The end of World War I ushered in a new international system based on nation-states, institutions, and norms meant to prevent future conflict. Some of the architects of this order envisioned a world made safe and prosperous by the collective action of all states, with national self-determination as a basis for state legitimacy. The peace outlined in the Treaty of Versailles set precedents for a new international order that resonate to the present day—but may now be changing.

On the centennial anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, USIP examined what the international community has learned from 100 years of peacebuilding in pursuit of a stable international order. Experts from government and academia reflected on how the pillars of the international system that emerged from Versailles evolved throughout the 20th century; with special emphasis on the United States’ leadership in building an international, rules-based order centered around multilateral institutions and alliances seeking to provide security, wealth creation, and social advancement. The conversation then explored ways in which the international system and long-held norms are changing, and how the international system stands to evolve in the years and decades ahead. Take part in the discussion on Twitter with #Versailles100.

This event is co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, The Woodrow Wilson Center History and Public Policy Program, The National World War I Museum and Memorial, National History Day, and The Doughboy Foundation.

Agenda

8:30am - 9:00am: Registration and Coffee 

9:00am - 9:15am: Welcome Remarks

  • Michael Yaffe
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace 

9:15am - 10:30am: Panel 1: The Treaty of Versailles Reassessed: Shaping the International Order in the Immediate Aftermath of WWI

  • Mustafa Aksalal
    Associate Professor of History and Nesuhi Ertegun Chair of Modern Turkish Studies, Georgetown University 
  • Robert Kagan
    Stephen & Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution 
  • Eric Lohr
    Professor and Susan E. Carmel Chair of Russian History and Culture History, American University
  • Matt Naylor, moderator
    President & CEO, The National World War I Museum and Memorial 

10:30am - 10:45am: Coffee Break

10:45am - 12:00pm: Panel 2: The Post-WWII International Order: The Peacebuilding Inheritance from World War One and the Treaty of Versailles

  • Ellen Laipson
    Professor, International Security Program Manager; Director for the Center of Security Policy Studies, George Mason University 
  • Robert Litwak
    Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars 
  • Aviel Roshwald
    Professor, Georgetown University 
  • Wess Mitchell, moderator
    Senior Advisor, United States Institute of Peace 

12:00pm - 1:15pm: Lunch

12:30pm: Lunch Keynote Address: “Versailles Legacies: Council on Foreign Relations and the International System”

  • Richard Haass
    President, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Michael Yaffe, moderator
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace 

1:15pm - 1:30pm: Coffee Break

1:30pm - 2:30pm: Panel 3: The Future of Peacebuilding and International Order in the 21st Century

  • Michael E. Brown
    Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, George Washington University 
  • Maria Langan-Riekhof
    National Intelligence Council 
  • Robin Wright
    Distinguished Scholar, United States Institute of Peace

2:30pm - 2:50pm: Closing Remarks

  • Matthew Naylor
    President & CEO, The National World War I Museum and Memorial
  • Michael Yaffe
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace, United States Institute of Peace

Related Publications

The Latest @ USIP: Women’s Role in the South Sudan Peace Process

The Latest @ USIP: Women’s Role in the South Sudan Peace Process

Monday, January 9, 2023

By: Rita Lopidia

When South Sudan achieved independence in 2011, many South Sudanese women hoped it would lead to improvements on gender and security issues. In the years since, recurring civil conflict has unfortunately delayed these aspirations — but as with the independence movement, women have been at the forefront of the country’s resurgent peace process. Rita Lopidia, executive director of the Eve Organization for Women Development and the 2020 recipient of USIP’s Women Building Peace Award, discusses how South Sudan’s national action plan on women, peace and security helped guide women’s involvement in the revitalized peace agreement as well as how her organization is working with both men and women on gender and peacebuilding issues.

Type: Blog

GenderPeace Processes

What Does Israel’s New Government Mean for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

What Does Israel’s New Government Mean for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Thursday, January 5, 2023

By: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen

As 2022 came to a close, Benjamin Netanyahu once again took the helm of Israel’s government just 18 months after losing power in the wake of a series of stalemated elections. Already Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu’s approach to foreign policy, and to the conflict with and occupation of the Palestinians, is to some extent a known quantity. However, with his comeback and governing coalition dependent on the support and partnership of once-fringe extremist parties and politicians, 2023 holds the potential for conflict-driving disruption. USIP’s Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen discusses the possible implications of Israel’s new government for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for Israel’s regional and foreign relations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Colombia’s Renewed Peace Talks with ELN Rebels Provide Historic Opportunity

Colombia’s Renewed Peace Talks with ELN Rebels Provide Historic Opportunity

Thursday, December 15, 2022

By: Steve Hege

As part of its ambitious “Total Peace” agenda, the new Colombian government recently restarted peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), marking the first new negotiations since January 2019. And while this cycle of talks adopted the same agenda and process framework as the previous efforts, current President Gustavo Petro appointed a diverse and broad negotiations team in the hopes of generating early momentum and support. Petro intends to advance on partial accords as quickly as possible — building up to a comprehensive agreement before his brief four-year term in office is complete.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & DialoguePeace Processes

Water Can Be a Rare Win-Win for Israelis, Palestinians and the Region

Water Can Be a Rare Win-Win for Israelis, Palestinians and the Region

Thursday, December 15, 2022

By: Adam Gallagher

From Israel’s turbulent electoral politics and Palestinian political dysfunction to the cycle of intercommunal violence in the West Bank and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, it’s rare for much good news to come out of the Israeli-Palestinian context these days. But this June, a hopeful story emerged from the impoverished Gaza Strip when its Mediterranean beaches were deemed safe for swimming for the first time in decades.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EnvironmentPeace Processes

View All Publications