Wednesday, November 29, 2023
For over a decade, the Missing Peace Initiative has brought together scholars, policymakers, practitioners and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to discuss new ways to prevent this scourge of war. At the initiative’s second global symposium, USIP spoke with several experts on the progress made in the last 10 years, the importance of hearing directly from survivors and persons with disabilities, and the continued work that needs to be done to end this horrific crime.
The U.S. Institute of Peace’s new series, “First in War, First in Peace,” looks to engage with veterans who experienced the horrors of conflict firsthand and have now dedicated themselves to building nonviolent paths toward peace. Patrick Spero, executive director of the George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon, and USIP’s Michael Yaffe discuss why the legacy of our nation’s first president was the right topic for the series’ inaugural event, what they hope the series can accomplish going forward, and the need to connect with various veterans’ groups and organizations around the country.
Tensions along China and India’s remote Himalayan border continue to rise, with more than 50,000 soldiers stationed in the region on either side. The situation has begun bleeding into other facets of China-India relations, as diplomacy and economic cooperation have decreased in recent years. Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in India, discusses the short-term options for easing the border dispute, India’s broader aims regarding its relationship with China, and how the U.S. and India should lean on their shared democratic values as they seek to counter China’s aggressive rise on the world stage.
The Veterans Day that Americans observe this week is rooted in hopes for peace that burst in 1918 from a train parked in a French forest: Allied and German military officers had signed a halt to humanity’s deadliest war ever. One hundred five years later, warfare in Ukraine, Israel-Gaza and dozens of countries have heightened both bloodshed and Americans’ concerns about whether humankind can fulfill our hopes for a world governed through laws rather than armed might. Still, the building of peace continues, even amid violence — and its builders include those who know best the horror of wars for having fought them.
After spending 27 years in prison, many expected Nelson Mandela to emerge as a man full of bitterness and anger toward those who had imprisoned him. Instead, he emerged as a towering figure of peace and justice whose own self-sacrifice and leadership were instrumental in ending the brutal apartheid system in South Africa. USIP’s Ambassador Johnnie Carson discusses the Institute’s new Mandela Series — a collection of lectures and seminars from notable peacebuilders that celebrates Mandela’s life and explores how his legacy can guide those seeking a better, more peaceful future.
Timor-Leste penetrates the world’s consciousness much less frequently than it did at the turn of the century when the Southeast Asian nation featured prominently in narratives about peacekeeping, state building, and approaches to peace and conflict, as its political leaders such as rebel leader turned statesman Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão gained global renown. And that relative silence is to Timor-Leste’s credit. The country is quiet and politically stable. Crazed driving is a bigger problem in the capital, Dili, than crazed men with guns.
The current approach to peacebuilding tends to focus on the drivers of conflict — by understanding what’s causing violence, mechanisms can be put in place to stop it. But that is only one part of peacebuilding, and a current dilemma facing the field is how to navigate the emotional aftermath of a conflict, where the warring parties might have different recollections and understandings of historical events. USIP’s Andrew Cheatham spoke with Seton Hall University Professor David Wood, the co-author of the “Ethics of Political Commemoration: Towards a New Paradigm ” who is also a senior researcher at Geneva Graduate Institute, about how this issue manifests in the practice of post-war commemorations and what the peacebuilding field can do to facilitate commemorations in a way that is more likely to lead to a peaceful future.
Over five decades later, the legacies of the Vietnam War still impact Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and their relations with the United States. But concerted efforts to promote justice and reconciliation have begun to address the collective trauma the war left behind — and in doing so, have turned what was once a major obstacle for U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia into one of the most remarkable stories of humanitarian cooperation in the 21st century.
In addressing violence in Papua New Guinea, most programs seek to work with survivors. However, to prevent the recurrence of violence — especially gender-based violence — it’s important to address the harmful attitudes that drive it. USIP’s Ruth Kissam and Zuabe Tinning discuss how a USIP program seeks to reorient men’s perspectives in Papua New Guinea toward championing equal participation for women in decision-making processes and repairing the damage caused by harmful and violent behaviors in their communities.
As leaders, activists and families across the world commemorate the International Day of the Girl on October 11, the harsh reality faced by millions of Afghan girls stands in stark contrast to many of the planned celebrations. For 750 days and counting, Afghan girls have been forcibly deprived of their right to education and their future because of the Taliban regime’s repressive policies.