The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) must be a committed learning organization to achieve its mission to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. The complexity of conflict contexts and ever-changing patterns of violence means that peacebuilding work must be iterative to make a difference. With each new investment, we must draw lessons from our past successes and failures and apply them to our future work for greater impact.

The Policy, Learning, and Strategy (PLS) Center works to capture, organize, and disseminate evidence and learning from the Institute’s work for the purposes of informing better peacebuilding programs, policy and strategy. Four PLS teams work to accomplish these goals: Gender Policy and Strategy; Global Policy; Learning, Evaluation, and Research; and Program Development and Operations.

Key PLS activities include:

  • Serving as USIP’s hub for institutional standards on project design, monitoring and evaluation, learning, gender integration, and applied research.
  • Strengthening the institutions and practices for capturing, sharing, and leveraging knowledge across USIP to enable learning and improve decision-making.
  • Integrating gender perspectives into the policies and strategies of the Institute by enabling learning across USIP programming centers, convening communities of global experts, and providing thought leadership on gender-sensitive peacebuilding.
  • Forging external partnerships to shape global policy on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
  • Engaging with peer U.S. Government interagency partners, on behalf of the USIP centers to maximize the impact and effectiveness of USIP’s country and theme based programming to prevent violent conflict.
  • Guiding the annual and strategic planning processes of USIP.

For more information on how PLS operates, including information on all four teams, please see the section below.

Gender Policy and Strategy

The Gender Policy and Strategy (GPS) team oversees the systematic integration of gender considerations into the policies and strategies of the Institute. The team focuses its efforts through the USIP Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory and offers technical support in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of USIP’s programs and projects. GPS also takes an active role in USIP’s external outreach as an international thought leader on gender, peace, and security topics. The team does this by contributing to policy-shaping processes in Washington and by facilitating global partnerships among gender experts, practitioners, government organizations, civil society, and academia.  All of these efforts help ensure a cross-sectoral approach to gender in peacebuilding, which in turn helps USIP achieve its mission.

International Partnerships

The International Partnerships (IP) team leads the Institute’s policy engagements with international actors to enable foresight, insight and action on the most pressing global challenges to building and sustaining peace. Through the development of a virtuous circle of timely, policy-relevant thought-leadership and collaborative partnerships with major international policy actors and dialogue forums, the IP team works to expand USIP’s global policy influence and advance USIP’s mission to prevent and mitigate violent conflict.

Learning, Evaluation, and Research

The mission of the Learning, Evaluation, and Research (LER) team is to make USIP a more committed and dynamic learning organization by serving as the Institute’s hub for project design, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), knowledge management, research, and learning. LER defines a learning organization as one where staff at all levels continuously gather feedback and results, turn these results into lessons learned, and ensure lessons are disseminated and incorporated into the next generation of activities.

At the project and programmatic levels, LER provides direct technical assistance to USIP programs to strengthen research, design, M&E, and learning. At the organizational level, LER manages the Institute’s knowledge management systems and tools for learning at USIP so that evidence and learning are used to inform strategic-level decision-making. These activities help ensure that USIP is producing and leveraging stronger evidence so that staff can learn from that evidence and apply it to their work moving forward.

U.S. Government Partnerships, Policy, and Strategy

The U.S. Government Partnerships, Policy, and Strategy (USG-PPS) team supports USIP’s mission by advancing the Institute’s ongoing partnerships with the Executive Branch and its agencies. The team ensures that USIP is operating in partnership with those working for sustainable peace across the U.S. government and helps to raise the profile and relevance of the Institute on key foreign policy challenges. Internally, USG-PPS works closely with centers and programs to foster effective collaboration and enable coordination on Interagency Agreements (IAAs) and cross-Institute policy initiatives to maximize the Institute’s relevance and impact.

Current Projects

Missing Peace Initiative on Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Missing Peace Initiative on Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Initiated in 2012, the Missing Peace Initiative is a partnership bringing together policymakers, practitioners and junior and senior scholars who are working on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. Together, these individuals identify gaps in knowledge and reporting and explore how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence. Since 2013, the Missing Peace Scholars Network has ensured that this research is communicated cogently to policymakers by producing annual special reports intended to produce meaningful change regarding acts of conflict-related sexual violence.

GenderHuman RightsJustice, Security & Rule of Law

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (GIFT)

Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (GIFT)

The Gender Inclusive Framework and Theory (The GIFT) is a conceptual guide that facilitates the integration of gender analysis into project design. It does this by putting forward a three-pronged approach to gender analysis of conflict that addresses: Women, Peace and Security, Peaceful Masculinities, and Intersecting Identities. Each analytical component sheds light on the gender dynamics in the given environment to support the design of peacebuilding projects that are more inclusive, resilient, and attuned to the local context.

Gender

International Partnerships

International Partnerships

The International Partnerships team leads the Institute’s policy engagements with international actors to enable foresight, insight and action on the most pressing global challenges to building and sustaining peace. Through the development of a virtuous circle of timely, policy-relevant thought-leadership and collaborative partnerships with major international policy actors and dialogue forums, the IP team works to expand USIP’s global policy influence and advance USIP’s mission to prevent and mitigate violent conflict.

Fragility & ResilienceGlobal PolicyPeace Processes

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Featured Publications

How to Deliver for Citizens in Fragile States After the Democracy Summit

How to Deliver for Citizens in Fragile States After the Democracy Summit

Thursday, December 16, 2021

By: Corinne Graff, Ph.D.

Last week’s Summit for Democracy hosted by President Biden was a call to action. The first-ever international convening of its kind, it offered democratic leaders an opportunity to announce political commitments to reform over the coming year, and to begin to share experiences and learn from each other in a more deliberate way than has been the case to date. Given the unprecedented threats facing democratic systems worldwide, it was an important and timely step. What is less clear is what the summit entails for a particular subset of aspiring democracies: countries currently or recently affected by civil war that are transitioning to democracy. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Policy

What Afghanistan Teaches Us About Evidence-Based Policy

What Afghanistan Teaches Us About Evidence-Based Policy

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By: Corinne Graff, Ph.D.

Even as the debate over the lessons learned by the U.S. government in Afghanistan continues, several clear conclusions have emerged. One is that U.S. agencies repeatedly underestimated the time and resources needed to support a nation wracked by decades of war, while they failed to follow a consistent plan for civilian recovery efforts. U.S. personnel also lacked the training needed to be successful in the field, and monitoring and evaluation efforts did not receive the policy attention required to enable course corrections and learning. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyFragility & Resilience

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