In 2020, the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis prompted a national call for racial justice and confronting systemic inequality in U.S. institutions and policies. In response, the Biden-Harris administration has issued a directive requiring federal agencies to identify barriers to racial equity and to put in place plans to address them. This new policy could have far-reaching implications for U.S. conflict resolution and development programs, which will need to become more participatory and inclusive—particularly in fragile states, where aid delivery tends to be top down.

The Global Fragility Act and U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security offer tools for realizing these goals and build upon decades of lessons learned from research and programming in the field. But important questions remain if a new approach consistent with principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is to be operationalized. What should the role of local stakeholders and beneficiaries be in establishing DEI principles and evaluating program impact? And what are the hurdles to bringing these more inclusive approaches to scale?  

On March 18, USIP and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University hosted a timely discussion on how applying the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion can contribute to more effective U.S. peace and development programs around the world. Panelists considered efforts to meaningfully engage marginalized or underrepresented groups such as women, youth, and social movement actors to support locally driven peacebuilding.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #DEI4Peace.

Speakers

Corinne Graff, introductory remarks 
Senior Advisor, Conflict Prevention and Fragility, U.S. Institute of Peace

Susanna Campbell
Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University

Rosa Emilia Salamanca 
Executive Director, Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) in Colombia

Jennifer Hawkins
Senior Women, Peace, and Security Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development

Joseph Sany
Vice President, Africa Center, U.S. Institute of Peace

Pamina Firchow, moderator
Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, Brandeis University 

Related Publications

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Thomas P. Sheehy

Policymakers are urgently seeking ways to reverse the erosion of democracy in fragile states exemplified by the past year’s surge in military coups in and around Africa’s Sahel region. To halt this decline, it’s vital to listen to African voices urging that international partners make the most of a powerful pro-democracy tool: increased foreign investment built upon the rule of law.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceFragility & ResilienceGlobal Policy

Implementing the Global Fragility Act: What Comes Next?

Implementing the Global Fragility Act: What Comes Next?

Thursday, April 7, 2022

By: Susanna Campbell;  Corinne Graff, Ph.D.

Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the Biden-Harris administration has quietly released a new policy that commits the United States to do more to “interrupt potential pathways to conflict” and reduce threats before they arrive on our shores. This new initiative comes at a difficult time for the United States and the world, given the full-blown crises that require the international community’s urgent attention, from COVID-19 to the climate crisis. Still, it represents an unprecedented and promising commitment at the highest levels of our government to apply the important lessons learned from decades of U.S. involvement in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionFragility & Resilience

A New U.S. Plan to Avert Wider Conflicts in West Africa

A New U.S. Plan to Avert Wider Conflicts in West Africa

Thursday, April 7, 2022

By: Ambassador Terence P. McCulley;  Oge Onubogu

The United States is setting a new priority on building peace in five West African nations threatened by domestic crises and by violence that is spreading from the neighboring Sahel region. The White House named those countries among others in which to launch a new U.S. strategy to prevent violent conflicts in unstable regions. This choice signaled that stability in coastal West Africa is a vital U.S. interest — and that these five countries, while in varied stages of building democracies, can strengthen democracy and stability with more focused, long-term U.S. support. A broad consultation of scholarly and policy experts on coastal West Africa is buttressing that idea.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

The New U.S. Plan to Stabilize Conflicts: The Case of Libya

The New U.S. Plan to Stabilize Conflicts: The Case of Libya

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun;  Thomas M. Hill

Almost 11 years after ousting the dictatorship of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains a largely ungoverned land divided among warlord-led factions that fight with support from rival foreign countries. Libya’s instability resonates widely, permitting the trafficking of weapons to the Sahel and migrants to Europe. Repeated peace efforts have failed to help Libyans form a unified national government, yet Libyans continue to show the capacity to overcome communal divisions and build peace at local levels. That demonstrated capacity offers an opportunity that can be expanded by the U.S. government’s decision, under its Global Fragility Strategy, to direct a new peacebuilding effort toward Libya.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

View All Publications