USIP leaders explain the effect that events around the world and here at home will have on the U.S., and the contributions the Institute can and does make during a time of tremendous challenge – and opportunity.


This past year offered fresh proof that the world we live in is ever dynamic. Fundamental change can come from something as extraordinary as a fruit vendor’s act of defiance in Tunisia to popular revolts by reform movements across the Middle East. At the same time, a decade of war and the weak U.S. economy dictates that there must be new ways to think about the role the U.S. will play in the world in the coming years.

We asked USIP leaders, from board members to senior staff and experts, to explain the effect that events around the world and here at home will have on the U.S., and the contributions the Institute can and does make during a time of tremendous challenge – and opportunity.

The Value of Building Peace
Michael Graham

USIP Chief Financial Officer Michael Graham describes the effect the federal budget crisis is having on the nation’s civilian agencies as very challenging. Graham believes that peacebuilding, by its very nature, saves money – and lives. The scramble to maintain the country’s ability to provide critical peacebuilding capabilities under persistent fiscal uncertainty wreaks havoc on peace and stability operations around the world, he says. “USIP and the peacebuilding community have had to make hard, painful decisions, because you cannot sustain what you cannot afford,” he says. | Read the Q+A

The Big Picture on Europe’s Travails
Judy Ansley

Judy Ansley, a member of USIP’s board, served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor at the National Security Council (NSC) from 2008 until January 20, 2009. Ansley also served as deputy national security adviser for regional affairs from 2007-2008 and began her service at the NSC in August 2005 as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs. | Read the Q+A

Reflections on the Hard Lessons of Arab-Israeli Peacemaking
Samuel W. Lewis

Samuel Lewis, a former president and CEO of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), served as a career U.S. diplomat for 33 years. He held such positions as ambassador to Israel for eight years under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, during which he was a direct participant in the Israel-Egypt peace negotiations at Camp David and the subsequent Treaty of Peace. | Read the Q+A

The Risks of Isolationism
Stephen Hadley

Stephen Hadley is USIP’s senior adviser for international affairs. He completed four years as the assistant to the president for National Security Affairs on January 20, 2009. In that capacity he was the principal White House foreign policy adviser to then President George W. Bush and ran the interagency process of national security policy development and execution. From January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2005, he was deputy national security adviser, serving under then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. In addition to covering the full range of national security issues, he had special responsibilities in such areas as U.S. relations with Russia, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, developing a strategic relationship with India and ballistic missile defense. | Read the Q+A

Engaging a World in Transition Tara Sonenshine

USIP’s Executive Vice President Tara Sonenshine has been nominated to become the State Department’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. As she awaits word from the U.S. Senate on possible confirmation, she shared her views on the state of the world, America’s role in it, and what USIP is doing on the ground to help build peace and stability. Sonenshine, a former contributing editor at Newsweek and editorial producer of ABC News’ Nightline, also served in various White House capacities, including transition director at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. In that position, she was responsible for coordinating an interagency process to review foreign policy goals and priorities for that administration’s second term. Prior to that, she served as special assistant to Clinton as deputy director of communications for the NSC. She has also served as a communications adviser to a number of international organizations, including the International Crisis Group, Internews and CARE International. | Read the Q+A

Through a Glass Darkly? The Middle East in 2012
Steven Heydemann
Steven Heydemann serves as USIP’s senior adviser for Middle East Initiatives. He is a political scientist who specializes in the comparative politics and the political economy of the Middle East, with a particular focus on Syria. His interests include authoritarian governance, economic development, social policy, political and economic reform and civil society. From 2003 to 2007, Heydemann directed the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. From 1997 to 2001, he was an associate professor in the department of political science at Columbia University. Earlier, from 1990 to 1997, he directed the Social Science Research Council’s Program on International Peace and Security and its Program on the Near and Middle East. | Read the Q+A

From Nigeria to Iraq: USIP Mediation in Conflicts
David Smock
Smock is senior vice president for USIP’s Centers of Innovation. He was previously vice president for the Institute’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution. He has worked on African issues for more than 30 years and lived in Africa for 11. Earlier in his career, he served concurrently as director of the South African Education Program, a scholarship program that brings black South African students to U.S. universities, and vice president for program development and research for the Institute of International Education. He was also a former staff member of the Ford Foundation. His academic training includes an M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University. | Read the Q+A

America's Role in the World: The Costs of Walking Away
Stephen D. Krasner
Krasner is a professor of international relations at Stanford University, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research as well as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Krasner also served as director of policy planning at the State Department between 2005 and 2007, and as a member of the policy planning staff from 2001 to 2002 at the State Department and at the National Security Council. His research has focused primarily on what drives international economic relations, U.S. foreign policy and sovereignty. | Read the Q+A

Building Peace and a Partnership with the Military
Paul Hughes
Hughes is USIP's chief of staff. He served nearly 30 years on active duty with the Army. He was the director for strategic policy for the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, and later was assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. From 2000 to 2002, he was director of national security policy on the Army staff. | Read the Q+A

Handling Conflict by Peaceful Means
J. Robinson West
West is chairman and founder of PFC Energy. He has advised chief executives of leading national and international oil and gas companies on corporate strategy, portfolio management, acquisitions, divestitures and investor relations. West served in both the Reagan and Ford administrations; under Reagan, he was an assistant secretary of the Interior for policy, budget and administration, with responsibility for U.S. offshore oil policy. Under Ford, he was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for International Economic Affairs, and, earlier, was on the White House staff. | Read the Q+A

America's Global Position
Abiodun Williams
Williams is acting senior vice president at USIP’s Center for Conflict Management and leads the Institute’s work in major conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, the Middle East and North Africa. He has served as associate dean of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, and prior to that, he was director of strategic planning in the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, where he advised Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon on issues such as U.N. reform, conflict prevention and international migration. | Read the Q+A

State of Peacebuilding
Chester Crocker
Crocker is professor of strategic studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and former assistant secretary of State for African Affairs. He steps down this year from the U.S. Institute of Peace’s board of directors after serving since 1991 and as board chairman from 1992 to 2004. Crocker discusses how the field of peacebuilding has evolved since joining the Institute, where the field is going, and whether the world is any less chaotic now. | Read the Q+A

Related Publications

Armed Groups Maintaining Law and Order

Armed Groups Maintaining Law and Order

Monday, May 13, 2013

By: Bruce ‘Ossie’ Oswald

What should the relationship between governments and the international community be with armed groups, and how might that connection be managed responsibly? USIP Senior Fellow Bruce Oswald explores the matter and the challenges involved.

Type: Peace Brief

Voting in Fear

Voting in Fear

Thursday, November 1, 2012

By: Dorina A. Bekoe;  editor

In Voting in Fear, nine contributors offer pioneering work on the scope and nature of electoral violence in Africa; investigate the forms electoral violence takes; and analyze the factors that precipitate, reduce, and prevent violence. The book breaks new ground with findings from the only known dataset of electoral violence in sub-Saharan Africa, spanning 1990 to 2008. Specific case studies of electoral violence in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria provide the context to further un...

Type: Book

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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