On June 9th, Mercy Corps and USIP held a discussion on youth, violence and peacebuilding.


Youth are a force for positive change, helping transition their countries into productive and secure nations. Yet they are also the primary participants in conflict today and increasingly concentrated in transitional and complex environments.

Where many conflict prevention policies and conflict management efforts fall short is in their tendency to engage youth already less likely to participate in violence – those in school and/or already engaged with their communities – or by failing to design adequately integrated programs that address both the drivers of violent conflict and pathways to peace.

To explore these gaps, this event featured a discussion by experts on the factors that are pushing young people towards participation in violence. It also examined the factors and initiatives that help young people avoid harmful behaviors, including participation in extremism or political violence. The session challenged pre-existing assumptions about youth peacebuilding work, highlighted new interventions that steer young people away from violence, and discussed policy changes necessary to support such interventions.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #USIPYouth.


Anne Richard, Welcoming Remarks
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Department of State

Maryanne Yerkes
Senior Civil Society and Youth Advisor, Center on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, US Agency for International Development

Rebecca Wolfe, PhD
Director, Conflict Management & Peacebuilding Program, Mercy Corps

Marc Sommers
Consultant & Visiting Researcher, African Studies Center, Boston University

Steven Heydemann, Moderator
Vice President, Applied Research on Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Our Next ‘Unthinkable’ Crisis: Nuclear War in Asia?

Our Next ‘Unthinkable’ Crisis: Nuclear War in Asia?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

By: James Rupert

Our world’s spate of disasters so recently unimaginable — European cities pulverized by war, Earth’s decaying climate or 6 million dead from pandemic disease — evokes a national security question: What other “unthinkable” crises must American citizens and policymakers anticipate? A singular threat is warfare around our planet’s one spot where three nuclear-armed states stubbornly contest long-unresolved border conflicts. Largely unnoted in national security news coverage, the conflicts embroiling China, India and Pakistan are growing more complex and dangerous. A USIP study shows the urgency for U.S. policymakers of working to reduce the risks.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyConflict Analysis & Prevention

China, India and Pakistan: Tenuous Stability Risks Nuclear War

China, India and Pakistan: Tenuous Stability Risks Nuclear War

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Vikram J. Singh

Over the past decade, long-standing disputes between the nuclear-armed states of Southern Asia have repeatedly veered into deeper hostility and violence. These regional developments reflect and reinforce new and significant geopolitical shifts, starting with the global strategic competition between China and the United States. In Southern Asia, relations between the United States and Pakistan have frayed even as U.S.-India and China-Pakistan ties have strengthened. The region now faces deepening and more multifaceted polarization. Global competition adds fuel to regional conflict and reduces options for crisis mediation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGlobal Policy

Over a Year Later, Myanmar’s Military Coup Threatens India’s National Security

Over a Year Later, Myanmar’s Military Coup Threatens India’s National Security

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

By: Saket Ambarkhane;  Sanjay Valentine Gathia

The conflict in Myanmar triggered by the February 1, 2021, military coup that toppled the democratically elected government has not only become a disaster for Myanmar, but also for countries across the region. China’s response has received considerable international attention, as has the struggle within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to forge a resolution to the conflict. The impact on Myanmar’s western neighbors, however, has largely gone unexamined — with the exception of analysis of the consequences for Rohingya refugees, who are indefinitely stranded in Bangladesh with no chance of safely returning to Myanmar under this military regime.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionEconomics

View All Publications