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The Question of Youth Participation in Peacebuilding Processes in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

Many of the most horrible conflicts today feature child soldiers. Considered a primary weapon by militias, these children are abused, corrupted and forced to destroy the societies they are supposed to inherit.  In their report, Timothy Aduojo Obaje and Nwabufo Okeke-Uzodike from the African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes write that incorporating youths into peacebuilding processes would help ensure they become agents of peace in their communities instead of agents of violent conflict. Obaje and Okeke-Uzodike point to resource conflicts in the Nigerian city of Jos, a former bastion of relative peace, as an example of how youth become mobilized for violence by political, religious, and economic pressures. While this and other examples lead many in the region to assume young people are inherently violence-prone, the authors note that developing youth-inclusive peacebuilding processes is one alternative to conflict, helping youth develop future prospects and positively contribute to their communities. Read more here.

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U.S. Army Gender Integration Study

As part of the U.S. Army’s Soldier 2020 effort, the Army TRADOC Analysis Center (TRAC) was tasked with determining institutional and cultural barriers to the integration of women into military occupational specialties, units, and positions from which they were previously barred. Based on extensive research and analysis, TRAC’s study team recommends full gender integration in the Army. Risks to unit morale, cohesion, and readiness will be moderate after implementing mitigation controls, so long as the Army can successfully address high-risk concerns about sexual harassment and sexual assault. Finally, the report identifies barriers to successful integration and recommends strategies for reducing those barriers. Read the full study here.

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March Newsletter – Food security and conflict
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Think violent conflict occurs because of clashing ideologies? A weak economy? Too much corruption? Yes, it can. But it can also result from food insecurity. Remember when your high-school history teacher discussed how bread riots contributed to the French Revolution? Well that’s not just ancient history. Food insecurity still contributes to political instability and violent conflict today.

So, what is “food security”? According to the World Food Programme, people are considered food secure when they have availability and adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. You’ll learn much more about food security — and insecurity — by perusing our recommended reads. The first one is a Boston Globe article that was actually published in 2015 Yes, it’s a bit dated, but we’re sharing it first since it’s a quick read that tells a good — albeit distressing — story about how food insecurity drove a revolution. For our readers who — like the GC360 team — really like quick reads, but also appreciate the deep thinking evident in academic papers and research reports, we’re also sharing two reports that dig into this month’s topic of food insecurity and its relationship to conflict.

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How Women’s Participation in Conflict Prevention and Resolution Advances U.S. Interests

Despite a body of evidence demonstrating women’s unique role in increasing the efficacy of conflict prevention and resolution, women continue to be underrepresented in peace processes. After exploring several ways in which women’s involvement contributes to the prevention and resolution of conflicts around the world, this paper provides several policy recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the United States’ security policy. The authors recommend the next president promote policies such as representation benchmarks; increased program investment; improved staffing, coordination, and training procedures; and increased accountability and oversight across government agencies. Read the full report here.

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