Wednesday, June 7, 2023
The Latest @ USIP: How Russia Extends Influence in Latin America
Russia’s information operations in Latin American are much deeper and more complex than what is commonly understood. Using a variety of instruments, Moscow has worked to create an environment favorable to Russia and to keep Latin American elites from aligning with Washington on a variety of issues, particularly the war in Ukraine. Douglas Farah, the director of the USIP-funded Russia and Latin America project, explains how Russia deploys information operations in Latin America, what the objective of these efforts is, and what is the most concerning about Moscow’s effort to advance its influence in Latin America.
The Latest: 3 Things to Know on Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh
In August 2017, Myanmar’s military drove around 750,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government and citizens responded generously, providing food, shelter and other forms of assistance. But a USIP survey shows that Bangladeshis' views on the situation have markedly changed in the last five years, with many supporting less assistance and harsher policies toward the Rohingya. USIP’s Geoffrey Macdonald, who is also a senior advisor for Asia at the International Republican Institute, discusses why Bangladeshi views have evolved, what conflict dynamics inside and outside of refugee camps look like, and what policymakers should do to help address the situation.
The Latest @ USIP: Where Do Palestinians Stand?
Obada Shtaya, director of advancement at Zimam, discusses the research on Palestinian attitudes toward politics, identity, occupation and governance, as well as potential opportunities to engage youth in peacebuilding.
The Latest @ USIP: To Improve Stability in Africa, Invest in Agriculture
To improve continental stability, African countries need to focus on the equitable creation of wealth for their citizens. And with farmers representing over 70 percent of the continent’s population, the path toward equitable wealth involves improving the durability and development of Africa’s largest industry: agriculture. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, discusses how food insecurity stemming from the war in Ukraine has refocused investment in African farmers, why improving infrastructure is the key to unlocking more foreign investment in African countries, and how the private sector can help promote peace throughout the continent.
The Latest @ USIP: Côte d'Ivoire’s Struggle Against Cross-Border Violent Extremism
While Côte d'Ivoire has managed to professionalize its security forces and maintain relative calm in the country’s interior regions, concerns over violent extremism continue to plague its northern borders with countries like Mali and Burkina Faso. Vagondo Diomandé, Côte d'Ivoire’s minister of interior and security, discusses the country’s security landscape, his first impressions of the U.S. Strategy for Conflict Prevention and Stability Promotion in Coastal West Africa, and why a regional security approach is the only way to fully address the cross-border threat of terrorism.
The Latest @ USIP: Religious Actors Work Together for Peace in the DRC
Religious leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are banding together to help prevent conflict and violence ahead of elections planned for later this year. Monsignor Donatien Nshole and Reverend Eric Nsenga, who represent two of the largest church organizations in the country, discuss their efforts to support better governance in the DRC, what’s blocking political agreements from being implemented, and the importance of civic engagement at the local level to maintain peace.
The Latest @ USIP: Pakistani Police’s Gender Initiatives Expand Access to Justice
The Pakistani police’s gender protection units ensure that from start to finish, a victim’s case is handled by a staff of female and transgender officers — helping women and transgender victims overcome the cultural and gender barriers that often hamper their access to the justice system. Amna Baig, a Pakistani police superintendent and founder of Pakistan’s first gender protection unit, discusses how these programs work to prevent and counter gender-based violence, what’s needed to help replicate and expand them elsewhere, and how police can better integrate gender initiatives in their work more broadly.
The Latest @ USIP: Peace Games and Crisis Preparedness
When a crisis or disaster strikes, organizations and institutions usually don’t have time to suddenly revise or change their policy. Games or simulations allow actors to plan ahead and ensure that their response system is prepared for whatever might unfold. Sale Lilly, a designer of war games and crisis simulations, discusses applying his work to peacebuilding, why building off historical scenarios can add a layer a realism to the exercise, and why inviting the right people is just as important as the design itself.
The Latest @ USIP: International Cooperation in Disaster Responses
Without quick, coordinated action in the wake of disaster, the disruption to daily life can make communities more susceptible to violence and conflict. This often involves providing people with immediate needs such as food, water and shelter. But humanitarian relief often encompasses much more — from education to medical care and cultural programs. The Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s Joe Wang discusses how better cooperation can help humanitarian organizations prepare for the next disaster and why meeting a community’s medium- and long-term needs is crucial for their path back toward stability.
The Latest @ USIP: The Role of Religious Actors in Electoral Integrity
Religious actors have an immense capacity to enhance the quality and integrity of elections around the world. And religious leaders’ moral authority within communities can help bridge gaps between the state and its citizens, offering credibility to any electoral process. The University of Louisville’s David Buckley discusses the need to engage with religious actors in support of democracy and elections abroad — pointing to the Philippines as an example of how religious networks such as the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting can mobilize thousands of election observers and provide civic education to the public.