In honor of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s service to the United States and the cause of peace and innovation in peacemaking, USIP initiated this lecture series to deal with the important topics of the day. The lecture series helps call attention to topics that further the mission of USIP: preventing and resolving violent international conflicts, promoting post-conflict stability and development, and increasing conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide.

USIP Board Chair Stephen J. Hadley and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz
USIP Board Chair Stephen J. Hadley and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz

2015: Secretary of State George Shultz 

U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz received the 6th Acheson Award. 

Leon Panetta

2012 Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave the 5th Acheson Lecture at USIP. In his speech, Panetta outlined a bold plan to build the capacity of other countries and thereby reduce the strains on the U.S. when it comes to solving the world’s security problems. Following his remarks, he was presented with the Acheson Award.

Senator John McCain

2011: Senator John McCain

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) received the 4th Acheson Award and delivered the Acheson Lecture at USIP. After receiving the award, Senator McCain discussed the status of U.S. interests in the Middle East during a time of revolution and upheaval.

Senator George J. Mitchell

2010: Senator George J. Mitchell

U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell, special envoy for the Middle East, delivered the 2010 the USIP Dean Acheson Lecture, on Monday, May 24 in front of a packed audience.

Senator Mitchell spoke about lessons learned from Northern Ireland and how, despite the vast differences between that conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, certain truths about international conflict still hold. | Read more

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

2009: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In remarks focused on nuclear nonproliferation and timed to coincide with the Institute’s 25th anniversary, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the 2009 Dean Acheson lecture. In addressing the United States Institute of Peace, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton talked about the important work we are doing in the area of non proliferation, including the recent report issued by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, chaired by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry with James R. Schlesinger as vice chairman. The report examined key issues related to national security, arms control and nuclear technology. | Read more

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

2008 Lecture: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

On October 15, 2008, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivered the keynote speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace’s first Dean Acheson Lecture. In his address, Gates called for the United States to develop national security institutions better able to respond to increasingly complex challenges in international conflict settings. | Read more

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Four Lessons for Cease-fires in the Age of COVID

Four Lessons for Cease-fires in the Age of COVID

Thursday, October 1, 2020

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During his opening remarks at the 75th U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres renewed his appeal for a global humanitarian cease-fire, urging the international community to achieve one in the next 100 days. But in the roughly 180 days since his initial appeal, most conflict parties have not heeded the secretary-general’s plea. What can peacebuilders do to advance the secretary-general’s call? Four key lessons have emerged over the last six months on how cease-fires can be achieved—or stalled—by COVID-19.

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Tyler Beckelman on the Virtual U.N. General Assembly

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While this year is the U.N.’s 75th Anniversary, the General Assembly was a “more muted affair” than expected, says USIP’s Tyler Beckelman. Member states had a chance to discuss the newly signed Abraham Accord and the future of multilateral diplomacy, but virtual summitry is “no substitute for meeting in person.”

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With the UAE and Bahrain having joined Egypt and Jordan in declaring peace with Israel, those asking “who’s next?” often look enthusiastically westward, toward Khartoum. Adding new chapters to the Abraham Accords is in the U.S. interest, but so is a successful transition in Sudan. And the sequence of these steps is critical. A unified Sudanese government with a popular mandate will be better able to forge a warm and sustainable peace with Israel, whereas a rushed Israeli-Sudanese agreement has the potential to unravel Sudan’s transition and generate renewed support for Sudan’s Islamists and their foreign backers.

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Six Things to Watch at the U.N. General Assembly

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Monday, September 21, 2020

By: Colin Thomas-Jensen; Tyler Beckelman

This year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting, happening against the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding, was supposed to be a major milestone—a moment for world leaders to reflect on the organization’s pursuit of peaceful international cooperation since the devastation of World War II, and to consider how the multilateral system should evolve to tackle the 21st century’s biggest challenges. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional in-person gathering at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York City. This UNGA will be a much more muted affair, with participants using the same videoconferencing technology to which we have all become accustomed in 2020. But the challenges facing the international system are as pressing and complicated as ever. As UNGA goes virtual, here are six issues to watch.

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