People Power Can Boost the Afghan Peace Process

People Power Can Boost the Afghan Peace Process

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

By: Maria J. Stephan

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?

Nonviolent Action

Venezuelan Youth Lead Nonviolent Campaigns for Change

Venezuelan Youth Lead Nonviolent Campaigns for Change

Thursday, July 18, 2019

By: Aubrey Cox; Nilaya Knafo

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.

Youth

Pakistan’s Participation Puzzle: A Look at the Voting Gender Gap

Pakistan’s Participation Puzzle: A Look at the Voting Gender Gap

Thursday, July 18, 2019

By: Ali Cheema; Sarah Khan; Shandana Khan Mohmand; Anam Kuraishi; Asad Liaqat

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.

Democracy & Governance

Lessons from the Dalai Lama: Looking Past My World

Lessons from the Dalai Lama: Looking Past My World

Monday, July 8, 2019

By: Nour Darwish

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.

Youth

To Build Peace, Afghans Revive an Old Definition of Manhood

To Build Peace, Afghans Revive an Old Definition of Manhood

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

By: Asma Ebadi; James Rupert

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.

Gender

The Dilemma of Delaying Elections

The Dilemma of Delaying Elections

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Algeria’s Constitutional Council announced over the weekend it would cancel elections planned for next month in response to demands from protesters. Although such delays are often criticized, there are often good reasons to postpone an election in countries at risk of violent conflict. The security situation may complicate the logistics or put poll workers and voters at risk; heated campaigns may risk escalating communal tensions and endanger candidates; or conditions for a fair campaign may simply not be in place amid a state of emergency. At the same time there are risks associated with postponing a voting process. Along with Algeria, other recent examples from Afghanistan, Libya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo highlight this dilemma.

Electoral Violence

After ISIS, Stability in Iraq Requires Addressing its Fragility

After ISIS, Stability in Iraq Requires Addressing its Fragility

Monday, May 20, 2019

By: Nancy Lindborg

It’s been more than a year since the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq, and the country has since made notable progress on several fronts, as I saw on a recent trip to Iraq. Concrete barriers known as t-walls are being removed from the streets, relations between Baghdad and Erbil have improved, and a more vibrant air permeates the streets of Baghdad. The peaceful election held last year was the fourth since 2005, marking an important milestone, with the formation of the new government almost complete.

Fragility & Resilience

Not Just a Punchline: Humor and Nonviolent Action

Not Just a Punchline: Humor and Nonviolent Action

Thursday, May 16, 2019

By: Adam Gallagher; Anthony Navone

In the span of a few weeks in April, two longtime North African dictators—Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria and Omar al-Bashir in Sudan—were toppled by nonviolent movements. These successes further bolster what nonviolent theorists have long argued: nonviolent resistance is twice as effective as violence in achieving major political goals. Less understood and examined is the special, disarming role that humor can play in propelling nonviolent movements and defeating oppressive structures.

Nonviolent Action