The U.S Institute of Peace’s Center for Applied Conflict Transformation (ACT) is built on the premise that there are common tools and approaches to peacebuilding that are adaptive, but applicable to peacebuilding globally. We serve as the hub of the Institute’s common resources for governments, organizations, and individuals seeking to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict worldwide. ACT prioritizes evaluation and learning from our programs to adapt and improve our work. As of 2017, ACT is actively engaged in more than 40 fragile and conflict-affected countries around the world.

The Center leads the Institute’s long-standing engagements on:

  • Justice, security, rule of law: ACT’s Justice and Security Dialogue (JSD) program, which brings together police and local communities to build trust and facilitate collective problem-solving, is currently being implemented in several countries across West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, and Tunisia. USIP also spearheads the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL), a global online community of practice, comprised of over 3,000 rule-of-law practitioners from 120 countries.
  • Inclusive societies – particularly engagement with religious actors and youth: ACT currently focuses on mapping of religious actors at the intersection of peace and conflict in Libya, Pakistan, and South Sudan. Across Africa and the Middle East, and now in Colombia, the Center’s Generation Change Fellows Program works to equip young peacebuilders with the skills needed to manage conflict nonviolently.

ACT houses and convenes USIP’s experts on current challenges to peace, including: 

  • Preventing electoral violence: ACT has played a pioneering role in broadening the understanding of election violence. In 2017, USIP published Electing Peace, a seminal research volume that examines the effectiveness of common practices to prevent election violence—paving the way for further research in Liberia and Kenya and evidence-based prevention in Pakistan, Burma and other USIP priority countries.
  • Addressing violent extremism: ACT leverages and integrates the learning on violent extremism from research and projects across the Institute, including those of the RESOLVE Network, which launched its first local observatory on conflict and extremism in Bangladesh in 2017.
  • Assessing the implications of resource scarcity: ACT views resource scarcity and abundance as a significant challenge to fragile and conflict-affected communities worldwide.

ACT continues to identify, design, and pilot the next generation of peacebuilding approaches and tools for effective negotiation, mediation, and dialogue; nonviolent movements; reconciliation; and promoting inclusive peace processes.

The Center brings strategic coherence and consistency to USIP’s core capabilities – research, grant-making, fellowships, publishing, education and training, and field practice – to maximize our impact.

USIP’s Global Campus

The Global Campus, part of the Academy, leverages the latest modern communication technologies to extend online education and training opportunities to individuals across the world. Now, from almost anywhere, professionals can increase their knowledge and skills to prevent violent and transform violent conflict through accessible, engaging online training opportunities.

Current Projects

Youth Advisory Council

Youth Advisory Council

Built upon the belief that youth bring significant and unique insight to peacebuilding, the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) provides a mechanism through which USIP experts can benefit from youth perspectives and expertise. The YAC enables USIP staff to engage youth as partners, experts, and practioners while elevating youth voices and experience to the international level. The YAC contributes to USIP’s vision for an inclusive approach to peacebuilding. The Youth Advisory Council meets regularly to bring together youth thought leaders and peacebuilding experts committed to the Institute’s mission and activities.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Peace Processes; Youth

Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding

Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding

The impetus behind SNAP comes from case study research that highlights how grassroots activists, organizers, and peacebuilders engaged in nonviolent action and peacebuilding can use approaches from both fields together to strategically plan and more effectively prevent violence, address grievances, and advance justice. While scholars such as Adam Curle, John Paul Lederach, Lisa Schirch, Veronique Dudouet, and Anthony Wanis-St. John have explored synergies between the two fields for decades, the SNAP guide is one of the first to offer practical modules and exercises meant to help practitioners operationalize the combined approach at the grassroots

Education & Training; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Nonviolent Action; Peace Processes

Religious Peacebuilding Action Guides

USIP has developed a series of Action Guides focused on religion and conflict analysis, mediation, reconciliation and gender-inclusive religious peacebuilding in collaboration with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice. These Action Guides provide a practical overview of the religious peacebuilding field and the role religion plays in driving both conflict and peace, examples of how religious actors and institutions have contributed to the prevention and resolution of conflict, and considerations for how best to engage the religious sector in peacebuilding.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Gender; Education & Training; Reconciliation

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Featured Publications

To Help End a War, Call Libya’s Women Negotiators

To Help End a War, Call Libya’s Women Negotiators

Thursday, October 17, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar

As Libya struggles to end an armed conflict that has only widened this year, it should turn to a hidden resource: the traditional peacemaking roles of its women. As in many countries facing warfare, women have long played a key role in negotiating or mediating conflicts within families, clans and local communities—but are overlooked by official institutions and peace processes. Amid Libya’s crisis, one such “hidden” peacemaker is Aisha al-Bakoush, a hospital nursing director who has expanded her healing mission from medical illnesses to armed conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes; Religion

Local Cross-line Coordination in Syria

Local Cross-line Coordination in Syria

Thursday, October 3, 2019

By: Natasha Hall; Benjamin Smith; Thomas McGee

Throughout the eight-year-long conflict in Syria, the movement of people and goods—including vital foodstuffs, medicines, equipment, and fuel—has often been severely restricted by periods of prolonged fighting. Yet in many areas, local arrangements, historical circumstances, and key actors have facilitated trade and movement across the lines of conflict. This report examines four cross-line areas in Syria and draws lessons for how these local dynamics might affect the resolution of the larger conflict and these communities in the long term.

Type: Peaceworks

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Fragility & Resilience

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