The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) ran the Sudanese & South Sudanese Youth Leaders program from 2013-2019. The program brought Sudanese and South Sudanese peacebuilders between ages 18 and 35 to Washington, DC to be in residence at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) for four months. The goal of the project was to support youth to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to further their peacebuilding work and position themselves as stronger peacebuilding agents in their communities.

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USIP’s youth leaders are engaged in peacebuilding efforts back in their communities. Their projects and work have focused on engaging young female peacebuilders, religious peacebuilding, the role of women in conflict and peace, the role of media in peacebuilding, and analyses of the root causes of local conflict.

Past Youth Leaders

Nyachangkuoth R. Tai

Namisio Joy Bage

Francis Banychieng Jor
Project: Promotion of Gender Equality and Inclusiveness

Ajing Chol Giir, South Sudan
Project: The role of “Sports and Cultural Dialogue” in peacebuilding and reconciliation

Silvio William Deng, South Sudan
Project: Root Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Upper Nile State

Ikhlas Mohammed, Sudan
Project: Women’s Role in Conflict Resolution in Darfur

Arif Omer, Sudan 
Project: The Peace Lens Project (Media and Conflict in Sudan)

Othow Okoti Onger, South Sudan 
Project: The Role of the Church in Peacebuilding in Jonglei State

Related Publications

South Sudan: Friendship Over Fear (Video)

South Sudan: Friendship Over Fear (Video)

Monday, July 17, 2017

A civil war that has plagued South Sudan, the world’s newest country, over the past four years verges on ethnic genocide and has left half the prewar population in need of humanitarian aid. As the international community tries to help end the violence, the U.S. Institute of Peace brought two of the country’s promising young leaders—one from each side of the divide—to Washington to pursue research on ways to heal the rifts. By the end of their stay, they may have learned just as much from each other.

Type: In the Field

YouthDemocracy & Governance

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Latest Publications

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return Democracy

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return Democracy

Friday, October 7, 2022

By: Maria Antonia Montes ;  Savarni Sanka

In recent months, Nicaragua’s government has escalated its effort to silence dissent by waging a systematic campaign of repression against the Catholic Church. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo’s crackdown on clergy and church-affiliated organizations critical of their authoritarian regime not only threatens Nicaragua’s religious freedom but also erects significant roadblocks to the country’s return to peace and democracy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceReligion

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

By: Jawhara Kanu;  Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

Three and a half years after Sudan’s military deposed the authoritarian ruler, Omar Bashir, in response to massive protests, the current military leadership and divisions among political factions are stalling a return to elected civilian government. This year has brought a deepening economic crisis and violent communal clashes — but also a new wave of nonviolent, grassroots campaigns for a return to democracy. As Sudanese democracy advocates and their international allies seek ways to press the military for that transition, all sides should note, and work to sustain, Sudan’s nonviolent civic action.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceNonviolent Action

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Josh Martin;  Meghann Perez;  Ruben Grangaard

Although social contract theory—the idea that encountering someone with a different group identity can lead to greater understanding, empathy, and trust—has become a bedrock of most peacebuilding initiatives in recent decades, doubts remain about whether such initiatives prevent violence. This report provides practical insights and recommendations for improving peacebuilding efforts by more effectively factoring an understanding of human behavior into the design, implementation, and evaluation of social contact interventions.

Type: Peaceworks

Nonviolent Action

Xi Kicks Off Campaign for a Chinese Vision of Global Security

Xi Kicks Off Campaign for a Chinese Vision of Global Security

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Alex Stephenson

Earlier this month Chinese leader Xi Jinping made his first foreign trip since the coronavirus outbreak, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The summit was Xi’s first in-person opportunity to win support outside of China’s borders for his new Global Security Initiative (GSI), which he launched in April. While the GSI remains notional and somewhat vague, Xi is on the offensive, seeking to position his vision of a new global security architecture as an alternative to the Western-led security order. In an era of heightened strategic rivalry between Washington and Beijing, Xi’s GSI campaign could amount to yet another challenge to the U.S.-China relationship and the two countries’ ability to peacefully manage differences.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Is Russia Escalating to De-Escalate?

Is Russia Escalating to De-Escalate?

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Mary Glantz, Ph.D.;  Mona Yacoubian

Vladimir Putin is under increased pressure as Russia continues to lose ground inside Ukraine. Faced with the prospect of stark losses — potentially leaving Russia in a worse position than before its February 24 invasion — Moscow may be embarked on an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy. By raising the specter of a nuclear confrontation twice in recent weeks, Putin may in fact be seeking a way out of his dilemma marked by Russia’s strategic failure in Ukraine. The coming weeks will be critical as Putin pursues nuclear brinksmanship — possibly even repositioning tactical nuclear weapons — while actually seeking an exit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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