The Olive Branch

This blog offers timely analysis, views from the field and an exchange of ideas about how to build peace and prevent or end conflict. USIP invites you to browse the posts and then offer your own ideas, comments or reflections. Each blog post and comment on the Olive Branch represents the views of the author and not necessarily that of USIP, a non-partisan, congressionally-funded organization that does not take policy positions.

By Joshua Levkowitz
December 8, 2016
While the people of Afghanistan are more disillusioned than ever with their government amid the country’s crises, public sympathy for the Taliban and their allies is eroding, according to the biggest annual survey of Afghans’ opinions. For the second straight year support is growing, if still...
By Sadaf Lakhani and Belquis Ahmadi
November 30, 2016
Last month, two female suicide bombers killed 24 people in northeast Nigeria. In September, Paris police arrested three women for plotting a terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS). The same month, in Kenya, police killed three women who attacked the main police station in Mombasa....
By Lauren Van Metre
November 29, 2016
In 2003, the women of Tononoka, an ethnically and religiously diverse neighborhood in Mombasa, Kenya, organized security to protect themselves after a series of violent rapes had gripped the community. This movement, which they dubbed Sauti Ya Wanawake (Women’s Vioces), has spread nationally to...
By Joshua Levkowitz
November 10, 2016
Sughra Hussainy didn’t want to be a doctor like so many other Afghan youth. The daughter of a day laborer and a tailor in Kabul, she was intrigued instead by her country’s cultural heritage and yearned to study art. Her pursuit of calligraphy and miniature painting at the Turquoise Mountain...
By Fred Strasser
October 19, 2016
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...
By USIP Staff
October 17, 2016
Iraqi government troops and allied Kurdish forces opened their assault on the city of Mosul before dawn today, fighting to recapture Iraq’s second-largest city from guerrillas of the Islamic State (ISIS). While a military defeat of the extremist group is expected, that will not bring stability or...
By Virginia M. Bouvier
October 1, 2016
There are landmark moments in the history of a nation that transcend borders and herald a new vision for the future. The signing of the peace accord in Colombia represents such a moment. If the Colombian people ratify the Havana peace agreement in the plebiscite scheduled for October 2, it will be...
By Keith Mines
September 29, 2016
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...
By Jonas Claes and Scofield Muliru
September 19, 2016
With elections coming up next year in Liberia and Kenya, the time for early and sustained efforts to prevent clashes is now. Forthcoming USIP research shows that domestic institutions hold the key: election commissions, the police and, above all, political leaders. Any international support to...
By Virginia M. Bouvier
September 9, 2016
Colombian rebel troops are heading to decommissioning centers and minors are set to leave guerrilla ranks on Sept. 10, as the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) begin implementing their peace accord ahead of an Oct. 2 plebiscite on the deal.