Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Despite massive democratic progress over the last 40 years, Latin America is currently experiencing a governance crisis, with extreme polarization and diminished public trust in institutions. Michelle Muschett, the regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.N. Development Programme, discusses how peacebuilding and development practices can help restructure governance institutions to meet people’s needs — with a special emphasis on increasing youth’s participation in political and civic life.
Myanmar’s February 2021 military coup wiped out almost all the economic progress that had been made under civilian rule. Today, the country’s economy remains completely devastated, with the national currency having lost 30 percent of its value amid widespread junta violence and instability. Macquarie University’s Sean Turnell — who served as an economic advisor to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi before being imprisoned by the junta for nearly two years — says there’s only one way to solve Myanmar’s economic crisis: military rule must end. And the international community should do all it can to ensure a return to democratic, civilian governance.
Palmira, Colombia, is often listed among the most violent cities in the world. After realizing that the violence couldn’t be addressed solely through policing, the local government developed PAZOS -- Peace and Opportunities -- a social program that provides alternative environments for young people, particularly young men, who might otherwise get swept up in cycles of violence. Palmira Mayor Óscar Escobar explains how PAZOS offers opportunities for vulnerable youth to build peace in their communities; why partnerships with the police, private sector, NGOs and community organizations have been crucial to its success; and why he believes the program can be replicated around the world.
While China has not sought to overturn traditional norms in international peacebuilding, Chinese peacebuilding practices do prioritize different issues — with very little emphasis given to human rights and more emphasis on basic human needs. Keith Krause, director of the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, discusses China’s growing footprint in post-conflict settings around the world, why China chooses to pursue peace through economic development rather than democracy promotion, and what the rise of actors such as China means for international peacebuilding more broadly.
When it comes to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, men’s participation might seem like an afterthought. But men’s actions during conflict and throughout peace processes directly affect women — and actively engaging men on this issue can open benefits for men, women and their communities. Gary Barker, CEO and co-founder of Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice, discusses his work trying to break cycles of men’s use of violence against women.
There are a number of avenues for communication between China and the United States, but few are formal, established connections between the two governments. This leaves policymakers dependent on less direct mechanisms that make it difficult for each side to get a clear sense of what the other is looking to achieve — a predicament that is especially dangerous for crisis communications. Chad Sbragia, a research staff member at Institute for Defense Analyses, discusses how U.S.-China crisis communications can be improved and why effective diplomacy with China may resemble bargaining more than cooperation.
When Afghan women step out of their homes, everywhere they look they see a range of Taliban restrictions affecting all aspects of society and their lives — from education and employment to public services and access to justice. This interactive graphic depicts what they see through their burqas — the breadth of the Taliban’s gender apartheid — and serves as a portal to learning more about Taliban restrictions on women’s social and political life. Along with a description of the types of restrictions the Taliban have imposed, clicking on an “X” links to USIP’s documentation of the relevant decrees, orders and edicts issued by the Taliban since they took power in August 2021.
One of the keys to the Northern Ireland peace process was patience — and with it, a long-term commitment from religious actors to pursue nonviolent avenues of ending the conflict. Reverend Gary Mason, a senior research fellow at Maynooth University, discusses how longstanding relationships between religious actors and their communities can open doors for dialogue that might be unavailable to other peacebuilders and how his experience in Northern Ireland can inform his new work to promote peace in the Middle East.
From Sri Lanka to Uganda, women in civil society have been the driving force behind some of the most effective mediation efforts in conflict areas. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, MBE, founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network, discusses the three components that make up a successful partnership between women and civil society: recognition of women peacebuilders' expertise, solutions and analysis; protection for women that risk their lives; and effective resourcing and funding so that they can build trust within their communities.
USIP’s African Diplomat Seminar offers newly arrived diplomats a chance to connect with the U.S. policymakers, agencies and departments working on advancing U.S.-Africa policy. Stanley Makgohlo, political counselor at the South African Embassy, and Oluwafemi Gbadebo, minister in the Nigerian Embassy, discuss how the seminar has helped their work at the nexus of peace and development and how the growing U.S.-Africa partnership can help address the challenges facing their country.