Week 1: To Prevent, Mitigate, and Resolve Violent Conflict

It was a week of getting to know the members of the teams I will be supporting and absorbing as much as I could about the Institute’s ongoing work. It struck me how lucky I feel to be working with such knowledgeable and absolutely passionate individuals. Everyone I speak with is full of energy to push the Institute’s mission forward. I was also excited to learn there are three William & Mary Law alumni working at USIP!

USIP HeadquartersThe United States Institute of Peace was founded by Congress as an independent institution with the mission to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. The Institute partners with local actors and international stakeholders to build local capacities to manage conflict and build peace through training, education, policy recommendations, and on-the-ground application of best practices. They truly are all over the globe.

As a research assistant, I am hopping onto some ongoing projects of the Governance, Justice, and Security (GJS) team under the Center for Thematic Excellence (CTE). Part of GJS’s work is the Ukraine Task Force, a team formed with the mission of helping Ukraine secure peace in the context of Russia’s ongoing aggression against it. The final product of this Task Force will be a report of findings and recommendations for the U.S. and Ukraine governments on how peace can be achieved.

Other upcoming projects that I will be contributing to include an ongoing project to understand the possible prosecution of alleged gender persecution—a crime against humanity—in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Additionally, I will be assisting the Task Force for Accountability in the Area of Strategic Rivalry. The mission here includes understanding the future of accountability under international criminal law considering the competing political wills and influence of great global powers like the U.S., Russia, and China.

After one week, I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of the knowledge-building, collaboration, and action that goes on at the Institute. I am awed by the expertise of my new colleagues and the magnitude of the issue areas they work on each day. I feel grateful to contribute to USIP’s vision of making peace possible.