The Islamic State’s resurgence in parts of Iraq and Syria and the sharp increase in terrorism in the Sahel serve as stark reminders that the underlying conditions that foment extremist violence remain firmly in place. In its final report to Congress, the USIP-convened Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States concluded that the United States can no longer rely solely on counter-terrorism to stave off the threat of violent extremism. Rather, to get ahead of the challenge, the U.S. must focus on eradicating terrorism’s root causes by encouraging good governance and political reforms in fragile states.

As more research reveals the linkages between poor governance, instability, and violence, the international policy community must develop a shared understanding of how support for responsive and responsible governance in fragile states can prevent violent extremism.

On January 7, USIP, the National Democratic Institute, and the George W. Bush Institute co-hosted a timely discussion on the way forward following the adoption of the Global Fragility Act and donor support for political transitions out of fragility. This event brought together thought leaders and practitioners—including USAID Administrator Mark Green and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—from across the peacebuilding, development, security, and democracy and governance communities. Together, they explored the unique factors that democracy and governance strategies face in fragile states, as well as how various disciplines can collaborate on donor strategies that build state accountability and effectiveness alongside citizen engagement and inclusion.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #PoliticsofFragility.

Speakers

9:00am - 9:30am: Refreshments

9:30am - 9:35am: Remarks

  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ambassador Derek Mitchell
    President, National Democratic Institute 
  • Mr. Lindsay Lloyd
    Bradford M. Freeman Director of the Human Freedom Initiative, George W. Bush Institute

Keynote Address

  • The Honorable Mark Green
    Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

10:00am - 11:30am: Voices from the NextGen at the Intersection of Democracy and Peace

  • Ms. Aluel Atem
    Founder and Board Member, Crown the Woman-South Sudan
  • Mr. Jacob Bul Bior
    Founding Member and Media Coordinator, #Anataban Campaign
  • Ms. Munira Hamisi
    Director of Countering Violent Extremism, Mombasa County Government, Kenya
  • Mr. Samson Itodo
    Executive Director, YIAGA Africa; Convener, Not Too Young to Run Movement
  • Dr. Emna Jeblaoui
    President, International Institute of Human Development  
  • Mr. Raj Kumar, moderator
    President, Devex

11:30am - 12:00pm - Lunch Break

12:00pm - 1:00pm - Luncheon Conversation: Understanding the Strategic Context for Strengthening Governance in Fragile States

  • Secretary Madeleine Albright
    Chairman, National Democratic Institute; former U.S. Secretary of State
  • The Honorable Stephen J. Hadley
    Chair of the Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace; former U.S. National Security Advisor
  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ambassador Derek Mitchell
    President, National Democratic Institute
  • Mr. Nick Schifrin, moderator
    Foreign Affairs and Defense Correspondent, PBS NewsHour

Related Publications

Myanmar Elections 2020: Ethnic Tensions and a Military Hand

Myanmar Elections 2020: Ethnic Tensions and a Military Hand

Saturday, November 7, 2020

By: Jason Tower

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to win Myanmar’s general elections on November 8, but the 2020 race is much more hotly contested than 2015. The growing political frustration of the country’s non-Burma ethnic nationalities is fueling insurgencies and the military-affiliated Union Solidarity and Development Party, and its armed forces patrons, are criticizing the government and attacking the country’s feeble electoral institutions. The way Myanmar’s ethnic nationalities experience the process will have major implications for peacemaking efforts moving forward.   

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Electoral Violence

Election Cancellations in Rakhine State Could Signal Trouble for Myanmar

Election Cancellations in Rakhine State Could Signal Trouble for Myanmar

Thursday, November 5, 2020

By: Priscilla A. Clapp; Jason Tower

On October 16, when it took the stunning and sweeping decision to cancel most of the vote in Rakhine State on November 8, the Union Election Commission (UEC) disenfranchised an estimated 73% of Rakhine voters, in addition to the Rohingya who had been stripped of voting rights in 2015. The UEC justified its decision on the grounds that the election could be neither free nor fair because of ongoing armed conflict in the state. When critics asked why the elections had not been cancelled in war-stricken Paletwa, where security concerns are most acute, the UEC called off elections in parts of that Chin State town and restored them in a few village tracts in Rakhine.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Could Algeria’s Referendum Lead to Democratic Progress or Uphold Status Quo?

Could Algeria’s Referendum Lead to Democratic Progress or Uphold Status Quo?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

By: Thomas M. Hill

Algerians took to the streets in February 2019 to protest the re-election bid of longtime authoritarian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Those protests—which came to be known as the Hirak movement and resulted in Bouteflika’s resignation in April of that year—evolved quickly to calls for a fundamental overhaul of the country’s political system. Few real changes have been made since. This Sunday, Algeria will hold a referendum on constitutional amendments to ostensibly bolster the country’s democracy. But, the Hirak says the constitutional changes do not go far enough. USIP’S Tom Hill looks at why the constitutional amendments have stirred tension with the opposition, the movement’s struggles to coalesce behind specific demands, and the role of Algeria’s military and floundering economy in the transition.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

After a Year of Turmoil, Bolivia’s Election Offers Chance to Reduce Divides

After a Year of Turmoil, Bolivia’s Election Offers Chance to Reduce Divides

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Steve Hege

Bolivians took part on Sunday in one of the country’s most decisive and historic general elections, in which the former governing party Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) and its candidate Luis Arce garnered a resounding victory. The vote culminated nearly 12 months of instability since elections in October 2019 led to allegations of fraud, followed by massive street protests and the departure of former President Evo Morales after nearly 14 years in power. Bolivia has not experienced a peaceful transition of power since 2002, but a window of opportunity has opened for the ethnically diverse Andean nation to emerge from the paralyzing polarization that has plagued it over the past years.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

View All Publications