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Peace doves taking flight

The world stands at the crossroads between the well-trodden road of rising authoritarianism and militarism and an uncharted path of peacebuilding and global cooperation. COVID-19 has exacerbated conflict and fragility around the world, leading to rising violence and decimated economies that will far outlast the virus itself. By some metrics, 25 years of development have been undone in 25 weeks. Additionally, after four years of President Trump’s dismantling, the State Department and USAID are facing these mounting global crises without the resources to address them. U.S. foreign policy needs a major reorientation.

To choose the path less traveled, the Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund (FCNLEF) has issued recommendations for how the incoming Biden administration should put peacebuilding at the core of its foreign policy during its first 100 days. The recommendations fall into six broad categories:

  • Make peacebuilding a priority
    Establish peacebuilding as a central goal of U.S. foreign policy.
  • Do no harm
    Ensure that arms sales, security assistance, and military operations do not escalate current conflicts, undermine peacebuilding efforts, or exacerbate human suffering.
  • Strengthen the voice of peacebuilding and human rights in U.S. foreign policy architecture
    Increase the power and authority of the offices and bureaus that focus on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, and justice.
  • Increase staff diversity and capacity to build peace
    Align hiring, training, retention, and promotion policies to attain a more inclusive and diverse workforce with greater peacebuilding expertise.
  • Position peace at the center of U.S. foreign assistance
    Apply a conflict sensitive lens to all humanitarian and development assistance and increase support to local peacebuilding efforts.
  • Reaffirm the U.S. commitment to multilateralism
    Rejoin multilateral organizations, pay U.S. dues in full, engage in multilateral diplomacy, and ratify and abide by international treaties.

Acknowledgments

This report was written for FCNL Education Fund by Ursala Knudsen-Latta, with research and writing assistance from Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow Daren Caughron and editorial assistance from Diana Ohlbaum and Shukria Dellawar.

We wish to thank the following individuals for participating in interviews and sharing their expertise to help guide and inform this project:

  • Ann Vaughan
  • Bill Anderson
  • Bridget Moix
  • Charles Brown
  • Christopher Le Mon
  • Gordon Adams
  • Heather Hurlburt
  • Kay Guinane
  • Lisa Schirch
  • Lyric Thompson
  • Madeline Rose
  • Mike Jobbins
  • Paul Carroll
  • Victoria Holt

The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund. They do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization or individual.

This report was funded in part by Humanity United (HU), a foundation dedicated to cultivating the conditions for enduring peace and freedom. The opinions and recommendations expressed are those of the authors (FCNLEF) and do not necessarily reflect the views of HU.

For more information, please contact Ursala Knudsen-Latta, Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding at UKnudsen-Latta@fcnl.org.

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Legislative Representative, Peacebuilding
Ursala is the Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding. Ursala lobbies Congress to change U.S. foreign policy from an overly militarized and security-driven approach to one that prevents, mitigates, and transforms violent conflict and builds sustainable peace.

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