The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has had long-standing engagement in South and Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific. USIP’s Asia Center, established in 2015, currently maintains country offices in Afghanistan, Burma and Pakistan, where staff work with local and international partners to encourage greater inclusivity, promote political and social participation, advance justice, support mechanisms for conflict resolution and reconciliation, counter violent extremism, and pilot, test, and learn from innovative approaches to address violent conflict. The Washington, D.C.-based China program is focused on China’s impact on peace and conflict dynamics globally, with a particular interest in the countries and conflict zones where USIP works. Through research, a range of publications, public and private events, and briefings to national and international policy makers, the Asia Center deepens understanding of peace and conflict dynamics and helps inform policies and strategies on how best to manage violent conflict.

Regional and Non-Priority Country Initiatives

The Asia Center also applies its research, analysis, and convening strengths toward better understanding of regional, bilateral, or cross-border drivers of conflict relevant to its four priority country programs. The Center has previously supported research and dialogue on various aspects of the India-Pakistan and Afghanistan-Pakistan relationships, the Korean peninsula, regional economic initiatives, issues related to natural resources, and common trends in extremism in Southeast Asia, among others.

Where needs, opportunities and resources permit, the Asia Center also seeks to help prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict through on-ground initiatives beyond the Center’s priority programs. For example, the Center currently has active projects in Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan. 

Current Projects

Senior Study Group on Strategic Stability in Southern Asia

Senior Study Group on Strategic Stability in Southern Asia

Beginning in June 2021, USIP convened a group of senior experts to assess concerns that recent geopolitical and technological trends increasingly threaten the tenuous stability of Southern Asia. Over seven virtual plenary sessions, the senior study group assessed the changing capabilities, doctrines, threat perceptions and crisis response behavior of the main regional nuclear actors. Their final report summarizes those findings, considers U.S. policy options and identifies priority recommendations for the resolution or mitigation of core disputes, the enhancement of regional strategic stability, and the management of potential future crises.

Global Policy

Myanmar Study Group

Myanmar Study Group

In March 2021, the U.S. Institute of Peace organized the Myanmar Study Group in response to the evolving crisis in Myanmar following the military coup a month prior. To support U.S. policy towards Myanmar, USIP convened a group of 9 prominent experts for a series of discussions about the dynamic context within the country and U.S. government policy options.

Civilian-Military RelationsConflict Analysis & PreventionReconciliation

Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative

Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative

In 2021, the U.S. Institute of Peace launched a multiyear project to foster greater dialogue both in and between the United States and Vietnam on war legacy issues and reconciliation. This project stems from the U.S. Congress’s landmark 2021 authorization for the U.S. government to assist Vietnam in identifying its missing personnel, following decades of Vietnamese cooperation to help the United States conduct the fullest possible accounting of U.S. personnel. This project will support this bilateral initiative while also engaging in the work that remains to addresss legacies of war — including the continuing impacts of Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance — and to deepen reconciliation.

Global PolicyReconciliation

Afghanistan Peace Process

Afghanistan Peace Process

Almost 20 years after the United States ousted the Taliban regime, the first direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government began in Doha, Qatar in September 2020. The Taliban, Afghan government, and international forces have fought to a deadly stalemate, with both battle deaths and civilian casualties near record highs in recent years.

Peace Processes

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Featured Publications

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Despite Ukraine Focus, Asia-Pacific to Play Prominent Role at NATO Summit

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Mirna Galic

NATO countries meet this week in Madrid, Spain amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the biggest test the alliance has faced in decades. The summit is expected to focus heavily on demonstrating NATO’s unity, support for Ukraine and the bids of Finland and Sweden — propelled by Russia’s aggressive incursion — to join the alliance. But developments in the Asia-Pacific, chiefly the rise of China, will also be a top item on the agenda, with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea participating at the leader level for the first time at a NATO summit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

The Persistent Challenge of Extremism in Bangladesh

Thursday, June 23, 2022

By: Mubashar Hasan;  Geoffrey Macdonald

On July 1, 2016, Bangladeshi militants carried out an attack, targeting mostly foreigners and non-Muslims, at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka. The Bangladeshi government responded to the attack with a concerted and controversial counterterrorism campaign. Although the number of terrorist incidents has been in steady decline since 2016, Islamist groups continue to operate, recruit, and carry out small-scale attacks while aspiring to perpetrate greater violence. This report examines the dynamics, drivers, and manifestations of extremism in Bangladesh and discusses measures to weaken its appeal.

Type: Special Report

Violent Extremism

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