Extremist movements — such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Shabab — fuel, and often stem from, instability and violent conflict and present a complex challenge. The U.S. Institute of Peace works to understand the underlying causes of violent extremism and helps develop localized and viable solutions by providing research, training and expertise to practitioners and policymakers. From examining the critical role of women in combating violent extremism in Afghanistan to exploring the dynamics of radicalization in Kosovo, USIP seeks to reduce this ever-shifting threat.

 Learn more in our fact sheet on USIP’s Work on Violent Extremism.

Featured   Publications

How to Advance Peace and Stability in Coastal West Africa

How to Advance Peace and Stability in Coastal West Africa

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

By: Senior Study Group on Coastal West Africa

The U.S. government has identified stability in Coastal West Africa as a foreign policy priority, engaging five countries in particular — Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo — through its Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, which was adopted in December 2021. The strategy reflects the U.S. government’s consideration of the five countries as strategic focal points in the fight against transnational terrorism and violent extremism emanating from the neighboring Sahel region.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & ResilienceDemocracy & GovernanceViolent Extremism

Central Asia’s New Foreign Fighters Problem: The Russia-Ukraine War

Central Asia’s New Foreign Fighters Problem: The Russia-Ukraine War

Thursday, September 8, 2022

By: William B. Farrell, Ph.D.

Since the start of the current conflict in Ukraine, there have been growing glimpses coming through media reports, social media feeds and personal networks of Central Asian mercenaries and volunteers fighting on both sides of the Russia-Ukraine war. But the emergence of this new foreign fighter phenomenon — less than a decade after thousands of Central Asians joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria — is raising increasing concerns and important questions for Central Asian security. Unlike the phenomenon of Central Asians fighting in Iraq and Syria, the cleavages in Ukraine are much closer to home and echo those in Central Asian society, which makes this mobilization much more divisive internally.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism

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Current  Projects

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.

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & GovernancePeace ProcessesViolent Extremism

The USIP Learning Agenda

The USIP Learning Agenda

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.

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGenderJustice, Security & Rule of LawMediation, Negotiation & DialogueNonviolent ActionPeace ProcessesReconciliationReligionViolent ExtremismYouth

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