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U.S. Special Envoy Speaks on Sudan and South Sudan

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:00
Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:00
Amb. Donald Booth on the U.S. Role in Seeking an End to Violence

Ambassador Donald Booth is completing almost two and half years as the U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. He will discuss the lessons learned from recent international initiatives to end violent conflict in both countries, and the road ahead for that effort and for the U.S. role.

Despite a national dialogue in Sudan, fighting continues in Darfur and in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Negotiations toward ending hostilities between the government and armed opposition groups are deadlocked.

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For 130 Million People, a Need for Longer-Term Relief

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 09:30
Mon, 11/14/2016 - 11:00

More than 130 million people worldwide require humanitarian assistance to survive because of crises or disasters, including violent conflict, according to the United Nations. The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May focused on how development and humanitarian institutions can cooperate to bring meaningful change for the world's most vulnerable people. Continue the discussion on November 14 with the U.S. Institute of Peace and leaders of the World Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as they consider possible approaches such as flexible and multi-year funding, strengthening compliance with international humanitarian law, and working more closely with local communities.

Read the event coverage, World Bank Seeks Crisis Flexibility for Long-Term Impact.

Many violent conflicts have become chronic. In order to build sustainable peace, humanitarian relief must also contribute to or complement long-term development goals.  While discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit raised meaningful questions about how humanitarian and development sectors are responding to protracted conflict, institutions are still trying to improve the response even as the needs grow more urgent. 

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Myanmar’s Difficult Path Toward Peace

Fri, 11/04/2016 - 10:00
Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:00
Prospects for Ending Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflict, and Ways the International Community Might Help

International attention toward Myanmar has focused largely on the country's transition from a half-century of military rule toward democratic governance. But ending nearly 70 years of civil conflict among the country's ethnic nationalities remains essential to the country's stability and success. In its first eight months, the elected government of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has invited more of the country’s ethnic armed groups to join new peace talks. Still, fighting has continued and in some places worsened. On November 4, the U.S. Institute of Peace will gather specialists on the peace process to examine its current state and highlight ways that the international community can help.

Read the event coverage, Myanmar Peace Process: Slow Progress, Delicate Steps.

In October 2015, several of Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government of former President Thein Sein. Since taking office in March, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has likewise made peace its priority. It convened its 21st Century Panglong Conference in August, bringing nearly all of the country’s ethnic armed groups into a nascent dialogue process. Since then, fighting in Shan, Kachin, and Karen states has expanded, and fresh clashes in Rakhine state continue to undermine trust and confidence in the process.

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Cultural Heritage: A Target in War, an Engine of Peace

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 08:45
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 17:30
Stories from Afghanistan and ‘Turquoise Mountain’ on Preserving Culture to Curb Violence

In 2001, Taliban fighters dynamited Afghanistan’s massive Bamiyan Buddha statues, carved into cliff faces, into rubble. Serb forces burned Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Sarajevo National Library in 1992 and ISIS extremists recently razed ancient temples in Palmyra, Syria. Such deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is so damaging to civilizations that the world recognizes it as a war crime. But the power of cultural heritage, so targeted in war, also can provide instruments to build peace. An October 24 symposium in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution will use recent experience, notably in Afghanistan, to examine the often unrecognized power of cultural heritage. The discussion will explore new ways that it might serve worldwide to prevent, or recover from, violent conflict.

Read the event coverage, Can Afghanistan Write New Future in Calligraphy?

Recent wars offer no greater example of cultural heritage turned to healing than the work in Afghanistan of the charity Turquoise Mountain, the subject of a stunning, 11-month exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution. “Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan,” at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, shows how historians, artisans, young students and communities are preserving and renewing traditions, crafts, economic livelihoods and a historic district of Kabul. This symposium at the U.S.

The agenda is now available.

8:45 - Registration and Coffee in the atrium

9:15 - Welcome: Nancy Lindborg, President, USIP

9:20-9:25 - Hila Alam, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Washington D.C.

9:25-9:35 - William Hammink, Assistant to the Administrator, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, USAID

9:35-9:45 - Mark Taplin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau Of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

9:45-10:45 Panel 1: What is Cultural Heritage and (Why) Does it Matter?
Moderator: Molly Fannon, Director, Office of International Relations and Global Programs, Smithsonian Institution

  • Dr. Julian Raby, Dame Jillian Sackler Director, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
  • Dr. Derek Gillman, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Art History and Museum Leadership, Drexel University

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:15 Panel 2: Looking Back: 15 Years of Cultural Heritage Initiatives in Afghanistan
Moderator: Barmak Pazhwak, Senior Program Officer, Asia Center, USIP

  • Dr. Tommy Wide, Assistant Director of Special Projects, Freer and Sackler Galleries
  • Majeed Qarar, Cultural Attaché, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Washington D.C.
  • Jolyon Leslie, Architect
  • Laura Tedesco, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, U.S. Department of State

12:15-1:15 Lunch
Calligraphy demonstration in the atrium with Sughra Hussainy, visiting Turquoise Mountain artist
Portal Installation

1:15-2:30 Panel 3: Looking to the Future: New Generation, New Technology, New Approaches
Moderator: Scott Liddle, Country Director, Turquoise Mountain Afghanistan

  • Amar Bakshi, Founder and CEO, Shared_Studios
  • Adam Lowe, Director, Factum Arte
  • Dr. Bastien Varoutsikos, Research Fellow, Centre national de la recherché scientifique (CNRS), Paris
  • Lina Rozbih, Managing  Editor, Ashna TV, Voice of America

2:30-2:45 Tea and Coffee

2:45-4:15 Panel 4: Looking Out: Comparisons, Lessons, Inspirations
Moderator: Katherine Wood, Senior Arts Adviser, USIP

  • Harry Wardill, Director, Turquoise Mountain Myanmar
  • Corine Wegener, Cultural Heritage Preservation Office, Smithsonian Institution
  • Tess Davis, Executive Director, The Antiquities Coalition
  • Joanna Sherman, Founder and Artistic Director, Bond Street Theater

4:15 Closing remarks:  Richard Kurin, Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research, Smithsonian Institution

4:30 Reception

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How Girls Lead to Advance Youth, Peace, Equality

Tue, 10/11/2016 - 13:30
Tue, 10/11/2016 - 14:30
Webcast Only Event: Young Leaders Mark the International Day of the Girl Child

Tunisian and American activists to end violence against women will join 20 youth leaders from the Middle East and North Africa in a webcast discussion from the U.S. Institute of Peace on Oct. 11 focusing on the role girls play in building peace. The event will take place on the International Day of the Girl Child and is part of USIP’s 60 days of activities connecting issues of youth, peace and gender equality. 

The predominant narrative about youth asserts that young men are perpetrators of violence and young women are victims. In reality, both girls and boys, women and men are powerful agents of change and can work together to foster inclusive societies that manage conflict nonviolently. 

Issue Areas: 
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Evolving Conflict Dynamics in the Central African Republic

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 10:00
Fri, 10/14/2016 - 12:00
Updates from the Field

Despite holding its first peaceful, democratic elections earlier this year, the Central African Republic remains vulnerable to a resurgence of the conflict that began in 2012. An estimated 2.3 million people require humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, and a stalled disarmament process allows armed groups to continue operating with impunity in many parts of the country. The U.S. Institute of Peace held a discussion with experts from the field on the crucial next steps needed to achieve disarmament, end the violence and begin reconstruction and reconciliation.

Following the inauguration of President Faustin Archange Touadéra in March of 2016, his government set disarmament of armed groups as its main priority. He has sought to actively engage the armed groups on the design of a process for disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating these forces, but most of these factions remain unsatisfied with the proposed path and refuse to disarm. Instead, they continue to control large swaths of the country, including important transport routes.

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ISIS and Sex Slavery

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 14:00
Wed, 10/05/2016 - 16:30
How Can the International Community Move from Condemnation to Action?

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is committing horrific crimes, including sex slavery, against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy a religious community of 400,000 people, according to United Nations investigators. Women who escaped have recounted their torture and rape to the public, Congress and U.N. officials. ISIS uses the popular Whatsapp instant messaging to advertise enslaved girls for sale. Secretary of State Kerry says these ISIS crimes, with others, amount to genocide. Yet U.N. investigators say the “path to accountability” through international justice systems is “blocked.” So what can the international community do to halt this impunity? The McCain Institute for International Leadership and U.S. Institute of Peace on October 5th hosted an urgent discussion on how to move from condemnation to action.

Read the event coverage, ISIS Makes Sex Slavery Key Tactic of Terrorism.


A prominent voice against ISIS’ sex slavery has been Sierra Leone’s Zainab Hawa Bangura, a former war refugee who is now the United Nations’ chief campaigner against sexual violence in conflict. As a special representative of the U.N. secretary general, Ms. Bangura has met survivors of this ISIS campaign and heard their stories. 

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Violent Extremism: Setting Priorities for Research

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 09:00
Thu, 09/29/2016 - 12:30

The near-daily litany of violence perpetrated by violent extremist groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram illustrates the dearth of understanding about how these militant organizations successfully tap into social discord to advance their campaigns. On Thursday, September 29, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the RESOLVE Network convened researchers from around the world to help set priorities for policy-relevant research to identify effective responses.


Violent extremism presents a number of puzzles: What motivates individuals or groups attracted to political rhetoric advocating violence to take the next step of carrying out violent action? How is this type of violence different from other forms of political violence? When and under what conditions do communities choose to support, abstain from or actively reject violent social movements and extremist groups?  

Amb. William Taylor, Welcome Remarks
Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Keynote and Discussion: Of Barrel Bombs and Beheadings: The Roots of Intergenerational Extremism

Mohammed Hafez, Keynote
Chairman and Associate Professor, Naval Post Graduate School

Georgia Holmer, Moderator
Director of CVE, U.S Institute of Peace

Session 1: The Governance Nexus: Legitimacy, State Fragility and Violent Extremism

Humayun Kabir, Panelist
Vice President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute

Richard Atwood, Panelist
Director of Multilateral Affairs and Head of New York Office, International Crisis Group

Cheryl Frank, Panelist
Head of Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, Institute for Security Studies

Beza Tesfaye, Panelist
Conflict and Governance Research Manager, Mercy Corps

Cameron Chisholm, Moderator
President and Founder, International Peace &Security Institute

Session 2: A New Narrative: Rethinking the Discourse on Violence & Religious Identity

Eliza Urwin, Panelist
Senior Program Officer, U.S Institute of Peace

Tahir Abbas, Panelist
Senior Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute

Imtiaz Gul, Panelist
Executive Director, Centre for Research and Security Studies

Houda Abadi, Panelist
Associate Director MENA Projects, The Carter Center

Candace Rondeaux, Moderator
Senior Program Officer and Director of RESOLVE Network Secretariat, U.S. Institute of Peace

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Displaced Women: From Violations to Voice

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 09:30
Wed, 09/14/2016 - 11:30
Afghanistan, India and Pakistan Cases Show How to Strengthen Women and End Impunity

People forced from their homes amid conflict—the majority of them women—face threats of deprivation, discrimination and a militarized society. During a forum hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace and  the Women’s Regional Network, speakers discussed possible model solutions in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan for displaced women and girls.


The study, conducted by the Women’s Regional Network, suggested the use of regional tribunals and “community conversations” as possible mechanisms for exploring women’s experiences, fears and contributions, and for strengthening their often unrecognized contributions to justice, peace and social reintegration.

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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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