As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, troubling developments about how security forces are responding have been reported from places already mired in violence and conflict. In the Middle East and Latin America, police are using mandates to keep people at home to crack down on human rights. And in Africa, peace processes are at risk of breaking down as peacekeepers become restricted in their movements. Meanwhile, local activists and peacebuilders everywhere cannot easily come together to organize and push back on abuses. Urgently addressing the interaction between virus and conflict is crucial if we want to help communities emerge from COVID-19 with resilience and hope. 

On April 15, USIP hosted an event that looked at creative solutions on how to respond to the confluence of coronavirus and conflict. USIP President and CEO Nancy Lindborg shared lessons from her experience responding to Ebola in West Africa and discussed why COVID-19 is a unique challenge to conflict-affected regions. This was followed by a panel discussion with experts from around the world on how security sectors are responding to coronavirus, how local communities are making their voices heard, and what practical interventions we can take now to stem unnecessary suffering later. 


Nancy Lindborg, introductory remarks
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Frances Z. Brown
Fellow for Democracy, Conflict, and Governance, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Isioma Kemakolam
Justice and Security Dialogue Program Coordinator, Nigeria, U.S. Institute of Peace

Jeremy Konyndyk
Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development 

Amany Qaddour
Regional Director, Syria Relief & Development

Dr. Albrecht Schnabel
Head of the Asia-Pacific Unit, DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance

Sarah Holewinski, moderator
Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

In making major deals with Myanmar’s military rulers, China seems to be violating its official guidance for investment abroad: Avoid conflict zones. Although Myanmar is in a state of collapse and widening rebellion, China continues to advance plans for a complex economic corridor in the country with the military unveiling steps to move ahead with big joint-venture projects. The generals’ bid to appear in control of things is obvious. China, on the other hand, seems to have fallen into a trap. Cozying up to the junta puts its investments at immediate and long-term risk and erodes its standing in regional organizations. To protect its interests, Beijing should press the junta to curb its rampant violence against the population and to restore the elected government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Thursday, June 3, 2021

By: Patricia M. Kim

The Biden administration has adopted an overarching strategy of renewing relations with allies and partners to counter China where necessary, while also cooperating with Beijing when it is in the United States’ interest to so. As competition between Washington and Beijing heats up, however, avenues to resolve conflicts peacefully between the two major powers remain limited. A recent USIP report brought together U.S. and Chinese authors to offer recommendations on how the two powers can enhance strategic stability. But how do U.S. allies and partners factor in and what steps would they like Washington and Beijing to take to prevent conflict and manage crises? 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications