Democracy & Governance
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.
Sudan’s Crisis Offers New Lessons for Building Peace in the Sahel
Sudan’s five-week war has killed or wounded over 5,000 people, uprooted a million more — and reignited understandable frustrations over how U.S. and international policies can better prevent or respond to such upheavals. Amid heated policy debates, we should step back briefly to pinpoint lessons from this crisis that can improve our responses in Sudan and across the Sahel’s web of coups, insurgencies and extremism. Indeed, that task is urgent — both to address the complex evolutions in the region’s crises and to build support for smarter, steadier engagement, rather than a self-defeating retreat from the Sahel by global partners seeking democracy and stability.
In Myanmar’s New Security Institutions, Power Should Be Community-Owned
Even as the civil war rages on, many pro-democracy groups in Myanmar have begun building their own governance and security institutions. As these new structures emerge, it’s important that they do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
In Pakistan’s Crisis, Judicial, Military Roles Will Be Vital
Pakistan’s eruption into new political crisis this week elevates the risks — in South Asia and beyond — of instability in a nuclear-armed state that is also the world’s fifth most populous. The authorities’ arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan triggered a confrontation between his many supporters and Pakistan’s politically powerful military, which many Pakistanis say precipitated Khan’s detention. As U.S. policymakers monitor this still-unfolding crisis, a first useful step may be to carefully press Pakistani leaders to avoid any unlawful repression or military intervention.
Bipartisan Senior Study Group for the Sahel
In May 2021, USIP created the Bipartisan Senior Study Group for the Sahel comprised of 12 current and former high-level U.S. officials, renowned academics and prominent Africa experts. The senior study group aims to generate new insights into the complex challenges facing the Sahel region, including food security, human rights, security assistance, private sector development and job creation — as well as great power competition. The senior study group will provide original recommendations to the U.S. government and governments in the Sahel region to improve foreign assistance, resolve conflict and support lasting peace.
Civic Mobilization in Civil Resistance Transitions Dataset
Since January 2021, USIP has been collecting data on the frequency and characteristics of civic mobilization in 83 political transitions initiated through civil resistance from 1945 to the present to help understand when challenges to democratic progress have been successfully overcome and provide practical lessons learned for activists, policymakers and academics interested in nonviolent action and democratization.
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.