The Current Situation in Sudan

May 10, 2016

Sudan is struggling to emerge from decades of violent conflict and build lasting peace throughout the country. In late 2015 and early 2016, violence surged in Darfur, displacing tens of thousands of civilians. Continued armed conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states has uprooted hundreds of thousands more. Delivery of humanitarian assistance to those populations remains blocked, and negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) have made little progress toward ending the violence. President Omar al-Bashir initiated a national dialogue in 2014 that has led to some discussion on issues of identity, economy, peace and governance. However, important groups have yet to join and ongoing arrests, restrictions on public gatherings and limits on freedom of speech have curtailed the reach and depth of the dialogue. President al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, was declared re-elected in a 2015 vote marked by opposition boycotts and low voter turnout.

USIP’s Work

For more than 20 years, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has been working to build peace and inclusive processes in Sudan, through partnerships with the State Department, nongovernmental organizations, and Sudanese stakeholders. USIP’s recent work includes:

Youth Leaders Program: Since 2013, USIP has hosted Sudanese and South Sudanese peacebuilders under the age of 35 for four-month residencies in Washington, DC. They conduct research and work with USIP programs in ways that build their abilities for further work in Sudan or South Sudan. The first alumni of the program have started workshops, women’s programs, libraries and literacy courses in support of their peacebuilding efforts. Past youth leaders include Ikhlas Mohammed (2014-2015) and Arif Omer (2014).

Sudanese Initiative for Constitution Making: USIP is supporting a group of more than 60 Sudanese non-governmental organizations, from all 18 states, that works to educate the Sudanese people on the importance of constitutions and to promote inclusive, participatory, and transparent constitutional reform.

USIP Publications 

USIP’ staff and experts publish in-depth reports, as well as short, timely policy briefs, that distill expert research, lessons learned and problem-solving solutions to advance peacebuilding in Sudan. Recent publications include:

Sudan’s National Dialogue Poses Test to Government’s Commitment(Olive Branch, February 2016)

Local Peace Processes in Sudan and South Sudan (Peaceworks, May 2014)

Pathway to National Dialogue in Sudan  (Peace Brief, August 2013)

USIP Events

USIP hosts events that bring together thought leaders, scholars, experts, policy makers and elected officials to discuss peacebuilding efforts around the world and analyze current affairs. Recent USIP events on Sudan or sub-Saharan Africa include these:

Women of Africa: Leadership in Peacebuilding and Development. In May 2015, the ambassadors to the United States from Rwanda, Mozambique and Uganda marked the annual observance of Africa Day with a discussion highlighting women’s roles in peacebuilding and development.

Africa and America: Partners in a Shared Future. Alongside the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in July 2014, National Security Advisor Susan Rice spoke at USIP, drawing attention to Africa’s progress in the past two decades and its possibilities for economic growth, good governance and long-term stability.

U.S. Policy Today for Africa Tomorrow.In July 2014, the Institute hosted a conversation on U.S.-Africa engagement. Speakers included USIP’s senior advisors, Ambassador Princeton Lyman and former Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, as well as former Assistant Secretary George Moose, who is vice chairman of USIP’s Board of Directors.  

National Dialogue in Sudan: Options and Outcomes. In March 2014, USIP hosted an online discussion on the prospects for launching a national dialogue in Sudan. The discussion, with a panel of Sudanese and U.S. experts, focused in part on the 2015 Sudanese elections and new opportunities for political change.


USIP has hosted scholars, policy analysts, and other experts focusing on Sudan and South Sudan, including:

Jok Madut Jok (Senior Fellow, 2010-2011)

Ambassador Princeton Lyman (Senior Fellow, 1999-2000; Senior Advisor, 2013-present)

Francis Deng (Fellow, 1987-1988, 2002-2003)



May 10, 2016