Members of Congress play a key role in U.S. national security and foreign policy. One of USIP’s signature event series, Congressional Newsmakers, is a platform for showcasing congressional ideas and raising awareness about the nation’s most urgent national security and foreign policy challenges. In each event, a member of Congress joins USIP leaders to discuss a specific foreign policy challenge and examine ways to address the problem. Prior Congressional Newsmaker events have tackled pressing national security topics such as U.S. policy toward Tunisia, war and famine in South Sudan, U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, peacebuilding in Colombia, and effective foreign assistance.

This series furthers USIP’s congressionally mandated mission to reduce violent conflict abroad in accordance with America’s national interests, approaches and values. USIP, as an institute that symbolizes the U.S. commitment to peace, provides a unique and nonpartisan foreign policy forum for these important and timely discussions.

Past Events

Perspectives on the Israel-Hamas War

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

On December 11, 2023, USIP hosted a conversation with U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) exploring his views on the current Israel-Hamas war. The discussion examined the imperatives and considerations in navigating a war against a belligerent like Hamas without punishing the multitude of innocent civilians who are not complicit in Hamas’ terrorism.

Congressional Newsmaker Series

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT)

On December 4, 2023, USIP hosted a conversation with Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) exploring his views on critical foreign policy issues, including stability in the Western Balkans, rising authoritarianism in Central and South America, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the conflict in the Middle East.

Looking at Tunisia from all Angles

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

On April 11, 2023, USIP hosted Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) — chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism and a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs — for a conversation exploring his views on how U.S. policy toward Tunisia should adjust to new realities on the ground.

War, Famine in South Sudan

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, at the U.S. Institute of Peace,  Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, shared insights from a trip to Uganda and South Sudan and discussed the U.S. response to the crisis.

Advancing U.S.-Afghan Ties

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)

On February 5, 2015, USIP and the Alliance in Support of the Afghan People were pleased to host Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), a U.S. Army veteran who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and a newly elected member of the U.S. Senate, to provide his views on the shape of future U.S.-Afghan relations.

The New U.S.-Afghan Partnership

Senator Carl Levin (D – Michigan)

On October 15, 2014, USIP welcomed Senator Carl Levin (D – Michigan), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for a public discussion moderated by USIP Chairman of the Board of Directors, Stephen J. Hadley, on the future of Afghan-US relations.

Effective Foreign Assistance and National Security

Representative Adam Smith (D-WA)

On July 19, 2013, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, offered his views on how foreign assistance preserves and promotes the country’s national security.

Progress and Challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

On September 8, 2011, USIP hosted Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for a conversation on her August 2011 trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan and her congressional perspective on diplomatic and security conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as insights on the policy challenges facing the United States.

Lebanon and the Arab Spring

Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA)

On May 10, 2011 Congressman Charles Boustany of Louisiana spoke about the current situation in Lebanon and how it is fairing in the Arab Spring, as Syria and the Arab world are being rocked by historic change.

Colombia: A Congressional View

Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA)

On July 13, 2009, following President Álvaro Uribe’s visit to Washington in late June and his meeting with President Obama, Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) discussed how the U.S. should approach Colombia and prospects for peace in the country’s decades-long internal conflict.

Afghanistan: A Senatorial View

Senator Kit Bond (R-MO)

On April 3, 2009, as policymakers and observers around the world discuss President Obama's Afghanistan/ Pakistan strategy, Senator Kit Bond of Missouri offered his own views on how the U.S. should approach this troubled region.