Susan Stigant is the director of Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she oversees programming in South Sudan, Nigeria, Sudan, CAR, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya and with the African Union. Susan’s thematic focus is on the design and implementation of inclusive constitutional reform and national dialogue processes. She has and continues to advise government officials and civil society actors on inclusive processes in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Susan also serves as co-chair of USIP's national dialogue working group. Prior to joining USIP, she managed constitutional development, citizen engagement and election observation programs with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). From 2005-2011, she served as program director with NDI in South Sudan, where she supported the implementation of the peace agreement.  She also worked with the Forum of Federations on comparative federalism and with the research unit of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in South Africa.

Publications By Susan

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 and Resilience; Global Policy

Peaceful Elections in Kenya? Start Preparing Now for 2022

Peaceful Elections in Kenya? Start Preparing Now for 2022

Friday, August 4, 2017

By: Jonas Claes; Susan Stigant

The people of Kenya go to the polls next week to select their next President as well as members of the national assembly and local-level officials. In a country vital to U.S. security and economic interests in East Africa, preparations for the elections have been rocky and tense. Many analysts have drawn parallels to past elections to predict whether peace or violence will prevail. But assessing the 2017 elections will require more than a snapshot review of election week or comparisons with past violence.

Electoral Violence; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Sudan’s National Dialogue Poses Test to Government’s Commitment

Sudan’s National Dialogue Poses Test to Government’s Commitment

Thursday, February 11, 2016

By: Susan Stigant; Princeton N. Lyman

In Sudan, a country still struggling with violent conflict in Darfur and two other states, almost 700 participants in a national dialogue process are finalizing recommendations after three months of vigorous and genuine discussion. But legacies of tension and division are hard to overcome. Key groups that must be involved for any resolution to be sustainable have not joined. Most concerning, the open debate exercised within the national dialogue does not extend outside the doors of Friendship...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Democracy & Governance; Human Rights

National Dialogues: A Tool for Conflict Transformation?

National Dialogues: A Tool for Conflict Transformation?

Friday, October 23, 2015

By: Susan Stigant; Elizabeth Murray

National dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers; however, it can also be misused and manipulated by leaders to consolidate their power. This brief includes principles to strengthen national dialogue processes and considerations for international actors seeking to support these processes.

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Nigeria Attacks Flare, Highlighting Fragility Before Elections

Nigeria Attacks Flare, Highlighting Fragility Before Elections

Friday, January 9, 2015

By: Viola Gienger; Johnnie Carson; Susan Stigant

A recent flare of attacks in northern Nigeria by the militant group Boko Haram illustrates the potential for more widespread unrest, especially as the country nears elections next month, and the trend highlights the need for political leaders to take action to prevent further violence, USIP experts say.

Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Electoral Violence; Fragility and Resilience

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