Democracy embodies responsive and responsible governance, rule of law, human rights, civic participation and peaceful transfers of power through electoral processes. Each of these underpins a peaceful and stable society. The U.S. Institute of Peace teaches democratic principles and democratization processes and techniques that are critical to both peacebuilding and effective governance. USIP seeks to strengthen governance by supporting inclusive, accountable institutions and a robust civil society. These in turn uphold human rights, justice and the rule of law, and promote public participation in social and political processes.
Focusing on northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, this Special Report outlines the rise of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and the security and governance challenges in the wake of its possible decline.
Eighty-five-year-old Paul Biya, president of Cameroon since 1982, was sworn in for his seventh term in office on November 6, after complaints arising from multiple allegations of electoral irregularities in polls held a month earlier were dismissed by Cameroon’s constitutional court. An intercommunal crisis in Cameroon has seen violence increase substantially since 2017, and the conduct of these elections—which saw a partial boycott—has added to grievances. In this analysis of the official election results, USIP’s Aly Verjee and Jude Mutah examine the data, and discuss the prospects for Cameroon after the election.
Live from Baghdad as Iraqis celebrate the one-year anniversary of the fall of ISIS, Elie Abouaoun says that there is a sense of relief in the country over the terrorist group’s defeat and that elections happened this year. To maintain this positive momentum, adds Abouaoun, Iraq’s infrastructure must be rebuilt, and measures should be taken to reinforce social cohesion at the local level.
Diplomats and peace practitioners often cite lack of familiarity with the religious landscape as a barrier to their engagement of religious actors. In 2013, USIP launched an initiative to address this need by developing a methodology for systematically mapping and assessing the religious sector’s influence on conflict and peace dynamics in discrete conflict settings. These mappings, which have been done or are underway in Libya, South Sudan, Iraq and Burma, help illuminate recommendations for effective partnerships within the religious sector for peacebuilding.
Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders have an opportunity to break out of the cycles of violence that have caused civil wars, insurgencies, and widespread human rights abuses and domestic violence over the past decades. To do this, government officials and community leaders need to have practical skills to identify sources of conflict and know how to de-escalate tensions and negotiate peaceful solutions.