Tuesday, July 11, 2017
(Washington) – The U.S. Institute of Peace has named communications and foreign policy professional Diane Zeleny as its vice president for external relations. Zeleny will lead the institute’s outreach and public communications strategy, and will oversee its public affairs, public education, congressional relations and institutional development efforts.
The 2016-17 United States Institute of Peace (USIP) cohort of Peace Teachers met in person for the first time at the USIP headquarters in Washington July 10 to share their experiences with teaching global peacebuilding skills to teens and pre-teens across the country. The Peace Teachers program is one of several education initiatives offered by USIP, a nonpartisan institute seeking to prevent and reduce violent conflict around the world. For the second year now, the program has connected a small group of middle and high school teachers with the training, resources, and support necessary to bring concepts of peace and conflict resolution to the classroom.
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed outlined the country’s efforts to improve security, reduce extremism, curb corruption and jump-start the economy, in a meeting with a group of current and former top U.S. officials and other experts at the U.S. Institute of Peace on July 11.
In areas of the Middle East and North Africa, dialogues guided by seasoned local facilitators have cooled a range of potentially violent situations—tribal conflicts, the drive for revenge, tensions between Islamist and secular students and more. Two new resource manuals make their knowledge more widely available across the region and beyond.
Exactly three years after it was declared, the Islamic State is now near defeat. The Iraqi Army has liberated Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control, while a Syrian militia has penetrated the Old City section of Raqqa, the capital of the pseudo-caliphate. U.S. air strikes—at a cost of more than thirteen million dollars a day—plus Army advisers and teams of Special Forces were pivotal in both campaigns, launched late last fall. But it is far too soon to celebrate. Since the rise of jihadi extremism four decades ago, its most enduring trait, through ever-evolving manifestations, is its ability to reinvent and revive movements that appeared beaten.
Nearly 16 years after the international intervention toppled the Taliban government, war rages in Afghanistan. A gradual but steady deterioration in security — including the massive sewage truck bomb that recently killed 150 civilians in Kabul recently — has leaders inside and outside Afghanistan once again searching for a new strategy.
Princeton Lyman, a former U.S. envoy for Sudan now at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says he thinks the diplomatic approach is working — using sanctions relief as leverage. "This is a very preliminary, first-step opening in a serious dialogue opening with Sudan," he says.
William B. Taylor spoke to SiriusXM POTUS Ch. 124 on the eve of President Trump meeting with President Putin in Hamburg, Germany, as part of the G-20 gathering. Taylor expressed reservations about the president to president dialogue versus other officials meeting given the level of Russia interference in the U.S. elections, continuing occupation of the Crimea and cyber attacks.
The U.S. Institute of Peace has established a memorial at its headquarters for members of its staff who were killed while serving USIP in its mission of promoting peaceful resolutions of violent conflicts abroad.
“Right now everyone is positioned” for routing Islamic State “without having the rules of the road,” said Michael Yaffe, a former State Department envoy for the Middle East who is now vice president of the Middle East and Africa center at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “That’s a dangerous situation.”