USIP’s International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL) held its first annual conference on May 20, 2008. The event drew approximately 50 participants from national police forces, the UN, rule of law groups and other organizations.
INPROL is a rapidly growing virtual community, with Communities of Practice focused on general rule of law, police commanders and stability police communities. The network occupies a unique niche in the rule of law community as a discussion space where practitioners submit queries to and receive answers from other practitioners and as a clearinghouse for information in the field. INPROL currently has more than 850 members and its site has received visitors from 160 countries during the past year.
At the conference, USIP Executive Vice President Trish Thomson discussed rule of law as a fundamental building block to bringing about long-term peace. She called INPROL a "flagship program" for USIP and its partners. The network is flexible, agile and practitioner-oriented. INPROL is especially valuable in two phases of the Institute’s "Curve of Conflict": post-conflict peacebuilding and pre-conflict fragile states. The network harnesses the Institute’s culture of collaboration with partnering institutions, she said.
Søren Jessen-Petersen, former special representative of the UN secretary general in Kosovo, delivered the conference’s keynote address. He pointed to the gaps he encountered in peacebulding operations as a justification for such a program. "It is precisely because of these gaps that I find INPROL so timely and so relevant," he said. INPROL, he pointed out, is not a "magical elixir" that will solve all the problems involved in bringing about rule of law. However, if all the parties involved join together in providing the kind of direct, in-kind assistance that INPROL offers, it can have a significant effect in post-conflict operations and conflict-ridden societies.
INPROL’s Michael Dziedzic highlighted the consolidated responses feature of the site, a method of responding to the key queries INPROL staff receive each year. "If we were to have a bumper sticker for INPROL, it would say 'lessons learned to lessons applied,'" he observed.
Scott Worden said that INPROL is unique because it transcends institutional barriers to create a link that cannot happen on the ground. Many hits to the site originate from countries such as Afghanistan and Jordan, as well as Europe. The keys to INPROL’s success, he said, are its responsiveness and utility.
USIP Consultant E. Jill Parlett discussed INPROL’s role in facilitating knowledge-sharing and identifying best practices. Such networking reduces stovepipes, and INPROL’s advisory council ensures a balance of quality and quantity across the site, she said.
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- Trish Thomson
Executive Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
- Søren Jessen-Petersen
UNMIK SRSG (2004-6), INPROL Advisory Council Member, and Guest Scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace
- Scott Carlson
INPROL Rule of Law Forum Facilitator, U.S. Institute of Peace
- Neil Pouliot
Police Commanders Forum Facilitator, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre
- Col. Charles Bradley
Deputy Director, Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units
- Mike Dziedzic
- Scott Worden
- Jill Parlett
INPROL Consultant, U.S. Institute of Peace