The practice of peace and conflict diplomacy — or the activities that states, international organizations and civil society employ to make peace and manage conflict — is increasingly challenged. The emergence of China and resurgence of Russia have shifted the rules of the game, creating risks of major power confrontation and competition over accepted international norms such as respect for human rights, state sovereignty and principled international engagement. Meanwhile, transnational threats such as the proliferation of violent extremism, cyberwarfare and climate-induced mass migration have introduced conflicts far different from those diplomats have encountered in the past.

These forces — together with growing waves of populism and Western isolationism after a series of failed foreign interventions — have eroded faith in the efficacy of diplomatic engagement and broken down the consensus on the merits of peace and conflict diplomacy. Can peace and conflict diplomacy survive in this discordant international environment?

A newly released edited volume, “Diplomacy and the Future of World Order,” offers answers to this question. Featuring essays from 19 scholars, the book explores the prospects for discord or collaboration around major security issues and considers how diverse strains of diplomacy may impact the foundation for global peacemaking and conflict management in an uncertain future.

On June 10, USIP hosted a conversation with several of the book’s leading authors and other experts on the project’s findings and its implications for the practice of peace and conflict diplomacy. Panelists debated how to adapt our diplomatic strategies to shape a more effective, agile and inclusive system of international cooperation, as well as considered how to make room for diverse voices — including regional organizations and civil society — while maintaining a sense of unity and common purpose.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #Diplomacy4Tomorrow.

Speakers

Lise Grande, welcoming remarks
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dr. Chester Crocker, introductory remarks
James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Georgetown University

Ambassador George Moose, moderator
Vice Chair, Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Barbara Bodine
Director, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy; Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University

Ambassador Jean-Marie Guéhenno
Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution

Dr. Fen Hampson
Chancellor’s Professor, Carleton University; President, World Refugee and Migration Council

Dr. See Seng Tan
Professor of International Relations, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Dr. Solomon Dersso
Founding Director, Amani Africa; Chairperson, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Pamela Aall, closing remarks
Senior Advisor, Conflict Prevention and Management, U.S. Institute of Peace

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Practicing Peace and Conflict Diplomacy in a Complex World

Practicing Peace and Conflict Diplomacy in a Complex World

Monday, June 14, 2021

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

A combination of a weakening liberal international order, sharpening U.S.-China rivalry, growing transnational threats, shrinking space for civil society and rising nationalism and populism has complicated the practice of peace and conflict diplomacy. A new volume of essays examines approaches to such diplomacy in this complex environment.

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How to calm violent crises? Nigeria has an idea.

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If U.S. and international policymakers hope to see Africa stabilize amid the world’s crises of violence, record human displacement and the COVID pandemic, Nigeria must be center stage. This demographic giant, home to one in five sub-Saharan Africans, now faces a perfect storm of violent conflicts that pose an existential challenge. Yet Nigeria also offers its own solutions for stabilization—including a low-cost innovation worthy of international support: peacebuilding agencies operated by governments in three of the country’s 36 states. This timely model offers localized approaches to the roots of violence and is relevant to nations worldwide.

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

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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? 

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