The U.S. Institute of Peace congratulates our Aly Verjee on being awarded the 2019 Oslo Forum Peacewriter Prize, which recognizes “bold and innovative responses to today’s peacemaking challenges,” for his essay on addressing the increasing challenges of cease-fire monitoring.

Verjee is currently a visiting expert at USIP who specializes in the politics of East Africa. His analysis and writing have contributed to USIP’s program work in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and South Sudan.

“USIP is delighted to see Aly Verjee receive well-deserved recognition for his innovative ideas and approaches to conflict de-escalation,” said Mike Yaffe, the Institute’s vice president for the Middle East and Africa. “Aly is tireless in applying his ample knowledge of peace mediation together with incisive analysis about the situation on the ground to come up with creative and thoughtful solutions to some of the toughest conflicts in Africa.”

Verjee’s prize-winning essay, “Monitoring Ceasefires is Getting Harder: Greater Innovation is Required,” discusses a topic that he has examined during his time at USIP through participating in a workshop in March 2019 and authoring multiple publications for USIP’s website.

“So much effort is put into reaching an agreement to end violence. But then the hard work begins to ensure that those who are fighting will keep their commitments,” said USIP Director for Africa Programs Susan Stigant. “Aly draws on his rich experience in peace mediation and on elections to offer some new ways to make sure that guns remain silent and citizens remain safe. Most importantly, he challenges all of us to bring evidence, creativity and our best minds to finding solutions.”

Before joining USIP, Verjee served as deputy and then acting chief of staff of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission—which oversaw the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan—and as senior advisor to the chief mediator for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-led peace process for South Sudan.

"The nature of international conflict has changed,” Verjee said. “So, responses to conflict must also evolve if they are to be effective. In many ways, cease-fire monitoring has stood still. There are no easy answers, but we must be open to new approaches, as both mediators and monitors. I hope these ideas will provoke further conversation on how we can best resolve conflict."

The Oslo Forum is a series of retreats—cohosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue—which serve as a forum for international conflict mediators, high-level decision-makers, and other peace process actors to reflect on current mediation practice, collaborate across institutional and conceptual divides, and advance negotiations.

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