Many of today’s youth, at 1.8 billion worldwide, live in areas affected by conflict. The predominant narrative depicts young men as perpetrators of violence and young women as victims. The U.S. Institute of Peace sees youth as agents for positive change and works to equip young peacebuilders with the knowledge and skills they need to bring divided communities together and to manage conflict nonviolently. USIP also helps its youth partners conduct and publish research in their communities, enabling them to develop local solutions to problems and allowing them to be active contributors to the field of peacebuilding.
When U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) was adopted in 2015, it was envisioned as a framework for countries experiencing unrest to build peace and promote justice through strong institutions. Efforts have been made at different levels to make this goal a reality, but the outlook is not encouraging. The latest report from the U.N. found over 80 million people had fled war, persecution and conflict in 2020, the highest ever recorded. And every day, 100 people — including women and children — are killed in armed conflicts. With these grim figures and the end-of-decade deadline for SDG16 rapidly approaching, there should be a concerted effort to engage with youth leadership to help get SDG 16 back on track.
USIP's Peace Teachers Program is rooted in the conviction that educators can be pivotal in bringing peace themes into their classrooms, schools, and communities.
This week’s latest mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolchildren underscores that the crumbling of human security in Africa’s most populous nation is worsening a deeper impairment, hollowing out Nigeria’s education system to create a “lost generation” of youth across much of the country. Alarmingly, one in five of the world’s out-of-school children is Nigerian. As Nigerian and international policymakers focus on the immediate crises—of kidnappings, Boko Haram’s extremist violence, and conflict between farming and herding communities—they must urgently rescue and buttress the country’s damaged education system. Reducing violence and achieving development in Africa will depend on an effective strategy for doing so.
USIP created the Youth Country Liaison initiative to improve linkages between USIP country teams and USIP Generation Change fellows. As part of the initiative, the liaisons provide consultation within USIP and provide a youth-focused lens for USIP regional teams as they design and implement programs and activities. The Youth Country Liaison is a volunteer position for a duration of one year.
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.
Built upon the belief that youth bring significant and unique insight to peacebuilding, the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) provides a mechanism through which USIP experts can benefit from youth perspectives and expertise. The YAC enables USIP staff to engage youth as partners, experts, and practioners while elevating youth voices and experience to the international level. The YAC contributes to USIP’s vision for an inclusive approach to peacebuilding. The Youth Advisory Council meets regularly to bring together youth thought leaders and peacebuilding experts committed to the Institute’s mission and activities.