In the past few weeks, the Islamic State (ISIS) “caliphate” has collapsed. Syria’s Assad regime all but formally won the six-year war, a consolidation of Iranian and Russian influence. Saudi Arabia purged parts of its royal family. Lebanon’s prime minister abruptly resigned. Iraq’s Kurds voted for independence, triggering a confrontation with Baghdad. Years of U.S. and international engagement has failed to politically and physically rebuild fractured countries, and the very viability of states like Iraq and Syria has been challenged. Where is the region headed, and what are the U.S. roles amid this tumult? At USIP, distinguished Middle East analysts explored where the region is headed, and the U.S. roles amid this tumult.
When Northern Ireland’s combatants finally made peace in the 1990s, they did so on a broad foundation of grassroots reconciliation and economic development work, built over more than a decade by the International Fund for Ireland. On March 13, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Embassy of Ireland gathered former government officials, peacebuilding practitioners and scholars to examine what worked in advancing peace in Northern Ireland—and what lessons might be applied to the difficult process of peacemaking and peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians. Former Senator George Mitchell, who served as an envoy in both peace processes, was the keynote speaker.
On March 7, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion with analysts and former diplomats about the viability of the two-state model, and the possibility of alternatives for a sustainable peace.
On December 5, to mark the Fifth Annual Arab-American Day, the League of Arab States and the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion with Arab women leaders, academics and policymakers, including the newly-elected Minnesota House Representative and Somali American, Ilhan Omar, on how education and economic opportunities can engage women and men in supporting women’s voices, equality and success.
The longstanding United Nations call for countries to adopt National Action Plans to involve women in issues of national security repeatedly stumbles in much of the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. Institute of Peace had a discussion on May 4 on how these roadblocks can be overcome, especially amid the current upheaval.
President Obama has raised the possibility of another push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before he leaves office. With stability on the ground already severely at stake, it is imperative that any renewed attempt take account of lessons learned from last year's round of failed talks. On March 23, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for a New American Security held a discussion with Ilan Goldenberg, the chief of staff to the U.S. special envoy during those talks and author of the new report Lessons from the 2013-2014 Israeli-Palestinian Final Status Negotiations.
On December 18, USIP hosted members of the Hand in Hand school community to discuss their experiences in the wake of the recent attack on their school in Jerusalem. Panelists discussed the Hand in Hand model of coexistence within the broader field of peacebuilding, as well as the waves of diverse support and interest they’ve seen in the wake of the attack.
The U.S. Institute of Peace and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace on April 8 opened an exhibit exploring the role of architects and architecture in conflict resolution and held a panel discussion on the issue.
The U.S. Institute of Peace, in collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Bernstein Family Foundation, convened a panel discussion with women leaders from Brazil, Cambodia, and Palestine on April 4 at USIP. These 2013 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award honorees offered unique perspectives on working with government and civil society, and on the importance of an enabling environment that supports their work.
As President Barack Obama embarks on his second term and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu builds his coalition government, many warn that time is running out for the two-state solution. On the occasion of its publication, the authors of “The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace” discussed their own views on whether and why that door is closing, and what the next Obama administration can do to keep it open. Read the event coverage, America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli P...