Ten years ago, the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Documentary for its powerful depiction of the nonviolent women’s movement that helped bring an end to Liberia’s bloody civil war. Since its release, producers and directors have taken up the challenge to tell the stories of the often-invisible lives of women in conflict – producing stories in countries like Bosnia, Libya, Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan and Rwanda. These films have brought forward women’s critical voices to the stories of war and peace, and amplified the global agenda of Women, Peace and Security.
To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a series of expert panels on Facebook focused on this combination of peacebuilding and nonviolent action.
On October 23, leaders from citizens’ campaigns in Guatemala, Ukraine and Burkina Faso explored how international actors can find synergy—and better curtail corruption—with grassroots movements.
New research highlights how communities use cohesion and social structures to non-violently influence armed groups—a capacity that governments and institutions often fail to recognize. On October 2, USIP convened a discussion on such community self-protection, and how policymaking might better support it in conflict zones such as in Syria or Afghanistan.
After decades in which the fields of nonviolent action and conflict resolution have evolved separately, new reports underscore that they need to collaborate to prevent social conflicts from turning violent and to build more inclusive societies. On July 26, USIP and its partners reviewed this research and discussed how these distinct paths for seeking sustainable peace can be better combined.
The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted former President Motlanthe on May 9 to discuss his views on democracy in South Africa and the national elections in 2019.
The U.S. Institute of Peace and the Atlantic Council on Thursday, March 23 held a screening of “Women of Maidan,” a documentary that tells the stories of key players who became crucial to the movement. The film was accompanied by discussions with the film’s producer and director, Olha Onyshko, and four former U.S. ambassadors.
An October 24 symposium in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution used recent experience, notably in Afghanistan, to examine the often unrecognized power of cultural heritage. The discussion explored new ways that it might serve worldwide to prevent, or recover from, violent conflict.
On October 6, USIP released a Special Report on women’s roles in non-violent struggles. With the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the non-profit organization Just Vision, USIP gathered path-breaking activists, scholars and filmmakers to examine how women’s participation—and the success of non-violent campaigns—can be strengthened.
Marc Sommers, an internationally recognized expert on youth with research experience in more than 20 war-affected countries, examined the forces that shape and propel the lives of African youth today, particularly those experiencing or emerging from violent conflict, for his recent book The Outcast Majority: War, Development, and Youth in Africa. On Wednesday, September 7 the U.S. Institute of Peace held a discussion with Sommers by webcast as part of USIP's 60 days of focus on youth, peace and equality.