Emily Cole is a program officer for governance, justice and security in the Applied Conflict Transformation Center. She works on the Sahel/Maghreb Justice and Security Dialogue project.

Emily has been focused on peacebuilding, governance and humanitarian response in the Sahel for the past several years with experience in both implementation, research and policy. Prior to joining USIP, Emily worked on governance, civil society and peacebuilding programs at FHI 360. Before graduate school, she worked on advocacy and strategy with U.S. private foundations and NGO coalitions.

Emily served in the Peace Corps in Senegal and speaks French and Pulaar. Emily holds a MALD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a B.A. from Amherst College.

Publications By Emily

Months After Protests, Nigeria Needs Police Accountability

Months After Protests, Nigeria Needs Police Accountability

Thursday, February 25, 2021

By: Emily Cole

In Nigeria and more than a dozen nations—the United States, Brazil and Japan are others—public protests erupted in the past year against police brutality. Across the globe, police violence traumatizes the marginalized, spares the powerful and remains unaddressed until the abuse is illuminated to broad public view. While brutality is typically rooted among a minority of officers, it persists because weak systems of police accountability offer impunity, even to repeat offenders. In Nigeria, as in other countries, the solution will require building strong accountability mechanisms—both within police agencies and externally, in the communities they serve.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Democracy & Governance

Amid Sahel’s Crises, a Community in Niger Builds Peace

Amid Sahel’s Crises, a Community in Niger Builds Peace

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

By: Emily Cole; James Rupert

The 135 million people of Africa’s Sahel region work with thin resources as they labor to stabilize their countries against layers of crises—extremist violence, the COVID pandemic and natural disasters. But in one of the world’s poorest regions and countries, a community in Niger’s capital city has united to produce what can seem like a small miracle of self-reliance. With the simple tools of community meetings, cellphones and voluntarism, a network of residents worked with police services and officials to help contain COVID, prevent violence, reduce crime—and even save residents from a disastrous flood.

Type: Blog

Fragility & Resilience; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

In Niger, Foreign Security Interests Undermine Stability—What Can Be Done?

In Niger, Foreign Security Interests Undermine Stability—What Can Be Done?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

By: Emily Cole; Allison Grossman

Over the past decade, the United States, France, and the European Unionhave drastically increased security assistance to countries in the Sahel region. They have done so to address two perceived transnational threats—violent extremism and mass migration to Europe—but have often neglected Sahel countries’ own interests and long-term stability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Niger, the world’s poorest country.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

How International Security Support Contributed to Mali’s Coup

How International Security Support Contributed to Mali’s Coup

Monday, September 21, 2020

By: Ena Dion; Emily Cole

Since a 2012 coup, Mali has received significant security assistance from United States, France, the European Union and other foreign donors to address violent extremism and insurgency and help stabilize the country. In the wake of the August military coup, it is clear that strategy has backfired—and that, in fact, the failure of international security sector assistance to prioritize governance likely contributed to the conditions that led to the coup.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Five Things to Know About Mali’s Coup

Five Things to Know About Mali’s Coup

Thursday, August 27, 2020

By: Emily Cole

On August 18, rising tensions to boiled over into a mutiny, leading to the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. This dramatic chain of events followed three months of protests, calling for Keita’s resignation. As the country grapples with an intractable insurgency and eight years of instability, anger over the government’s failure to resolve conflict, respect democratic norms, and provide basic services pushed citizens and the military to their boiling point. What comes next in Mali over the coming months could have significant implications for the country’s democracy and on the stability of the Sahel.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

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