As a living institution mandated by Congress to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict without recourse to violence, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) unequivocally denounces the abhorrent assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when violent rioters—some brandishing racist and anti-Semitic slogans and symbols—disrupted the certification of the United States presidential election.

“The assault on the U.S. Capitol was a dark, terrifying moment in our history,” said Lise Grande, president and CEO, USIP. “Nothing is more sacred than our shared responsibility as Americans to promote democracy and build peace.”

Over the course of three and a half decades, USIP’s research on conflict resolution and direct work in some of the most complex, dangerous places in the world has underscored the central role that democracy and democratic principles play in preventing violence and building peace. The peaceful transition of power is a central tenet of stable democracies and one that the United States has modeled to other nations for more than two centuries. Evidence from countries around the world shows that disinformation, the discrediting of a free and independent media, exclusion, racial and ethnic injustice, and inequality in all its forms propel violence, foment hatred, and undermine and threaten peace.

“Russia, China, and Iran are already using the attack on the U.S. Capitol to undermine democratic principles and justify their own authoritarian practices,” said Stephen J. Hadley, chair, USIP Board of Directors. “It is essential that we stand together and remind adversaries, allies, and all who have looked to the United States as a beacon of hope that while American democracy may have been tested, it has not been diminished.”

At this fraught moment in U.S. history, with the threat of violence still looming, USIP will convene top foreign policy and national security leaders on January 29 for Passing the Baton: Securing America’s Future Together to renew the U.S. commitment to the peaceful transition of power, help affirm the central tenets of American democracy, and assert the importance of standing united against threats to global peace and security.

Passing the Baton: Securing America’s Future Together builds on USIP’s tradition of convening national security advisors from outgoing and incoming presidential administrations to recommit to the United States’ deeply held democratic norms and to reaffirm the importance of bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy.

“Now more than ever, USIP approaches its mission with deep humility, but also with an even greater determination to promote inclusive, representative, and rules-based approaches to reducing violent conflict around the world,” said George Moose, vice chair, USIP Board of Directors. “Passing the Baton will provide an important, nonpartisan platform for foreign policy and national security leaders to reaffirm our highest democratic ideals and to confront the challenges we face together.”

More information on Passing the Baton: Securing America’s Future Together is forthcoming to USIP’s website.

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