Articles and Publications

USIP Articles, Publications and Tools provide the latest analysis of international developments and policy recommendations on world affairs issues, particularly the prevention and resolution of conflict.

Latest Articles & Analysis

March 2015
By
Alison Milofsky
Dialogue is a powerful instrument for creating understanding between groups who are in conflict with one another. Unlike debates or decision-making processes dialogues are open ended—their purpose is not to “win” or make decisions, but rather to allow people to deepen their understanding of a particular issue and to form relationships between people that may transform how they think about each other and how they can engage with people different from them.
March 2015
By
Viola Gienger
Today’s global political realities of chaos and violent conflict are well-captured by the declaration, “The center cannot hold.” It’s the title of the first chapter in a new book, Managing Conflict in A World Adrift, that dissects the shifts in international security and the tense debates about how to adapt. The trends were the subject of a recent discussion at USIP that featured co-editors Chester A. Crocker and Pamela Aall and expert authors, including an award winning marine ecologist.
February 2015
By
USIP Staff
In August, West Africa’s outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus exploded into Liberia’s capital, filling its hospitals beyond capacity and killing many of the city’s already-too-few doctors and nurses. With her government struggling and Liberians dying in Monrovia’s streets, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf placed urgent calls to both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, “who I awakened at night,” she recalled today.  
February 2015
By
USIP Staff
Russell Feingold, the U.S. Special Envoy working to stabilize Africa’s Great Lakes region, urged Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to hold fair, democratic elections as a key step to bringing peace to the region. And he pressed the DRC to launch a promised military offensive in the country’s East against an ethnic Hutu militia that includes fighters who participated in the anti-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda 21 years ago.
February 2015
By
Moeed Yusuf
A public backlash against the Pakistani Taliban after a December attack in northwestern Pakistan that killed 134 children has raised hopes that the country’s government and military might finally muster the political will to tackle terrorism and violent extremism. U.S. Institute of Peace Director of Pakistan and South Asia Programs Moeed Yusuf considers the odds in the face of Pakistan’s deteriorating relations with India on the eastern border and a new, though divided government in a still-shaky Afghanistan to the west.
February 2015
By
Virginia M. Bouvier
As the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group  resume their next round of peace talks in Havana today, they received a strong boost of support with the recent designation of Bernie Aronson as U.S. Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process. He already has plans to meet with the parties in Havana during this round, which will end on March 7. 
February 2015
By
USIP Staff
The Pakistani Taliban’s killing of more than 150 people at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December spurred the Pakistani government to draft a new National Action Plan against terrorism. A primary architect of that plan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, discussed his country’s terrorism challenge on Feb. 18 in his first public appearance in Washington since taking office in 2013.
February 2015
By
Susan Hayward
The United States needs to take a wider view of whom it works with in its war against religious extremists.
February 2015
By
Viola Gienger
Fatima Kadhim al-Bahadly, an activist for women in southern Iraq, remembers the swell of chaos across her country last June. The extremist militant group calling itself “the Islamic State” had captured Mosul in the north, and the country’s most powerful cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, had issued a call for citizens to take up arms against the insurgents. Suddenly, her city of Basra was awash in weapons. Young men left universities to join armed groups.
February 2015
By
Giselle Lopez and Noel Dickover
Myanmar continues to experience intermittent violence and power struggles that threaten its progress toward sustainable peace, even as the country has made progress in its democratic transition. To help address the tensions, the U.S. Institute of Peace recently linked technologists with civic activists to bolster efforts aimed at countering the kind of dangerous speech fueling the flames of inter-religious conflict.

Latest Publications and Tools

March 2015
By
Nasir A. Andisha
President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 leaves that country once again wide open for an intensified regional race for strategic influence in the country. The majority of experts—both Afghan and international—agree that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan require internationally backed regional arrangements. A recent forum involving high-profile Afghan politicians, former diplomats, and civil society leaders underscores this consensus and the long-term vision of an “Afghan-led and Afghanistan-specific enduring neutrality.” This report focuses on the historical aspects of neutrality as a first step toward neutrality-based diplomatic solutions for both the immediate Afghan conflict and the country’s long-term positioning.
March 2015
By
Fiona Mangan with Erica Gaston
Since the 2011 Arab Spring crisis, Yemen has faced ongoing serious security sector challenges. Part of this reform effort is the country’s prison system, which this report—drawing on visits to thirty-seven facilities in six governorates—documents from a systems perspective. This report provides a more in-depth assessment of detention facilities and their role within larger rule of law challenges. Opportunities for prison reform are emerging, many well within reach.
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February 2015
By
Amy Calfas
The 2014 elections in Afghanistan saw great promise for advancing the status of women, with unprecedented voter turnout among women and powerful rhetoric from presidential candidates. As the new administration sets its agenda, this report offers guidelines for Afghan leaders to fulfill their campaign promises by strengthening women’s political participation, access to justice, and involvement in the security sector. 
February 2015
By
Maria J. Stephan, Sadaf Lakhani and Nadia Naviwala
Supporting local agents of nonviolent change is critical to preventing violent conflict and advancing democratic development. Civic campaigns are key drivers of social and political development, as is clear from issues-focused movements in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and most recently the Middle East and North Africa. Effectively aiding civic movements that are fluid, diverse, decentralized, and often loosely organized is tricky. Drawn from a review of the literature and numerous interviews with international policymakers and civil society leaders, this report explores both the ways donors engage civil society and creative new approaches to supporting nontraditional actors.
February 2015
By
Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall editors
In the midst of a political shift where power is moving from central institutions to smaller, more distributed units in the international system, the approaches to and methodologies for peacemaking are changing. "Managing Conflict in a World Adrift" provides a sobering panorama of contemporary conflict, along with innovative thinking about how to respond now that new forces and dynamics are at play.
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February 2015
Hassan Rouhani’s upset victory in the June 2013 presidential election created great expectations of change. The new centrist president pledged to resolve the nuclear dispute, improve Iran’s relations with the outside world, revitalize the economy, and encourage a more open society. In November 2013, the Islamic Republic reached an interim nuclear agreement with the world’s six major powers. But after more than a year of negotiations, the two sides have yet to close gaps on pivotal issues. Rouhani needs a foreign policy success to implement his domestic agenda.
February 2015
The United States Institute of Peace works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace. Created by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan, federally funded organization, USIP’s more than 300 staff work at the Institute’s D.C. headquarters, and on the ground in the world’s most dangerous regions
January 2015
By
John Paden
Nigeria—its vast population evenly split between Muslim and Christian—is counting down to another presidential election, scheduled for February 2015. This report raises a number of questions about the relationship of religious identity and internal conflict and the consequences of a polarized election. Do religious symbols exacerbate or mitigate conflict, especially during an electoral season? What are the interfaith efforts to ameliorate or mitigate ethno-religious conflict? What are the consequences of a polarized election?
January 2015
By
Jason Gluck and Michele Brandt
In the wake of the Arab Spring, citizens across the Middle East and North Africa are demanding reforms from their governments. How these governments respond to their people and promote inclusive constitution-making processes may determine whether their new social compacts lead to a durable peace. This report draws from the work of scholars and constitution makers who have been exchanging ideas about how to ensure that modern constitutions incorporate the needs and aspirations of the citizens they are intended to govern. As the countries of the Arab Spring transition from authoritarian regimes and overcome ethnic and sectarian divisions, they can learn lessons from comparative constitution-making experiences—including most recently that of Tunisia—about how to achieve more consensus based social compacts and lasting peace.
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January 2015
By
Huma Yusuf and Syed Shoaib Hasan
Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh has a reputation for stability, diversity, and tolerance. It is also at a tipping point—increasingly threatened by violent extremism, crime, political corruption, tribal feuds, and nationalist and separatist movements. If the province is not to become yet another base for militants, as areas to the north already are, the government needs to act promptly and decisively. Addressing the security situation in Sindh is also integral to stabilizing Karachi, which should be a top priority, given the economic ramifications of growing turbulence in the country’s financial capital. 
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