Monday, August 12, 2019
I had the good fortune to meet Toni Morrison at the United Nations in June 2002. She delivered the inaugural lecture in a series of public lectures established by fellow Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the United Nations. Annan established the lectures to bring different perspectives to the U.N. and to strengthen the sense of community among U.N. staff and diplomats of member states.
Far from helping resolve conflict, flawed cease-fires and cease-fire monitoring may well contribute to significantly increased mistrust between the parties to that conflict. The consequences may be even more damaging; as cease-fires are often one of the first objectives a mediator attempts to achieve, in the eyes of the combatants, early failure may more broadly damage the viability, or the perception of viability, of external action to effectively resolve the conflict.
Tunisia, the single democracy to emerge from the Middle East’s 2011 political revolts, suddenly must choose a new leader following the death of 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi. Essebsi was the country’s first freely elected president and helped lead its transition away from decades of authoritarian rule. His death accelerates a test for this young democracy—its first political succession under its 2014 constitution.
In Sudan, the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council recently signed a power-sharing accord, but the agreement has yet to be formally implemented. Susan Stigant explains what’s holding up implementation and how the agreement addresses transitional justice.
I recently visited Afghanistan for the first time since serving at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from 2009-2011. When I was last there, the fighting was intense and peace seemed far off. My days were spent working long hours at the embassy, and my nights were spent working on a book about violent and nonviolent resistance, a project which changed my life. Today, talks between the Taliban and the U.S.—and recently between the Taliban and Afghan leaders—have renewed hope for peace after decades of conflict. What role can civil resistance play amid the steady stream of violence in Afghanistan?
As the Americas’ biggest political and refugee crisis has mushroomed, Venezuela’s massive youth population faces an agonizing choice: to endure the conflict and the privations of a collapsed economy, or to seek economic survival and a better life abroad. With a recent surge of people fleeing the country, more than 4 million Venezuelans now are refugees, the United Nations reported last month. Still, a strong core of youth—nonviolent protest leaders, humanitarian workers and grassroots organizers—is working on peaceful ways to restore stability and democracy.
The Global Gender Gap Index ranked Pakistan in 2016 as the second lowest country in the world for gender equality. Women’s political participation is recognized as an essential component of gender equality and in Pakistan the gender gap in participation is particularly high. Ensuring gender equality in political participation matters: A recent survey conducted by these authors finds that, at least in some public policy domains in Pakistan’s big cities, the issues that matter to women are different from the issues that matter to men. This demonstrates that greater gender equality in electoral participation could substantively change what issues are represented in the political arena.
Last year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to enact political reforms and broker a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea ushered in new hope for the country. But recent political assassinations have raised questions over Ethiopia’s transition. Here are three things you need to know.
Nour Darwish is a Generation Change fellow, medical student, and a part-time primary school educator from Libya who works with youth to understand the importance of promoting peace. She was the lead organizer of the first TedxYouth event in Libya and works as a project manager for a youth-led NGO called Makers of Hope. She is one of 30 young civil society leaders from 12 nations facing violent conflict whom USIP gathered in 2018 for training and mentorship with the Nobel peace laureate and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Across Afghanistan, Rafiullah Stanikzai has spent thousands of hours with young men, learning how 40 years of war has warped Afghans’ ancient culture and corrupted their notions of how, simply, to be a man. Stanikzai is working to reverse that change, because stabilizing any country from war requires not only political negotiations, like those between U.S. diplomats and the Taliban. Any sustainable peace must also change enough hearts and minds that a people can return to settling disputes without guns and grenades.