Conflict Analysis and Prevention

Strategies to avert violent conflict can only succeed if they are grounded in clear analysis of its roots and causes. What attracts youth to violent extremism? How does corruption inflame inter-communal tensions? Such questions, and action that flows from the answers, lie at the heart of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s mission. Through research and interventions, USIP seeks, for instance, to prevent electoral violence and build early warning systems to avert genocide and mass atrocities. Partnerships with outside experts are key to such efforts as the 2006 Iraq Study Group and the current Study Group on Fragility.

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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African Politics, African Peace

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 14:00
Mon, 09/12/2016 - 15:30
The African Union, Peacekeeping and the Politics of Peace

More than 100,000 peacekeepers deployed in Africa make up three-quarters of such United Nations troops worldwide, and they illustrate the frequent response of the African Union to defuse violent conflict with military forces. But the AU has another strength: political power. On September 12, researchers Alex de Waal and Mulugeta Gebrehiwot of the World Peace Foundation offered recommendations from their new report on how the AU can harness its unique advantage to advance peace and security.

Their new report for the AU argued that the Union must move away from its reactive approach to violent conflict and draw on its inherent political strengths. Their extensive research included case studies of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Somalia and South Sudan.

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U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of ‘State Fragility’

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 09:00
Mon, 09/12/2016 - 11:15
Recommendations for the Next U.S. Administration and Congress

Much of today’s regional disorder and global upheaval is driven by fragile states—those with a frayed social compact between their people and government. State fragility fuels problems from the unprecedented refugee crisis to turmoil in the Arab world, and from pandemic diseases to some of humanity’s deepest poverty. To meet this challenge, three Washington foreign affairs institutions made recommendations to the next administration and Congress to produce a more strategic, disciplined, and sustained U.S. approach. The study’s chairs—William Burns of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michèle Flournoy of the Center for a New American Security, and USIP’s Nancy Lindborg—public launched their report.

Read the event coverage, Burns, Flournoy, Lindborg Press Urgency of Fragile States.


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How to Stabilize Iraq: A Marine in Congress Speaks

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 15:00
Tue, 09/13/2016 - 16:00
Seth Moulton, Armed Services Committee Member, on a Study of U.S. Policy

As U.S. troops help Iraqi armed forces in their offensive against ISIS militants, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton recently made a recent fact-finding visit to Iraq and returned to Washington arguing that the United States should broaden and energize its efforts in the country. Moulton-a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former Marine infantry officer in Iraq-has urged a broader U.S. policy of support for political reforms and political rapprochement among Iraq's communal factions. USIP hosted a discussion with Congressman Moulton and USIP President Nancy Lindborg on Iraq, ISIS and the broader Middle East.

Read the event coverage, Ex-Marine Lawmaker Seeks Diplomatic ‘Surge’ in Iraq.

After months of reviewing U.S. policies in Iraq, Congressman Moulton wrote in a June 2016  opinion piece in The Washington Post that U.S. policies "have yet to articulate a political plan to ensure Iraq's long-term stability." The congressman, who represents northeastern Massachusetts' Sixth District, released a set of recommendations that he argues are critical to defeating ISIS and helping stabilize the Middle East in September at a public event at USIP. He has urged greater support U.S.

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The Global Refugee Crisis: Overcoming Fears and Spurring Action

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 10:00
Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:00

On Wednesday June 29, Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, addressed an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace on the urgent need for a concerted, global response to the current refugee crisis. She also previewed the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees that President Obama will convene at the U.N. on September 20.

Read the event coverage, Refugee Crisis Threatens Global Stability, Power Says.


Ambassador Samantha Power

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Frontline Diplomats and Development Workers

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 09:30
Wed, 06/22/2016 - 12:00
Balancing Mission and Risk in High Threat Environments

Diplomats as well as humanitarian and development professionals are “frontline civilians,” often working in conflict zones despite the risks. Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace on June 22 providing a progress report and discussion of how the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are implementing their new strategy for lowering and managing those risks, based on the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

Read the event coverage, How to Cut Danger—And Accept Risk—in Civilian Missions.

QDDR called for the State Department and USAID to “continue to balance our values and interests with the inherent risks of 21st-century diplomacy and development.”  Preparation and the mental and physical care of these frontline civilians—before, during and after their assignments—must be paramount and must take into account their different objectives and needs. Leadership must explain to Congress and the American people why such risks must be taken and what is done to minimize, though not eliminate, dangers to civilians in advancing essential diplomacy.

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Supporting Burma’s Transition to Democracy

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 11:15
Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:45
The Role of Diplomacy and Development

Burma’s evolution away from five decades of military rule has offered the United States its most significant opportunity in years to engage with the country’s people and government in the pursuit of democracy, development, peace, and human rights. In countries undergoing political transitions, U.S. policy coordination, decision-making and traditional development tools often struggle to keep pace with the challenges. Experts and U.S. officials discussed lessons learned recently in Burma, also known as Myanmar—and of ways they may be applicable to the U.S. role in similar environments.

Read the event coverage, U.S. Eyes Military Ties With Myanmar, Official Says.

Five years after Burma began its political transition the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi won an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections in November. A few weeks ago, the country swore in President U Htin Kyaw as its first non-military, elected chief executive in 54 years.

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India-Pakistan Crises and the American Role

Mon, 03/14/2016 - 13:30
Mon, 03/14/2016 - 15:00
How Has Washington Intervened and Can it Act Now?

Eight days after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan met suddenly in December to renew diplomatic dialogue between their countries, a squad of guerrilla fighters, apparently from Pakistan , disrupted the effort with an attack on India’s Pathankot air force base. The governments quickly postponed a planned meeting of their foreign secretaries. A pattern of such crises has recurred over the past decade and a half, and the United States often has sought to quietly mediate to avoid war between the nuclear-armed neighbors. What lessons can we learn from those experiences, and how should U.S. diplomats prepare for future disruptions?

Read the event coverage, Is the United States Ready for the Next India-Pakistan Crisis?

A panel of scholars and analysts who have helped manage U.S. relations in South Asia will join USIP’s Moeed Yusuf to examine these and related issues. They will assess the Pathankot attack and past crises, including roles the United States can play in mediating them. The discussion will address changes in the India-Pakistan relationship since the 2008 attack by Pakistani guerrillas on Mumbai, and prospects for regional relations as the two sides respond to Pathankot and debate the renewal of a comprehensive dialogue.

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Domestic Dimensions of China's Foreign Policy

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 09:00
Thu, 04/07/2016 - 16:30
How Internal Dynamics Shape China's Actions Abroad

No country weighs more heavily on America's economy, cybersecurity and strategic posture in Asia than China. China's foreign policies are being shaped by changes within the country that can be hard to measure and evaluate. USIP and Georgetown University gathered a dozen experts for a daylong assessment of how China's internal economic, political and security pressures are influencing policies critical to the United States and peace and security around the world.

Read the event coverage, Puzzled by China’s Foreign Policy? Look Inside Instead.

China's international behavior and its domestic agenda are closely intertwined  across a wide range of policy issues.  For example, China's energy needs have  driven many of its overseas investments. The government's concerns about the ethnic autonomy  or separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang, respectively, shape its strategy toward South Asia and Muslim countries. President Xi Jinping's attempts to consolidate power domestically affect his international priorities and are changing the role of China's army , especially through the anti-corruption campaign.

9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30-9:45 Welcome

Thomas Banchoff, Vice President for Global Engagement, Georgetown University
Ambassador William B. Taylor, Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

9:45-11:00 The Domestic Political and Economic Situation
This panel will address how the domestic political and economic situation is shaping Chinese foreign and security policy. As China modernizes, how are the expectations of the people changing and what are the ways this may impact Chinese external behavior? How does the economic slowdown change China’s strategic priorities?  How have recent economic and political developments affected China’s attitudes toward “non-interference” overseas? How does the economic climate shape the relationship between the people and Party? What are the sources of Chinese nationalism and does it constrain or empower China internationally? How are concerns about separatist movements, as well as the new threat of ISIS, shaping China’s strategy toward South Asia and Muslim countries? How do the demands of domestic censorship shape China’s approach to cyber internationally?  

Scott Harold, Full Political Scientist and Associate Director, Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, RAND Corporation
Jessica Chen Weiss, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University 
Melanie Hart, Director, China Policy, Center for American Progress
Moderator: Jennifer Staats, Director for China Programs, United States Institute of Peace

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:30 Contentious Elite Politics
This panel will address the leadership characteristics of Xi Jinping, the degree of factionalism at the highest levels of the Party, and the causes and effects of the anti-corruption campaign. How do elite politics shape Xi’s approach to foreign and security policy? Are certain groups empowered at the expense of others? What are the broader repercussions of his anti-corruption campaign? Are there any important trends in the Party’s relationship with the state that have implications for China’s role on the world stage? Are there voices at the top that want to see China play a more active role in shaping peace and conflict dynamics in other countries and regions?

Chris Johnson, Senior Advisor and Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS
Richard McGregor, Public Policy Fellow, Wilson Center 
David Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
Moderator: Kristen Looney, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

12:30-14:15 Networking Luncheon

14:30-15:45 The Changing Role of the PLA
This panel will address the PLA’s relationship with the Party and the people. As the military professionalizes, is it developing an independent voice and influence in policy making? Xi has prioritized soft modernization – the improvement of recruitment, retention, training and force development. How do changing societal factors impact the desire to improvement the quality of the force? What is the public perception of PLA and how does the relationship between society and the military impact Chinese external security behavior?  How has the effort to modernize the PLA affected China’s participation in peacekeeping missions and other training activities?  Are there elements of the PLA that want to see China take a more active role in influencing peace and security dynamics in other countries?  What steps might the PLA take to protect China’s overseas interests?

Phillip Saunders, Distinguished Research Fellow, National Defense University
Jacqueline Deal, President, Long-Term Strategy Group
Kristen Gunness Chief Executive Officer, Vantage Point Asia LLC
Moderator:  Oriana Skylar Mastro, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

15:45-16:15 Concluding Remarks: Alternative Futures?
Oriana Skylar Mastro, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
David Maxwell, Associate Director of the Security Studies Program, Georgetown University
Jennifer Staats, Director for China Programs, United States Institute of Peace

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Money, War and the Business of Power in the Horn of Africa

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:30
Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:00
Obstacles for Lasting Peace

Renewed violence in South Sudan, rising malnutrition in Somalia and a dramatic refugee exodus from Eritrea conspire to undermine sporadic progress in the Horn of Africa. Underlying it all is a political marketplace fueled by money and power. On January 28, a panel of regional experts, including Alex de Waal, author of The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, War and the Business of Power, discussed the complex interplay between politics and money in the region and the implications for the international community.

Read the event coverage, Patronage and Peace in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa has experienced both advances and setbacks in recent years. In South Sudan, the hope following independence has been tarnished by the outbreak of war and the troubled peace process. In Somalia, al-Shabab and rising malnutrition slows progress on state building. And Eritreans fleeing their country’s oppression accounted for the third-largest group of refugees entering Europe last year, after Syria and Afghanistan. Across the Horn of Africa, corruption, militarization and military patronage undermine regional stability and sustainable peace..

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Articles & Analysis

Fred Strasser

In 2004, when Iraqi political and religious leaders tried to roll back a longstanding law asserting broad rights for women, thousands of Iraqi women mobilized to defend it and to enshrine their rights in the constitution. They marched, wrote protest letters and lobbied the U.S.-led coalition then ruling the country. Carla Koppell, then with the Institute for Inclusive Security, suggested to political analysts evaluating Iraq’s spreading insurgencies that the women’s campaign was a type of activism that U.S. policy should support. But the analysts were dismissive, Koppell recalled in a...

Keith Mines

Shimon Peres served twice as Prime Minister of Israel and most recently as President. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for securing the Oslo peace accords, and he never stopped believing in the agreement’s principals and main contours for a two-state solution.  

Nancy Lindborg

For 35 years, the International Day of Peace on September 21 has served as a rallying point for governments, organizations and ordinary people working to help end violent conflict around the world.

Videos & Webcasts

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...

Iraq’s Kurdish region, which has been crucial for containing the Islamic State’s rampage and sheltering Iraqis fleeing the extremist group’s brutalities, urgently needs greater engagement from the...

The past week’s turmoil within Myanmar’s ruling party has underscored the power of the country’s armed forces less than 12 weeks before parliamentary elections that civil society activists and...

Our Work In The Field

Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Learn More

There are currently no upcoming classroom courses.

Online Courses

Jeffrey Helsing
This dynamic course is a case-based introduction to the process of conflict analysis. Good conflict analysis is the foundation of any conflict management process, from prevention to mediation to reconciliation.
A nuanced understanding of the context and dynamics of a conflict can determine the effectiveness with which you intervene in a conflict, prevent further harm from being done, help determine priori


Andrew Blum
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. 
Dr. Robert D. Lamb and Melissa R. Gregg
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges.