Following President Ashraf Ghani’s late February peace offer to the Taliban, a series of major international conferences that consolidated support for a peace deal, and a wave of pro-peace demonstrations across Afghanistan crucial questions remain: What it will take to get the Taliban to join peace talks in earnest? What will a prospective peace agreement look like? How does the peace process affect the Afghan and international military campaign?
In the past two years, the world has witnessed multiple crises in regions where nuclear weapons are present: the Korean peninsula saw heightened tensions throughout 2017; China and India were involved in a major border crisis; violence between India and Pakistan on the Line of Control in Kashmir has been the highest in 15 years and the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East now face a highly uncertain future vis-à-vis Iran.
This year marks the centennial of Georgia’s independence and the establishment of the First Republic in 1918 and the 10th year since the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. Please join the U.S. Institute of Peace, Embassy of Georgia and the Heritage Foundation for the Second Annual U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Conference as renowned experts explore the current state of regional affairs, focusing on the geopolitical interests of the United States and Georgia.
Two Members of Congress and military veterans, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Representative Steve Russell (R-OK), will examine the importance of ongoing diplomatic efforts, possible outcomes of negotiations, and the role they hope Congress plays in the coming months at USIP’s third Bipartisan Congressional Dialogue on May 22.
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 search for peace has become a central focus of Afghanistan policy in Washington and for Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban constitutional reform and status as a legitimate political party in late February on the condition that the group makes peace. In recent months, the Taliban have also publicly offered talks with the U.S. and prominent Afghan powerbrokers, and high-profile peace demonstrations in conflict-torn Helmand province have spread across much of the country.
Since 2001, the United States and international donors have supported Afghanistan in its attempt to build a thriving private-sector economy. Despite 17 years of effort, progress has been mixed and much remains to be done. Please join USIP and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) for a presentation and panel discussion on how the United States can improve its private-sector development and economic growth efforts in Afghanistan and in other states emerging from conflict.
With international attention focused on a potential U.S.-North Korea summit meeting in May, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise trip to Beijing in late March to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This conference will explore the dynamics and tensions of the historical relationship between China and North Korea, the potential impact of Korean reunification on China, and China’s role in a limited military conflict and its aftermath.
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.