Senator Chris Coons and his colleague Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, witnessed first-hand one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in the world today—the effects of South Sudan’s civil war, when they visited in the world’s largest refugee settlement in northern Uganda in April 2017. Senator Coons traveled on to South Sudan where he met with officials of the U.N. mission and the South Sudanese government and members of the country’s political opposition. On Thursday, May 11, at the U.S. Institute of Peace,  Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, shared insights from his trip and discussed the U.S. response to the crisis.

Despite a peace agreement in August 2015, South Sudan’s civil war re-ignited in July 2016. Since then, violence has spread throughout the country, forcing almost 4 million people—about a third of the population—from their homes. The United Nations has documented ethnic cleansing and warns about the possibility of genocide. At a time when the world faces possibly the worst crisis of refugees and hunger since World War II, with an estimated 65 million people uprooted worldwide and 100 million at risk of famine, the international community must make difficult choices of where and how to respond.


Christopher A. Coons
U.S. Senator from Delaware (@ChrisCoons)

Ambassador Princeton LymanModerator
Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Strong Words Alone will not Deliver Peace to South Sudan

Strong Words Alone will not Deliver Peace to South Sudan

Thursday, June 7, 2018

By: Aly Verjee

At the end of May, after only four days, South Sudan’s long-delayed peace talks once again adjourned without reaching a viable agreement. The failure to reach a deal comes only weeks after the White House declared that the Government of South Sudan had “lost credibility,” expressed deep frustration at the “lack of progress toward an agreement,” and warned that “more than seven million people will face life-threatening hunger in the coming months,” as a result of the crisis.

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers (French)

Conflict Management Training for Peacekeepers (French)

Friday, February 23, 2018

By: Alison Milofsky; Joseph Sany; Illana M. Lancaster; Jeff Krentel

Ce rapport examine le rôle de la Formation à la gestion des conflits dans la préparation des soldats de la paix aux missions des Nations Unies/de l’Union africaine, à travers une évaluation du programme de Formation à la gestion des conflits pour les soldats de la paix proposée par l’USIP. L’évaluation s’appuie sur des données collectées au travers de 137 entretiens semi-structurés avec des soldats de la paix formés par l’USIP et rentrés au pays, des membres de la communauté dans les zones où des soldats de la paix ont été déployés en mission, et des formateurs de pré-déploiement. Le rapport étudie les résultats de l’évaluation et propose des recommandations non seulement pour la formation de l’USIP à l’intention des soldats de la paix mais aussi pour élargir la portée des politiques et des pratiques en matière de maintien de la paix.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Education & Training

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility & Resilience; Global Policy

View All Publications