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.
On Thursday, July 26, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined the U.S. Institute of Peace to give remarks on U.S. policy options in Iraq in the post-ISIS era. She discussed the protection of religious minority groups and offered her perspective on Iranian influence in the country and region.
Illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking has destabilized local communities and devastated elephant, rhino, and endangered species populations across Africa. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed key successes, challenges, and next steps for U.S. policymakers.
Despite holding the country’s first peaceful, democratic elections in 2015-2016, the Central African Republic continues to suffer from violent conflict. Tensions escalated back to crisis levels in the capital on April 8, with the situation remaining tenuous as armed actors, the CAR government, and international organizations weigh their options and consider the ramifications for the larger peace process.
Violent extremism has become one of the major challenges to stability in fragile states, characterized by weak, non-inclusive institutions, and lack of economic opportunity. Youth are often perceived as particularly vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups. The U.S. Institute of Peace has funded several impact evaluations of peacebuilding interventions over the last few years, including two rigorous evaluations of Mercy Corps’ youth programming in Afghanistan and Somalia aimed at reducing support for armed opposition groups.
Criminal and terrorist networks are exploiting today’s innovative technologies for their own gain, posing a direct threat to U.S. security and global stability. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been used to facilitate financing for terrorist groups, including ISIS, and rogue nation-states like North Korea. How can the United States and the international financial system better counter these nefarious uses of cryptocurrency to improve security and reduce global conflict? Join USIP on April 17 as the Institute’s second Bipartisan Congressional Dialogue examines this problem.
U.S. Administration and military leaders, senior Iraqi representatives, and regional experts explored one of the most complex and consequential conflicts of our time. This event included a keynote panel with Stephen J. Hadley, General Joseph L. Votel, Ambassador Mark Green and Brett McGurk. USIP and guest experts navigated the key themes and provided insight on the terrain ahead in Iraq and Syria.
USIP held an on-the-record presentation and discussion with Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar, which was webcast live on Thursday, March 22nd from 10:30am to 11:30am. NSA Atmar discussed the security challenges in Afghanistan and the path to peace and the recording is available for viewing.
We invite you to join the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum at the U.S. Institute of Peace on January 25, as a panel of leading experts will discuss options for advancing peace talks, reaching an inclusive political settlement, and transitioning Taliban and other insurgents off the battlefield and into nonviolent politics.
For a world in which more than 80 percent of people identify themselves as religious, the role of religious leaders, ideas, and institutions is critical to countering the many strains of violent extremism. On January 17 USIP held a discussion of the latest trends in policy and practice around the intersection of religion and its role in preventing and countering violent extremism.