The United States Institute of Peace works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace. Created by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan, federally funded organization, USIP’s more than 300 staff work at the Institute’s D.C. headquarters, and on the ground in the world’s most dangerous regions.

USIP brings together experts and practitioners in peacebuilding to

  • Improve global efforts to counter violent extremism and promote religious tolerance.
  • Strengthen the rule of law in chaotic, post-conflict settings.
  • Rigorously test approaches to conflict prevention and peacebuilding to ensure the United States is using the most constructive and cost-effective tools to protect U.S. interests
  • Use traditional and social media and emerging technologies to improve the tracking, prevention and resolution of violent conflict.

USIP works to advance peace and U.S. national security:

  • In Iraq, USIP and its partners facilitated peace agreements in Mahmoudiyah (2007) and Tikrit (2015) that reduced communal warfare in those regions and the need for U.S. or Iraqi troops. Hundreds of thousands of displaced residents returned home and reduced the need for U.S. or foreign troops. USIP is expanding its Iraqi partners’ capacity for such peacemaking and recently supported a pact that aims to avert violence at Hawija following its recapture from ISIS..
  • In Afghanistan, USIP supports grassroots movements to oppose corruption, counter extremist messages, and promote peaceful elections. The Institute helps universities develop courses in conflict resolution, including in areas where the Taliban and ISIS are active. USIP assists the government in improving legal mechanisms to resolve land disputes
  • In Pakistan, USIP has helped develop a national strategy for community policing against violent extremism, and better responses by police and courts to terrorism cases. USIP supports local partners who use film, public art, and peace education in schools to oppose the growing intolerance of diversity.
  • In Colombia, USIP expanded the role of women and minorities in the negotiations that ended 50 years of civil war in 2016. The Institute trains and supports local organizations to devise peaceful solutions for the inevitable conflicts that arise with implementation.
  • In Nigeria, USIP is convening government officials—notably the country’s influential state governors—with civic leaders and scholars to build a national consensus on strategies to reduce the causes of violent conflicts in the north, such as the Boko Haram insurgency.
  • Across Africa and the Middle East, USIP’s Generation Change program builds the skills of emerging youth leaders working for peace in communities across a dozen countries, from Nigeria to South Sudan to Yemen. USIP recently expanded the program to Colombia to build young Colombians’ ability to support the difficult implementation of the peace accord.

Founded in 1984, USIP is funded by Congress and governed by a bipartisan Board of Directors. USIP staff work abroad or at the Institute’s headquarters in Washington, which faces the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and symbolizes our nation’s commitment to peace.

Related Publications

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

Redefining Masculinity in Afghanistan

Redefining Masculinity in Afghanistan

Thursday, February 15, 2018

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Rafiullah Stanikzai

Following more than three decades of political instability, violent conflicts, and foreign invasions, Afghanistan is home to nearly two generations that have grown up knowing only conflict and war. As a result, violent and aggressive behavior—particularly from young men—has become an accepted norm of...


To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Help Iraqis Reconcile

Sunday, February 11, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Nancy Lindborg; Sarhang Hamasaeed

An international conference opens in Kuwait Monday to plan ways to rebuild Iraq and secure it against renewed extremist violence following the three-year war against ISIS. A USIP team just spent nine days in Iraq for talks with government and civil society leaders, part of the Institute’s years-long effort to help the country stabilize. The Kuwait conference will gather government, business and civil society leaders to consider a reconstruction that Iraq has said could cost $100 billion. USIP’s president, Nancy Lindborg, and Middle East program director, Sarhang Hamasaeed, say any realistic rebuilding plan must focus also on the divisions and grievances in Iraq that led to ISIS’ violence and that still exist.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Understanding China’s Response to the Rakhine Crisis

Thursday, February 8, 2018

By: Adrienne Joy

Following attacks on police posts by an armed Rohingya militia in August 2017, reprisals by the Burmese government have precipitated a humanitarian crisis. More than six hundred thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they face an uncertain future. Publicly stating that the root cause of conflict in Rakhine is...

Global Policy

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