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.


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 

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