With a global upsurge in violent conflict, environmental degradation, great power competition, and technological change, the challenges facing the peacebuilding community have never been greater or more urgent. In response to these challenges, USIP was pleased to partner with the Alliance for Peacebuilding to host the largest annual gathering of peacebuilding practitioners in the United States: PeaceCon 2019. This critical and timely discussion of today’s complex conflict dynamics explored conflict prevention amid a rapidly evolving global landscape and offered ways the peacebuilding community can advance innovative efforts amid these disruptions.

Eminent members of the peacebuilding community, diplomats, scholars, business leaders, military strategists and other specialists gathered from hundreds of organizations across dozens of countries at PeaceCon 2019. Take part in the conversation on social media with #PeaceCon2019.

Video recordings of additional sessions are below.

Agenda

8:45am - 9:00am: Welcome

  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Dylan Matthews
    Chief Executive, Peace Direct and Board Chair, Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • Uzra Zeya
    President and CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding

9:00am - 9:30am: Morning Plenary Speaker Address

  • H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 
    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Former President of Liberia

9:30am - 10:30am: Navigating Disruption: A Conversation with Stephen J. Hadley and Avril D. Haines 

  • The Honorable Stephen J. Hadley
    Former National Security Advisor, Chair, U.S. Institute of Peace Board of Directors
  • Avril Haines
    Former White House Deputy National Security Advisor
  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, moderator
    President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

10:30am - 11:00am: Break

11:00am - 12:15pm: Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Reorienting International Aid to Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: Toward More Strategic and Preventive Approaches 

  • Caroline Bahnson
    Senior Operations Officer, World Bank Fragility, Conflict, and Violence Group 
  • Peter Quaranto
    Senior Advisor for Peace and Security, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, U.S. Department of State
  • Mark Segal
    Senior Advisor, Stabilisation Unit, United Kingdom Government
  • Katy Thompson
    Team Leader, Rule of Law, Security, and Human Rights, United Nations Development Program
  • Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, moderator
    CEO, The Carter Center

People Power and Peace Processes 

  • Aden Abdi
    Horn of Africa Program Director, Conciliation Resources
  • Nadine Bloch
    Training Director, Beautiful Trouble
  • Dr. Veronique Dudouet
    Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace; Program Director for Conflict Transformation Research, Berghof Foundation
  • Palwasha Kakar
    Senior Program Officer for Religion and Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Maria Stephan, moderator
    Program Director for Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace

The Role of Russia and China in Peace Processes

  • Heather Conley
    Senior VP for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Chris Robinson
    Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European & Eurasian Affairs, U.S. State Department
  • Jake Stokes
    Senior Policy Analyst, China, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Robert Faucher, moderator
    Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, U.S. State Department

12:15pm - 2:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm - 1:45pm: PeaceTech Speed Geeking: Rapid Fire Learning about Tech Tools for Peacebuilding (Seating limited)

  • Zeluis Teixeira, Director of Acceleration & Operational Excellence, PeaceTech Lab

2:00pm - 3:15pm: Concurrent Breakout Sessions

The U.S. Government’s Capabilities for Responding to Violent Conflict: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities

  • Richmond Blake
    Director for Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps
  • Adam Mausner
    Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Tess McEnery
    Senior Advisor for Conflict Prevention, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilizations Operations, U.S. State Department
  • Peter Quaranto
    Senior Advisor for Peace and Security, Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, U.S. Department of State
  • Julie Werbel
    Senior Policy Coordinator of Conflict and Violence Prevention, Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, USAID

Building Digital Peace

  • Kate O’Sullivan
    General Manager, Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft
  • Ambassador Jarmo Sareva
    Ambassador of Innovation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • Lisa Schirch
    Senior Research Fellow, Toda Peace Institute; Senior Fellow, Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • Brett Solomon
    Executive Director, Access Now
  • Alexandria Walden
    Global Policy Lead for Human Rights and Free Expression, Google
  • Sheldon Himelfarb, moderator
    President and CEO, PeaceTech Lab

Women, Peace, and Security at 20: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Sanam Anderlini
    Founder and Executive Director, ICAN
  • Gary Barker
    President and CEO, Promundo
  • Bonnie Jenkins
    Executive Director, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation
  • Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat
    President, Women In International Security
  • Alex Arriaga
    Founder and Managing Partner, Strategy for Humanity
  • Kathleen Kuehnast, moderator
    Director, Gender Policy and Strategy, U.S. Institute of Peace

3:15pm - 3:45pm: Break

3:45pm - 5:00pm: Keynote | American Diplomacy in a Disordered World

  • Ambassador William J. Burns
    President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Uzra Zeya, moderator
    President and CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding 

Latest Publications

Don’t Leave Fragile States Behind in the Fight Against Coronavirus

Don’t Leave Fragile States Behind in the Fight Against Coronavirus

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

By: Corinne Graff

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the virus has demonstrated it can infect anyone, anywhere. The disease has affected 179 countries and regions and has spread to all 50 U.S. states. Yet if the pandemic has spread far and wide, its impacts have not been the same everywhere. The disease may be taking radically different trajectories, even among wealthy countries. While it may be too early to tell how the disease’s spread will play out in specific countries, one thing is certain: the world’s fragile states—where the social contract between citizens and the state is severed or weak—are likely to be the hardest hit, and that could pose a significant risk to the global pandemic response.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

By: William Byrd

In Afghanistan, where corruption and ineffective government have hampered efforts to build a functioning state, the Ministry of Finance has been a standout performer. Competently run since as early as 2002, the ministry collects substantial revenue, manages aid inflows, pays public employees, funds key public services and has won the confidence of donors. Now, all that is threatened. The Afghan government is eviscerating the ministry—carving out key constituent parts, putting them directly under the presidential palace, and gravely weakening one of the country’s most effective institutions. It’s a move that’s bad for Afghanistan’s governance and financial viability. It will harm the country’s development and jeopardizes the sustainability of peace if an agreement is reached with the Taliban.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

The Coronavirus Requires Global Cooperation—Now

The Coronavirus Requires Global Cooperation—Now

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Tyler Beckelman

As the world’s privileged cope with the COVID pandemic through telework and sheltering at home, millions of people face grim struggles for survival, packed into informal settlements or camps for people already displaced in war-torn or fragile states. Governments have missed opportunities for a stronger international response, partly because of great-power rivalries. The economically powerful Group of 20 nations and international financial institutions have made a start at buoying the world’s economy—but other multilateral forums are mired in stasis. The U.N. Security Council should act to get ahead of the pandemic in fragile states and seize the moment to advance peace in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Fragility & Resilience

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and new behavioral practices—from social distancing to avoiding handshakes and hugs—become expected norms overnight, there are crucial policy lessons to be learned from struggles against previous outbreaks of disease in Africa. Despite widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, and relatively few health professionals, there is an encouraging, long record of African countries—often with significant international assistance and cooperation—eventually managing to overcome dire health challenges. For non-African countries already facing large numbers of COVID-19 infections, as well as for African countries where the epidemic is now at an early stage, policymakers would do well to recall these four lessons of past epidemics—of both what to do and, perhaps almost as importantly, what not to do to confront this global threat.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Coronavirus Puts Systems for International Cooperation to the Test

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Dr. William J. Long

The spread of infectious diseases can foster opportunities for international cooperation, even between rivals. During the Cold War, for example, American and Soviet scientists collaborated to develop and improve a polio vaccine. The unprecedented challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic put in stark relief the need for enhanced international cooperation. What role can the United States play in building such cooperation? In his 2011 book “Pandemics and Peace,” published in 2011 by USIP Press, Dr. William Long contended that infectious disease control presents an unparalleled opportunity for American leadership in global public health. Long looks back at the recommendations he made for U.S. global health policy and how they are relevant today and at how other outbreaks in recent years have led to increased cooperation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications