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.

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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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—publicly 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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Articles & Analysis


Arthur Brooks, an economist and musician who is president of the American Enterprise Institute, said the cause of the current U.S. political rifts has been misdiagnosed and outlined a prescription for achieving “maybe the most elusive kind of peace of all around the world today.” In a presentation at Passing the Baton, a conference at the U.S. Institute of Peace that was co-sponsored by his think tank and four others, Brooks declared, “Political peace is possible.”


At USIP’s Passing the Baton conference, former Obama administration officials Michéle Flournoy and Jacob Sullivan suggested that President-elect Donald Trump has raised unsettling questions about how he will conduct foreign policy and whether he will continue to meet historic U.S. commitments to institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The incoming deputy national security advisor, KT McFarland, argued that new approaches by Trump, combined with a nimble attitude, will create opportunities for increased leverage abroad.


When ABC News’ Martha Raddatz asked four national security thinkers to list top priorities for the new administration, discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace “Passing the Baton” conference swung quickly to the pros and cons of disruption—specifically, President-elect Trump’s spontaneous declarations, via Twitter, on foreign affairs. 

Videos & Webcasts

Arthur Brooks, an economist and musician who is president of the American Enterprise Institute, said the cause of the current U.S. political rifts has been misdiagnosed and outlined a prescription...

At USIP’s Passing the Baton conference, former Obama administration officials Michéle Flournoy and Jacob Sullivan suggested that President-elect Donald Trump has raised unsettling...

When ABC News’ Martha Raddatz asked four national security thinkers to list top priorities for the new administration, discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace “Passing the Baton” conference...

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

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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


Jonas Claes, editor
Electing Peace: Violence Prevention and Impact at the Polls examines election violence prevention and assesses the effectiveness of different prevention practices—which are effective, which are not, and under what circumstances.
Alicia Phillips Mandaville
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.