The Interorganizational Global Forum (IGF) is an important and ongoing feature of USIP's partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense. In partnership with the Joint Staff J-7, USIP brings together representatives from the U.S. Government (USG), international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, academia, think tanks, and the private sector to focus on a complex global challenge of key importance to U.S. and global peace and security.

The IGF builds on USIP’s Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise (ITX) project series, hosted in partnership with the Department of Defense’s Joint Staff J-7, which in the past examined complex crises in Somalia, the Philippines, the Lake Chad geographic area, and the Red Sea Region.

IGF 2020

IGF 2020 examined global power competition in the context of state fragility in Venezuela. The event produced concrete recommendations for how the USG and its partners can manage threats to peace and stability emanating from Russian and Chinese activities in Venezuela, while also identifying opportunities for collaboration on issues of shared concern. It also provided a conceptual framework for understanding the intersection of state fragility and global power competition that can be used in other country cases.

2019 ITX

The 2019 ITX focused on cross-regional challenges in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where ongoing conflict, transitions, peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian operations intersect. The interstate dynamics within the Horn and the Arabian Peninsula, the impact of each region on the other, as well as regional and great power engagement and competition informed the problem set examined in the exercise. Relevant participants from the interagency, IOs, and NGOs convened to discuss the seam issues and the implications of interactions between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.

2018 ITX

The 2018 ITX focused on preventing and countering violent extremism in the southern Philippines. The siege of Marawi by ISIS-affiliated extremists in 2017 highlighted the long-standing tensions between the Muslim population and the Philippine government. The reconstruction of Marawi and implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law provided improved prospects for peacebuilding. At the end of the convening, demobilization of insurgents, risk tolerance, and reliable and flexible funding were identified as key issues requiring further work to improve the effectiveness of external assistance in this watershed moment.

2017 ITX

The overarching theme of the 2017 ITX was “Transitioning from Fragility toward Stabilization and Sustainable Human Security in Somalia and the Region.” Representatives from the Department of State, Department of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development, and a number of NGOs convened over four days to assess the impact of a potential AMISOM drawdown and eventual withdrawal from Somalia and to plan how best to ease the transition to Somali responsibility for security and governance. Recommendations from the exercise centered on how best to support the new Somali government’s priorities.

2016 ITX

The 2016 ITX focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) in the Lake Chad Basin. During the ITX, relevant actors from the across the USG as well as representatives from a number of IOs and NGOs wrestled with the uncertainties and ambiguities of CVE to compare understanding, share initiatives, discuss progress and shortcomings and explore the interplay of different CVE efforts to devise practical strategies to work together more effectively. Issues, challenges, and opportunities identified by participants were briefed to senior leaders in the concluding session of the 2016 ITX. They, in turn, tasked participating organizations and others in the community of interest to delve more deeply into the issues raised and propose concrete recommendations to address problems or shortcomings in a second senior leaders’ meeting in early 2017. Three interorganizational working groups formed to look at challenges surrounding policy synchronization, analytical CVE frameworks, as well as gaps in current learning and knowledge sharing.

2014 ITX

The 2014 ITX brought together participants from over 15 U.S. government agencies, departments, and bureaus as well as a number of NGOs and IOs to grapple with key interorganizational topics using South Sudan and Ethiopia as case studies.

Latest Publications

Four Thoughts on Advancing Religious Engagement in Diplomacy and Development

Four Thoughts on Advancing Religious Engagement in Diplomacy and Development

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

After nearly 20 years and across three successive U.S. administrations, it is clear that a bipartisan consensus exists among senior foreign affairs leadership that engaging religious actors to advance key American diplomatic, national security, and development objectives needs to be a priority. With some 84 percent of the world’s population expressing a faith affiliation, the role of religion as a social force around the world—and one that figures centrally in many peacebuilding contexts—cannot be ignored in our foreign relations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion

Knox Thames on the State of Global Religious Freedom

Knox Thames on the State of Global Religious Freedom

Monday, November 30, 2020

By: Knox Thames

As global restrictions on faith reach all-time highs, USIP’s Knox Thames say the United States must continue to be a vocal leader in combatting persecution and pursuing religious freedom, saying, “I think the time is right … anything we say goes out like a megaphone to the rest of the world.”

Type: Podcast

Religion

Ethiopia’s Problems Will Not End with a Military Victory

Ethiopia’s Problems Will Not End with a Military Victory

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As violence continues over control of the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, Ethiopia’s future remains unsettled, even if the conflict ends soon. Achieving the federal government’s security objectives in Tigray is unlikely to resolve both new and entrenched political challenges, and already delayed national elections, now expected in 2021, may prove a severe test of Ethiopia’s political order, and consequently affect broader regional stability. Reconciling the electoral process with efforts for reconciliation and national dialogue is now even more imperative.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Monday, November 23, 2020

By: Knox Thames

Persecution on account of religion or belief confronts every community somewhere around the world—and it is an increasing trend. Challenges range from terrorist violence against minorities, such as ISIS’ depravations against Yazidis, to persecution by authoritarian governments, with China’s targeting of all faiths a prime example. To organize a defense of freedom of conscience and belief, the United States convened the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2018 and 2019, bringing together a virtual congress of nations and civil society activists from around the world. The third ministerial, organized by Poland, was held virtually in mid-November. Discussions identified challenges but also solutions. One consistent answer to the vexing problem of persecution was proffered: educating youth about human rights and pluralism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion; Education & Training

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By: Scott Worden

The Taliban’s tactic of running out the clock on the U.S. troop presence may bear fruit after the announcement on Tuesday that U.S. forces will reduce to 2,500 by January 15. The Trump administration successfully created leverage by engaging directly with the Taliban to meet their paramount goal of a U.S. withdrawal in exchange for genuine peace talks and counterterrorism guarantees. This strategy brought about unprecedented negotiations between Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in Doha. A walk down a conditions-based path to peace, long and winding as it may be, had begun.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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