Religion influences both peace and conflict worldwide. Violent extremism is often framed in religious terms, and religious discrimination continues to increase as both a driver and symptom of conflict. But, religion drives peace and coexistence as well and religious actors are essential for advancing religious freedom. Efforts to engage religious actors in countering violent extremism (CVE) and interfaith peacebuilding must take this dichotomy into account.
South Sudan’s civil war is one of the most brutal and destructive conflicts of the 21st century. Could the war have been prevented? Could some of the atrocities and misery caused by the war have been avoided? On July 19 the U.S. Institute of Peace and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide hosted a discussion on what lessons should be learned from U.S. policy toward South Sudan in the years leading up to and during the civil war.
Senator Merkley, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, spoke on Wednesday, July 11 from 9:00-10:00 a.m. about Congress’ priorities on humanitarian- and conflict-related issues in Africa.
From Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s influence in the Iraqi elections to the involvement of religious actors in South Sudan’s peace process, the role of religion in conflict zones continues to dominate headlines. Please join field researchers and U.S. Institute of Peace experts on June 26, as they present an approach for mapping the role of religious actors and institutions to better understand their legitimacy and influence in contributing to peace and conflict, exploring findings from three recent mappings from Libya, South Sudan, and Iraq based on work from the field.
Power-sharing arrangements are often touted as a means to address conflict between two parties. But practitioners and policymakers alike agree that the foundation for such arrangements requires considerable strategy and planning, including articulating clear objectives and expectations. Under what conditions do power-sharing arrangements work? What are the key ingredients to help unity governments succeed? Do power-sharing arrangements build political trust by delivering to citizens?
On May 12, Iraqis went to the polls to elect a new national parliament. In a surprise turn, a coalition led by controversial cleric Moqtada al-Sadr—a staunch opponent of both U.S. and Iranian influence in Iraq—won the most seats, as incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s coalition came in third. While the election campaign saw Iraqis turn toward a focus on issues and away from sectarianism, low turnout figures demonstrate that many are disenchanted with the political system.
A forthcoming report by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the EastWest Institute highlights the need for immediate, decisive action by the U.S. and the European Union to head off instability and possible violent strife. Please join the U.S. Institute of Peace to hear from the authors of the report—all veterans of U.S. diplomacy in the Balkans and Europe—as they present a strategy for the United States and Europe, working in a revitalized partnership, to forestall a downward spiral in the Western Balkans, which could potentially lead to fractured states and widespread instability on Europe’s borders.
The psychosocial impact of the Syrian conflict is less often acknowledged, but could have a lasting impact on the ability of Syrian civilians to recover and build a more peaceful future and possibly lead to a lost generation of Syrian children. Please join USIP and specialists from the Syrian American Medical Society, the U.S State Department and Save the Children for a panel discussion, addressing an aspect of the Syrian conflict that often receives less attention than it deserves.
As a part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ ongoing project on Civil Wars, Violence and International Responses, the second volume of a special issue of the journal Dædalus was released in January 2018 to explore trends in civil wars and solutions moving forward. Join us as experts discuss their findings and recommendations on how the United States can better respond to intrastate conflict and promote both development and stability to create lasting peace.
Women are struggling every day for peace and security in their communities, whether as parliamentarians seeking to preserve the constitutional rights of marginalized groups or as filmmakers prompting change through challenging community discourse. To amplify these voices, the U.S. Institute of Peace, with the U.S. Department of State, hosted an event featuring three of the 2018 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage awardees.