Scholars, peacebuilders, and governments increasingly recognize that analyzing violent conflicts through the perspective of gender is critical to peaceful solutions. In addressing gender from Africa to Northern Ireland, the U.S. Institute of Peace focuses on four principal themes: women preventing extremist violence; stopping sexual violence in conflicts; the role of gender in violent conflict; and encouraging non-violent notions of masculinity in transitional societies. The Institute advances these goals through symposia, support for grassroots groups, and facilitated dialogue. Its publications and training materials inform policymakers and help strengthen the influence of women leaders in conflict settings. Learn more in USIP’s State of the Field fact sheet.

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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Youth, Peace and Security: New Global Perspectives

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 14:00
Tue, 06/14/2016 - 16:00

The largest generation of young people the world has ever known is too often associated with violent conflict. With the December 2015 passage of Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, the United Nations recognized the critical role of youth in promoting and maintaining international peace. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Inter-agency Working Group on Youth and Peacebuilding on June 14 for a discussion of the resolution with the U.N. Secretary-General’s first Envoy for Youth H.E. Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan, as well as young leaders from countries affected by violent extremism and armed conflict, and other senior experts.

Read the event coverage, U.N. Youth-and-Peace Resolution: The Hard Work Begins.

Today’s generation of youth, at 1.8 billion, is the largest the world has ever known. Many of these youth are living in countries plagued by violent conflict and extremism, such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. The goal of SCR 2250 is to recognize youth as partners for peace rather than solely viewing young people as perpetrators of violence—a shift in mindset that responds to the call to action of 11,000 young peacebuilders in the Amman Youth Declaration.

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Ukraine: How to Build Social Peace Amid Displacement?

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:00
Thu, 11/19/2015 - 11:30
The War Has Uprooted 1.4 Million—a Strain That Could be Turned to Strength

The Russian-Ukrainian war has uprooted more than 1.4 million Ukrainians who struggle for survival, and for futures, in cities and towns nationwide. While Ukraine’s civil society has responded vigorously to help, the prolongation of this massive displacement is deepening strains on the nation’s social cohesion and economy. How might Ukraine help its displaced citizens and their host communities become agents for national reconciliation and cohesion? On November 19, USIP gathered prominent Ukrainian and U.S. specialists to discuss strategy for such an effort.

Read the event coverage, Ukraine's 'Invisible Crisis': 1.5 Million Who Fled War With Russia.

Ukraine so far has absorbed those uprooted from the war-shattered Donbas region, mainly in cities and towns of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv provinces, and around the capital, Kyiv. Many of those host communities are among those already most vulnerable to Ukraine’s economic recession. Amid high unemployment and privation, those communities and the displaced population are showing remarkable resilience, and social upheavals have been avoided.

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Global Security: What Does Gender Have To Do With It?

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 14:00
Tue, 10/27/2015 - 17:30
Celebrating 15 Years of UNSCR 1325

The imperative for women to participate fully in decisions about peace and security won unprecedented recognition 15 years ago with the U.N. Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 1325 calling for members to craft national plans to accomplish that objective. Now, the new U.N. Strategic Development Goals declare women’s equality as a precondition to resolving many of the world’s national and regional crises. On Oct. 27, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the five Nordic Embassies hosted a discussion with Nordic representatives that have helped pave the way on the connections between gender and security.

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are ranked as the top five countries in the 2014 World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index ratings. The discussion at USIP explored the Nordic countries’ approach to gender equality and to global security more broadly. This event celebrated the 15th anniversary of the landmark UNSC Resolution 1325 and the underlying principle that gender equality is at the core of peace and security.

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Islam, Culture and Sexism: What Needs to Change?

Tue, 10/13/2015 - 13:00
Tue, 10/13/2015 - 14:30
Muslim Women Campaign for Gender Equality

ISIS extremists in Iraq and Syria declare that Islamic scripture justifies their taking of refugee women as sex slaves. Men in some Muslim societies cite their religion in defending “honor killings” of women. In the West, many commentators proclaim Islam inherently sexist, and some governments ban the veils traditionally worn by many Muslim women. Amid the turmoil, a growing cohort of female Islamic scholars says Muslim women are marginalized not by the Quran but by patriarchal cultural practices and interpretations of their faith. On October 13, 2015, USIP will screen the recent PBS documentary “Gender Equality in Islam,” and host a discussion on how women can understand and advance the gender-equitable principles of the faith.

Read the event coverage, Islam, Culture and Sexism: Making Change with Religious Learning.

“Gender Equality in Islam” presents the work of Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, a longtime University of Richmond law professor and Islamic scholar who in 1993 founded Karamah, an organization that educates Muslim women about Islamic principles of justice and gender equity. Karamah’s executive director, Aisha Rahman, who is featured in the film, will join other experts to discuss the importance of education and other tools that women need to interpret and promote Islam’s defense of women’s rights.

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Colombia’s Peace Process and Transitional Justice

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 08:30
Wed, 09/30/2015 - 17:00
Basta Ya! Report Illuminates Issues at Crux of Colombia’s Peace Talks Breakthrough

Colombia’s government and the FARC movement achieved their September 23 breakthrough in peace negotiations by setting down basic principles on the rights of victims to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition. USIP’s  Colombia Peace Forum, on September 30,  analyzed the role of historical memory in these transitional justice issues.

Read the event coverage, Colombia Considers War and Memory

As policymakers and analysts consider how the new breakthrough might be consolidated, Colombian researchers  presented a report, central to these issues, to a U.S. audience for the first time. The report—Basta Ya! Colombia: Memories of War and Dignity—was produced by Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory. Its authors  joined other scholars and practitioners to examine lessons that might contribute to the creation of the national truth commission and other architectures as part of the peace process.

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Empowering Women in Countries with Mixed Legal Systems

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 08:45
Fri, 05/01/2015 - 17:15
Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination (JusTRAC) Symposium

The U.S. Institute of Peace and the University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative hosted a public event examining the obstacles and strategies for the empowerment of women in countries with "mixed" legal systems on May 1, 2015.

At the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made her famous declaration that “Women’s rights are human rights.” Yet two decades later, women still face formidable legal obstacles, especially in countries with “mixed” systems of common, civil, customary, religious and/or tribal law. The U.S. Institute of Peace and the University Of South Carolina Rule Of Law Collaborative hosted a day-long symposium examining the ramifications and potential approaches.

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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. 

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

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.

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The Asia Foundation's 2014 Survey of the Afghan People

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:30
Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:30

The United States Institute of Peace was pleased to host a presentation of the findings of The Asia Foundation’s 2014 Survey of the Afghan People.

With the conclusion of the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history and the continuing drawdown of foreign troops, what do the people of Afghanistan think are the most critical issues facing the country? This survey, based on face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of nearly 9,300 Afghan citizens, reveals their views on security, national reconciliation, the economy, development and essential services, governance and political participation, corruption, justice, gender equality and access to information.

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Preventing and Mitigating Conflicts: Role of the International Courts

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 09:30
Fri, 04/11/2014 - 11:15

The U.S. Institute of Peace, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and The Hague Institute for Global Justice, hosted a dialogue with the Prosecutor from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and jurists from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on April 11th at USIP, to discuss the role of the international courts in preventing and mitigating conflicts.

  • Mr. Peter Loge, Welcoming and Introductory Remarks
    U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Judge Joan Donoghue, Expert Panelist
    International Court of Justice
  • Judge Xue Hanqin, Expert Panelist
    International Court of Justice
  • Judge Julia Sebutinde, Expert Panelist
    International Court of Justice
  • Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Expert Panelist
    International Criminal Court
  • Professor Jane Stromseth, Concluding Remarks
    Georgetown Law Center and U.S. Department of State
  • Dr. Abiodun Williams, Moderator
    The Hague Institute for Global Justice

International courts are intended to prevent conflict and settle international disputes, both by holding to account those alleged to have committed international crimes and by developing applicable international law. Their role is an essential but under-examined aspect of international conflict management. This event, convened by the U.S.

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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...

Fred Strasser

The sexual violence committed against women and girls by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can only begin to be addressed with a multipronged response from the global to the local level, said Zainab Hawa Bangura, the United Nations’ point person on the issue. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Bangura cited work ranging from promotion of U.N. resolutions to talks with religious leaders to suggest how the brutal, systematic sexual slavery imposed by the extremist group might be undermined. 

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

Former first lady Laura Bush said the international community must continue to support the reconstruction of Afghanistan and progress for the country’s women through aid, investment and an ongoing...

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...

Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, director of gender programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

More from Dr. ...

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Amanda H. Blair, Nicole Gerring and Sabrina Karim
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) can undermine long-term state stability and security even after states have transitioned out of violent conflict. This brief highlights four areas around SGBV that require urgent attention: the conflict cycle, moving beyond armed actors, protectors as perpetrators, and the role of SGBV in threatening political participation. This Brief was prepared by several members of the Missing Peace Young Scholars Network, supported through a longtime partnership between United States Institute of Peace (USIP); Human Rights Center, UC–Berkeley Law; Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO); and Women In International Security (WIIS). The Missing Peace Young Scholars propose a series of policy recommendations, keeping in mind the importance of ongoing collaboration as key to prevention and relief efforts.
William J. Burns, Michèle Flournoy, Nancy Lindborg
The new administration, a coming change in leadership at the United Nations, and an emerging global consensus about the fragility challenge make this an opportune moment to recalibrate our approach. The United States cannot and should not try to “fix” every fragile state. Nor can we ignore this challenge; all fragility has the potential to affect U.S. interests to some extent, especially when left to fester. There is simply too much at stake for our interests, our partners, and the global order. A sound and realistic policy framework is urgently needed to help our policymakers determine where, when, and how to invest scarce resources and attention to maximum effect.