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

Why Ethiopia’s 2021 Elections Matter

Why Ethiopia’s 2021 Elections Matter

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By: Aly Verjee; Terrence Lyons

Facing numerous technical difficulties, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) delayed parliamentary elections from June 5 to June 21, postponing the vote for the second time. Some major opposition parties are boycotting, and no voting will take place in civil war hit Tigray or in several other areas facing insecurity. Elsewhere, deficiencies in election administration have meant voting has already been postponed in many constituencies, and some of the logistical arrangements to underpin the vote are still to be implemented. Although there are risks of electoral violence, any incidents are unlikely to be especially significant in a context of high levels of ongoing political violence.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Electoral Violence

Central Asia’s Growing Internet Carries New Risks of Violence

Central Asia’s Growing Internet Carries New Risks of Violence

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

By: Rafal Rohozinski; Robert Muggah

The “Great Game” has returned to Central Asia, but with a digital twist. Where once the British and Russian empires competed over lucrative trade routes and territorial influence, today the region is at the geopolitical and ideological confluence between competing visions of internet governance. China, Russia, Europe and the United States are all seeking to shape the region’s technology environment. What happens in Central Asia will have profound implications for the five countries of the region and the future of civic freedoms and digital rights more widely. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Democracy & Governance

A Global Democratic Renaissance or a More Volatile World?

A Global Democratic Renaissance or a More Volatile World?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

By: Anthony Navone

With a staggering array of immediate crises facing the world — from the COVID pandemic to a global increase in extremist violence — it sometimes feels difficult, perhaps even impossible, to look beyond the current moment and envision what the world will look in the coming decades. However, looming demographic, economic, environmental and technological shifts are already starting to affect the global geopolitical environment — not only worsening our current crises, but inciting new ones should we fail to put in place long-term strategies to address them.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Economics & Environment; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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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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