Peace processes involve a series of negotiated steps to end wars and build sustainable peace. The U.S. Institute of Peace works with practitioners, diplomats and officials to understand how to effectively manage or facilitate such processes. This includes how such negotiations can be structured and supported, the issues to be resolved, the trade-offs involved, and the consequences and challenges that result. From considering gender and the role of women in Colombia’s peace process to furthering a new understanding of Myanmar’s long road towards peace, USIP works to ensure that peace agreements in conflict areas are inclusive, participatory, and locally led and supported.
A number of commentators have criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s latest peace summit in Jeddah for failing to produce tangible deliverables. What these criticisms miss is that Ukraine is playing a game of diplomatic attrition aimed at countering Russia’s central objective: international acquiescence to its violent seizure of a neighbor’s territory. The United States should support Ukraine’s efforts, most immediately by seeking a U.N.-sanctioned conference on the sidelines of next month's U.N. General Assembly session.
While Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion has global attention on the battlefield, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government is also busy advancing a diplomatic initiative: a peace summit to build momentum and cohesion among international partners on its 10-point peace plan. The United States should be a leader in backing this diplomatic effort — which is on the agenda this weekend in multilateral talks in Saudi Arabia. Broadening international buy-in for Ukraine’s peace plan serves U.S. interests. It can short-circuit less constructive peace initiatives and reinforce a cardinal international norm: An aggressor that launches an unprovoked war can't expect to set the terms for peace afterward.
Since April of last year, Xi Jinping and China’s foreign policy apparatus have been touting the Chinese leader’s vision of an alternative to the U.S.-led global security order, dubbed the Global Security Initiative (GSI). While Beijing has incrementally elaborated on Xi’s GSI, it remains an inchoate, fuzzy concept. What is clear is that Beijing wants to be seen as a global force for peace and stability that is capable of resolving international issues that appeared intractable under the U.S.-led security order. And it has repeatedly pointed to the detente it brokered between longtime foes Iran and Saudi Arabia as an example of its peacemaking prowess. As China deepens its involvement in the Middle East and campaigns for the GSI, is it gearing up to take on one of the region’s most vexing challenges, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
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.
In support of the Evidence Act and as part of the U.S. national security architecture, USIP is carrying out its own learning agenda. Peacebuilding has long been viewed as too messy and complex for evidence-based approaches — but USIP’s mix of research and practice belies that assumption.
Almost 20 years after the United States ousted the Taliban regime, the first direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government began in Doha, Qatar in September 2020. The Taliban, Afghan government, and international forces have fought to a deadly stalemate, with both battle deaths and civilian casualties near record highs in recent years.