts of Africa and Asia, we must reserve a...

Nancy Lindborg

Videos & Webcasts

Secretary of State John Kerry contested what he called “revisionist commentary” about the Obama administration’s foreign policy, laying out a defense of achievements such as a global climate...

The president of one of the four civil society organizations in the Nobel Prize-winning Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet said her country will need to make changes in its education system to...

With only Tunisia evolving peacefully toward democracy from the Arab Spring movement of 2011, a broader democratization in the Arab world depends on continued U.S. engagement in the Middle East,...

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The Maghreb countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia face threats to their borders from transnational illicit networks, such as terrorist groups and criminal organizations. To address these threats...
USIP Staff
Tunisia’s democratic transition remains at a critical intersection of conflict and peacebuilding. While the country made significant political progress with parliamentary and presidential elections...