Congress founded the U.S. Institute of Peace in 1984 to help our nation “promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse to violence.” In the 35 years since then, the Institute has pursued that mandate, strengthening America’s capacity to build peace through programs in Washington, in our nation’s schools, and in dangerous conflict zones abroad. Here are some of those stories…

U.S. troops return to New York aboard the USS General Harry Taylor from their service in World War II. Veterans of that war later led in the campaign to establish the U.S. Institute of Peace. (National Archives)

Pausing to Pay a Debt to Veterans and Fellow Citizens

November 6, 2019

Like all Americans, USIP owes a debt to those who have fought for the justice that sustains any peace, at home or abroad. On Veterans Day, we honor those who have done so in uniform. USIP owes a special debt to the military veterans, many from World War II, who 35 years ago led Congress in founding this national institution dedicated to reducing warfare abroad. These peacebuilders included Senators Mark Hatfield of Oregon and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii, who fought and witnessed that war from Europe, Okinawa and Hiroshima. And at America’s grass roots, they included Mike Mapes, a Navy ensign who served at Nagasaki and later led a citizens’ campaign to create what became USIP.

Helping Crisis-responders Work Better Together

October 30, 2019
When violent conflict triggers humanitarian disasters, a wide range of organizations must respond: U.S. government civilian agencies, military forces, nonprofit humanitarian groups and international organizations. USIP works constantly to build coordination among these people and institutions. Each year, the Institute conducts a “tabletop exercise” to help these groups practice better coordination in responding to crises from Africa’s Sahel region to the southern Philippines to the Red Sea and Horn of Africa. (Learn about USIP’s Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise)

Halting Religious Clashes with Nigeria’s ‘Pastor and Imam’

October 23, 2019
Christians and Muslims in Nigeria’s Yelwa-Shendam region fought in the early 2000s—a conflict that killed more than 1,000 people. USIP partnered with Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye in mediating a peace agreement that halted the bloodshed. USIP provided seed funding for their work, helping them to build their Interfaith Mediation Center into an institution that trained Nigerians—and people in Kenya, Iraq, Sri Lanka and elsewhere—on ways to help their countries solve their own conflicts without violence. (Read more)

Mediating Peace in Iraq’s ‘Triangle of Death’

October 16, 2019
In 2007, nearly 3,500 U.S. troops struggled to end tribal fighting and al-Qaida violence in Mahmoudiya, a district south of Baghdad. The Army’s 10th Mountain Division called USIP for help. The Institute used its specialized research, training and mediation capacities to work with Iraqi partners in leading a peace process among 31 local tribes. The resulting peace accord forced al-Qaida out of the region, and U.S. combat deaths dropped from more than 50 per year before the accord to one in the year that followed. The Army was able to reduce its force in the region by 80 percent. When ISIS arose years later, Mahmoudiya rebuffed the extremists’ call for an uprising and the peace agreement continues to bolster stability in the area. (Read more)

Latest Publications

As Protests Continue in the Street, Iraq Reaches a Crossroads

As Protests Continue in the Street, Iraq Reaches a Crossroads

Friday, November 8, 2019

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting in Baghdad and southern provinces against the failure of the Iraqi government and the political class in delivering basic services, providing jobs, fighting corruption, and more. Iraqi security forces and armed groups reportedly linked to Iran have used lethal force in response to the protests, leaving over 260 dead and over 10,000 injured. As the protests have progressed, demands have expanded to include calls for regime change, the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, early elections, pushing back against Iranian influence, and accountability for killing peaceful protesters.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Fragility & Resilience

A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

By: Mona Yacoubian

In the month since President Trump’s October 6 phone call with Turkish President Erdogan and the announced U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, the picture on the ground has changed immensely. Moscow has emerged as the key power broker in Syria. The Kurds, looking for protection from Turkish forces, are in Russian-brokered talks with the Assad government. These discussions could pave the way for an expanded Syrian government presence in the northeast for the first time in years. Successive agreements with Turkey negotiated first by the United States (October 17) and then by Russia (October 22) to halt Ankara’s fighting with the Kurds have been marred by violations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

What Has the U.S. Got Against Peace Talks?

What Has the U.S. Got Against Peace Talks?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

By: Johnny Walsh

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Afghan peace process, closing off for the time being a rare opening to resolve a long, stagnant, and unpopular war. Whatever one thinks of the specifics of the deal that the U.S. representative at the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, had nearly finalized with the Taliban, the episode was a perfect demonstration of the conflicted, often self-defeating view of peace agreements that mires U.S. foreign policy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes

Can Policy Catch up to the Golden Age of Terrorism Research?

Can Policy Catch up to the Golden Age of Terrorism Research?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

By: Leanne Erdberg ; Fouad Pervez

Meanwhile, researchers are increasingly understanding the dynamics that drive people to join terrorist groups—unpacking the numerous, complex reasons, and shining light on the local sociopolitical dynamics, something the media is covering more regularly. This new wave of research has a multiplicity of focus areas and employs rigorous methods to offer workable insights on violent extremism. It’s time for policy to catch up to the research.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism

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