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.

USIP’s Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers

We are excited to announce that USIP’s Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers (CMTP) program training-of-trainers application (version Française) has been extended until August 9, 2020!

Since 2008, USIP has provided training on conflict management skills to more than 7,000 peacekeepers from 21 troop contributing countries (TCCs) deploying to 8 United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions. The CMTP program provides a five-day training that strengthens the capacity of peacekeepers to protect civilians through the nonviolent resolution of conflicts. This training provides peacekeepers with knowledge and skills in the areas of conflict analysis, communication, negotiation, and mediation through a protection of civilian lens in order to improve their interactions with local populations and mission actors and more effectively carry out their mandate.

Additionally, the training equips peacekeepers with a range of skills and knowledge to strengthen their capacity to think deeply about culture, human rights, and gender. The Protecting Civilians through Conflict Transformation curriculum is rooted in principles of adult learning and thus builds on peacekeepers’ existing experiences and knowledge.

Given a recent revision of the training curriculum, the CMTP program is expanding its existing cadre of civilian trainers and mentors to deliver the Protecting Civilians through Conflict Transformation training and to mentor and coach TCC instructor cadres to deliver the training. You can find more details about, and submit your application for the program, here. For questions about the application or the process, please email Peacekeepertraining@usip.org.

Current Projects

Religious Actors in Official Peace Processes

Religious Actors in Official Peace Processes

Since 2018, USIP, InclusivePeace, and the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy have been conducting research that explores the roles that religious actors play in track 1 dialogues and official peace processes. While distinct cases demonstrate the impact—both real and potential—that religious actors and communities have on formal peace processes, little research or analysis exists to show whether, when, how, and to what extent religious actors should be engaged as part of these processes.

Peace Processes; Religion

Closing the Gap: Analyzing the Link Between Religious Freedom, Peace, and Development

Closing the Gap: Analyzing the Link Between Religious Freedom, Peace, and Development

Government restrictions on religion have risen steadily in recent years, raising questions about both their causes and consequences. In partnership with USAID’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, USIP launched the Closing the Gap initiative earlier this year to more carefully examine these trends. The project, which will take place over the course of 2020, will explore the relationship between freedom of religion, peace, and development through statistical analysis and case studies. The findings will inform a more nuanced, strategic, and impactful policy and practice of advancing religious freedom.

Democracy & Governance; Human Rights; Religion

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

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Featured Publications

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Monday, November 23, 2020

By: Knox Thames

Persecution on account of religion or belief confronts every community somewhere around the world—and it is an increasing trend. Challenges range from terrorist violence against minorities, such as ISIS’ depravations against Yazidis, to persecution by authoritarian governments, with China’s targeting of all faiths a prime example. To organize a defense of freedom of conscience and belief, the United States convened the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2018 and 2019, bringing together a virtual congress of nations and civil society activists from around the world. The third ministerial, organized by Poland, was held virtually in mid-November. Discussions identified challenges but also solutions. One consistent answer to the vexing problem of persecution was proffered: educating youth about human rights and pluralism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion; Education & Training

Three Things You Thought You Knew About Freedom of Religion or Belief

Three Things You Thought You Knew About Freedom of Religion or Belief

Thursday, November 12, 2020

By: Jason Klocek; Scott Bledsoe

Accounts of global religious restrictions and hostilities have, unfortunately, become a regular feature of today’s news cycle. India’s passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which uses religious identity as a criterion for citizenship, and its violent crackdown against protesters made headlines at the turn of year. The Chinese government’s detention of more than a million Uyghur Muslims, increased surveillance, and other religious regulations in Xinjiang continue to garner much attention. And, increasingly more concern has been given to the ongoing attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria. While these examples are, of course, worrying and must be addressed, a deeper dive into the data reveals that many of the assumptions we hold about the state of global religious freedom need further unpacking.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion

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