As climate change amplifies weather disasters and destabilizes food and water supplies, recent research is confirming its effects on the global south: Our planet’s warming is weakening already fragile states, increasing the risk of violent conflicts and accelerating human displacement and migration. Like any global shock, it is putting poorer nations most at risk. The United States and the international community can counter these rising hazards by setting basic priorities in assistance programs. Among these are to target cities with a strategy that helps local populations adapt to climate change and manage conflicts nonviolently, and to strengthen regional organizations’ abilities to tackle fragility problems.
USIP's Peace Teachers Program is rooted in the conviction that educators can be pivotal in bringing peace themes into their classrooms, schools, and communities.
On Monday, King Abdullah of Jordan will become the first Arab head of state to be welcomed by President Biden to the White House. The optics and opportunity are no doubt welcomed by the king, coming at a challenging time for his country domestically and regionally. The White House visit follows on the heels of reports of a secret meeting between Abdullah and Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennet, and the announcement of new Israeli-Jordanian water and trade agreements. The message is clear: Jordan is back as a central player and valued ally for the United States and Israel. But beyond the handshakes, the prospect of smooth sailing toward improved relations will be tested by the ever-turbulent waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite a brief lull due to COVID-19 restrictions, the past few years have witnessed one of the largest waves of global nonviolent resistance in recent history, with 2019 widely being dubbed “the year of the protest.” These movements — from Myanmar to Colombia to India — are largely focused on pushing back against authoritarianism or redressing social injustices. Less heralded and discussed is the role of nonviolent action amid civil wars and peace processes. Strategic nonviolence can foster peace in these contexts as well — but the timing and tactics are key to success.
After a decade of war and division, Libya has made progress toward peace this year. In March, a Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed to unify the warring Western-based Government of National Accord and the Eastern-based authorities supported by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who commands forces known as the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (or Libyan National Army). The GNU is a provisional body meant to lead the country to long-delayed elections on December 24. While some progress has been made — a cease-fire agreement has been signed and the executive has been unified — many challenges remain. Chief among those challenges is developing a framework for national reconciliation and addressing the destabilizing role of foreign powers.
While many students learn about conflict through the lens of violence, USIP’s Megan Chabalowski says the Institute’s Peace Teachers program offers a more nuanced, positive alternative: “It can be really eye-opening for students to see that [peace] is something really practical that you can work toward.”
For the last two decades, U.S.-Pakistan relations have been defined by the war in Afghanistan and counterterrorism concerns. With the United States military withdrawal almost complete, the relationship should broaden to focus on other issues important to both countries and the broader South Asia region. The Afghan peace process, however, will continue to be an important component of U.S.-Pakistan relations, said Pakistan’s envoy to the United States on Wednesday. “Afghanistan, for some time, did become [a point of] contention in our relationship. But today, clearly, Afghanistan is a [point of] convergence between Pakistan and United States” as both want to see peace and stability, said Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan.
Stable democracy may be an elusive prospect in Afghanistan, but that in itself is no reason to stop talking about it. Although many Afghans might well prioritize security from violence over elections in the short term, voting rights are still widely valued across Afghanistan. This report examines the country’s recent history with elections, democracy, and democratic institutions, and argues that because democracy has a past in Afghanistan, there is good reason to continue to support it.
This week’s latest mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolchildren underscores that the crumbling of human security in Africa’s most populous nation is worsening a deeper impairment, hollowing out Nigeria’s education system to create a “lost generation” of youth across much of the country. Alarmingly, one in five of the world’s out-of-school children is Nigerian. As Nigerian and international policymakers focus on the immediate crises—of kidnappings, Boko Haram’s extremist violence, and conflict between farming and herding communities—they must urgently rescue and buttress the country’s damaged education system. Reducing violence and achieving development in Africa will depend on an effective strategy for doing so.
As American troops leave Afghanistan, U.S. policymakers are trying to find other tools to advance peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government. One possible instrument is financial aid, which poured into Afghanistan during the 20-year international military presence in the country. There is, however, no guarantee that aid can help shape events. Certainly, a sudden cutoff of security and civilian support would trigger state collapse. Otherwise, though, expectations should be modest: Experience — in Afghanistan and elsewhere — shows aid has limited impacts, especially amid heavy fighting. The best course for now is to keep assistance at least at its current level, particularly for the Afghan budget, retain flexibility and keep funding available to facilitate moves toward peace and address humanitarian emergencies.