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.

Featured   Publications

Sometimes the Good Guys Win: Guatemala’s Shocking 2023 Election

Sometimes the Good Guys Win: Guatemala’s Shocking 2023 Election

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

By: Ambassador Stephen G. McFarland

Guatemala’s 2023 elections were a turning point for the country. Despite a playing field tilted to favor the governing elite, voters elected Bernardo Arévalo, whose Semilla (“Seed”) Movement promised to break the country’s cycles of corruption, restoring democracy and the rule of law. Success was — and remains — far from inevitable. The kleptocracy pushed back hard, using their control of the public prosecutors’ office to open spurious investigations and pursue unsupported claims of electoral fraud.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Elections & Conflict

Senegal just saved its democracy. That helps all West Africa.

Senegal just saved its democracy. That helps all West Africa.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

Senegal’s dramatic transfer of presidential power this week highlights that West Africa, routinely seen as a zone of democratic erosion and failure, includes an arc of resilient coastal democracies — from Senegal to Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. The Senegalese people’s resolute reversal of last month’s constitutional crisis shows that U.S. and international efforts to counter violent extremism and military coups can reinforce a potent West African democratic constituency. Vital next steps include these: supporting Senegal’s democratic forces in shifting from “campaign mode” to inclusive governance; promoting economic investment to bolster youth employment and rule-of-law reforms; and energizing a West African democratic alliance against extremism and coups.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Elections & Conflict

A Perilous Moment for Bangladesh’s Democracy

A Perilous Moment for Bangladesh’s Democracy

Monday, March 4, 2024

By: Geoffrey Macdonald, Ph.D.

Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections in January cemented the country’s transition to a “dominant-party” political system. Aided by an opposition boycott on Election Day, the Awami League (AL) extended its 15 years in power with another five-year term, which will soon make Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, the world’s longest continuously serving female head of government in contemporary history. But political dominance comes with risk. Around the world, dominant-party systems often develop common maladies that harm the country’s governance. Ensuring competition across politics, government and the economy can forestall these problems.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Elections & Conflict

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Current  Projects

Peacemaking in a Turbulent World: Lessons from Intrastate and Interstate Conflicts

Peacemaking in a Turbulent World: Lessons from Intrastate and Interstate Conflicts

Peacemaking in a Turbulent World answers the following central question: What lessons for effective management of intrastate conflicts emerged from the post-Cold War period that are relevant for managing contemporary conflicts which include intrastate, internationalized (featuring direct engagement by outside powers), and interstate conflicts? ​

Conflict Analysis & PreventionMediation, Negotiation & DialogueDemocracy & GovernanceFragility & Resilience

Tunisia Security Sector Training Reform

Tunisia Security Sector Training Reform

Since 2016, USIP and the Tunisian Ministry of Interior have been working in close partnership to collaboratively build a robust public-service oriented policing model in alignment with democratic norms and national and international standards. As part of these endeavors, with support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, USIP and the Tunisian National Guard launched a three-phased initiative to reconceptualize their training system, reinvigorating ongoing efforts to improve operational capacity in the field while upholding core values of accountability, transparency and human dignity.

Democracy & GovernanceEducation & TrainingJustice, Security & Rule of Law

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