In over 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat from extremist violence and terrorism has evolved considerably. Terrorist attacks worldwide have increased in number, diffused geographically and diversified ideologically. These developments in the terrorist landscape have been fueled by violent conflict and state fragility, and they present opportunities for strategic rivals to challenge the value of democratic governance and the rules-based international system.

USIP’s Work

USIP recognizes extremist violence as an expression of violent conflict and engagement in it as a form of violent behavior. Our work is calibrated to drive toward a world without fear of extremist violence by amplifying the factors that promote community resilience to extremist violence and protect against engagement in it: belonging, agency, meaning and well-being.

As a global focal point for transforming conventional responses to terrorism, USIP equips policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders with tools and insights to effectively respond to the instrumentalization of violence by nonstate actors. USIP curates knowledge, builds collaborative partnerships, strengthens capacities and convenes and advises key stakeholders on peacebuilding approaches that work across individual, social and structural levels to reduce discrimination and marginalization, bridge social divides, and promote accountable governance.

This work supports the U.S. National Strategy for Counterterrorism and the Global Fragility Act by marshalling our distinctive institutional capabilities to prevent mobilization into extremist violence, facilitate disengagement from it, and shrink the pool of people vulnerable to exploitation by violent extremist forces.

Robust Research

RESOLVE Network. USIP manages the Researching Solutions to Violent Extremism (RESOLVE) Network. RESOLVE is a global consortium of researchers, organizations, policymakers and practitioners committed to improving practice and policy with better and locally informed research.

Learning from local peacebuilding approaches. Through case studies in sub-Saharan Africa, USIP and the RESOLVE Network provide insights into mechanisms for addressing community-based armed groups and extremist violence as they relate to local conflict dynamics. The project will culminate in a local peacebuilding framework for preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE).

Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism (REMVE). This research examines how movements based on racial or ethnic superiority may feed off perceived grievances and global events, undermine democratic governance and values, and metastasize transnationally. REMVE research focuses on improving understanding of the dynamics, trends, tactics, online information ecosystems and transnational connections among REMVE movements and groups.

Practitioner Support and Community-Centered Programming

Addressing the human legacies of ISIS. In Iraq, Tunisia and Central Asia, the Institute works with local leaders, civil society and national governments to help countries and communities prepare for the return of people who traveled to live or fight with ISIS, build mechanisms to end cycles of revenge, and address communal grievances that perpetuate divisions and conflict.

Elevating women’s roles. The Women Preventing Violent Extremism (WPVE) program supports women leaders in addressing national policies and community approaches to P/CVE in the Greater Horn of Africa and Sahel. WPVE fosters collaboration and dialogue between communities and national decisionmakers and supports regional platforms for women across Africa.

Religious and psychosocial support for trauma survivors. USIP trains local religious actors and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) professionals in regions like Latin America and Southeast Asia to address cycles of violence.

Thought Leadership and Informing Policy

Reviewing the P/CVE Toolbox. USIP is undertaking an effort to understand how different types of conflict and violence intersect. USIP will explore the complex dynamics faced in contemporary conflict environments and what array of tools and partnerships across disparate areas of practice can create efficiencies, reduce duplication of effort, and amplify impact.

Global Counterterrorism Forum. USIP organizes regional workshops connecting experts and practitioners with policymakers to share experiences, develop strategies and draft good practices to manage the return of people who traveled to live or fight with ISIS.

Peacebuilding approaches to P/CVE in the southern Philippines. USIP collaborates closely with local partners to support the development of evidence-based approaches to P/CVE that complement the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Related Publications

In a Major Rift, Pakistan Ramps Up Pressure on the Taliban

In a Major Rift, Pakistan Ramps Up Pressure on the Taliban

Thursday, November 16, 2023

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

On November 8, in an unprecedented press conference, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul-Haq Kakar offered a blistering critique of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. He announced that the Taliban leadership was supporting the anti-Pakistan insurgency of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and that had contributed to a major increase in violence in Pakistan — leading to 2,867 Pakistani fatalities since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyViolent Extremism

RISE Action Guide: A New Approach for Disengagement from Violent Extremism

RISE Action Guide: A New Approach for Disengagement from Violent Extremism

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

By: Chris Bosley

On November 17, USIP will launch the Rehabilitation and (Re)integration through Individual, Social and Structural Engagement (RISE) Action Guide. The guide provides a peacebuilding framework to help local stakeholders, policymakers and program funders and implementers support people who are disengaging from extremist violence to reintegrate and reconcile with their local communities. RISE is also focused on supporting the recovery and well-being of affected people and communities.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace ProcessesViolent Extremism

In Northeast India, Manipur’s Violence Echoes Sudan’s Darfur

In Northeast India, Manipur’s Violence Echoes Sudan’s Darfur

Thursday, October 12, 2023

By: Binalakshmi Nepram;  Manal Taha;  Kris Inman, Ph.D.

Rising violence this year threatens to deepen instability in India’s far northeastern region. Ominously, the bloodshed centered in India’s state of Manipur includes elements that were visible in early stages of the 20-year-old conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. Darfur’s violence has killed or displaced millions of people and helped lead to this year’s civil war across Sudan. Tragically, both countries have seen these disparate conflicts intensify through widened opportunities for ill-governed ethnic militias and for hate speech. These evolutions have hardened local conflicts over land or water into more extreme, venomous warfare between ethnic or religious communities. Darfur’s example underscores the urgent need for responses in Manipur.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionViolent Extremism

The Future of Homeland Security: Addressing the Rise of Terrorism in Africa

The Future of Homeland Security: Addressing the Rise of Terrorism in Africa

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

By: Donna Charles

Donna Charles, director of West Africa and Sahel in the Africa Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace, testified on September 27, 2023, before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence's hearing on "The Future of Homeland Security: Addressing the Rise of Terrorism in Africa."

Type: Congressional Testimony

Violent Extremism

View All Publications

Related Projects

View All