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

Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy

Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By: Mona Yacoubian

Mona Yacoubian, senior advisor to the vice president of Middle East & North Africa, testified on July 29, 2021 at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism's hearing on "Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy." Her expert testimony as prepared is presented below.

Type: Congressional Testimony

Democracy & Governance; Human Rights

Digital Technology’s Evolving Role in Politics, Protest and Repression

Digital Technology’s Evolving Role in Politics, Protest and Repression

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

By: Steven Feldstein

The rapid adoption of digital technologies has fundamentally changed global politics. During the Arab uprisings, experts heralded digital technologies as powerful tools for social change and liberation. A decade later — with global democracy in retreat — the script has flipped and authoritarian governments are on the offensive in deploying digital tools to monitor, track and control their citizens. Indeed, the rapid emergence of these tools has ushered in a new era of political repression, says Steven Feldstein, the author of “The Rise of Digital Repression: How Technology is Reshaping Power, Politics, and Resistance.” He explains how digital repression works, China’s role in exporting such technologies and the broader implications for global conflict and democracy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Democracy & Governance

Democracy in Afghanistan: Amid and Beyond Conflict

Democracy in Afghanistan: Amid and Beyond Conflict

Thursday, July 8, 2021

By: Anna Larson

Stable democracy may be an elusive prospect in Afghanistan, but that in itself is no reason to stop talking about it. Although many Afghans might well prioritize security from violence over elections in the short term, voting rights are still widely valued across Afghanistan. This report examines the country’s recent history with elections, democracy, and democratic institutions, and argues that because democracy has a past in Afghanistan, there is good reason to continue to support it.

Type: Special Report

Democracy & Governance

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Current Projects

Security Sector Governance and Reform

Security Sector Governance and Reform

USIP believes that peace is impossible without security. Our work offers a peacebuilding approach to security sector governance and reform. Providing citizens with human security is one of the most fundamental obligations of any state. But too often, those intended to provide security, such as military and police forces, instead trigger violence or exacerbate ongoing conflicts.

Civilian-Military Relations; Democracy & Governance; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Alliance of Tunisian Facilitators (ATF)

Alliance of Tunisian Facilitators (ATF)

Despite the degree of stability that Tunisia has achieved since its 2011 revolution, there are still obstacles to democratic consolidation, as well as unaddressed issues that threaten social and political stability—such as growing economic disparities, deepening mistrust between civil society and the government, weak local governments, and the difficult process of achieving meaningful institutional reforms.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility & Resilience; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Violent Extremism; Youth

Informing Criminal Justice Reform in Libya

Informing Criminal Justice Reform in Libya

The Informing Criminal Justice Reform in Libya project was launched in July 2020 to fill existing knowledge gaps on correctional facilities in Libya and the criminal justice system in the Fezzan region. In partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), this project aims to strengthen the rule of law in Libya by providing the international community and Libyan officials with a more complete picture of the region’s institutions, as well as actionable recommendations to inform the development and implementation of future policy and programming.

Democracy & Governance; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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