September 2, 2014

Peace & Security

What does it mean to seek peace? What does it mean to seek security? Are both of these ideas attainable goals in the 21st century? And if so, what are the issues that stand in the way of achieving them? And most importantly, what role do students have in creating the peace and security that they and others seek?

The goal of the Peace and Security Program is to answer these questions and more. Our vision is that every young person in the United States exercises their power to bring about a peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world. Our mission is to create an intellectual foundation among students  in the United States about peace and security issues, equip those students with the skills and resources to address those issues and mobilize them to act on behalf of creating the kind of peace and security that they and the global population desire.

Our focus is on US engagement, its history and what the role of the United States should be in trying to achieve a more peaceful, healthy, just and sustainable world. We recognize the complexity of the issue, and its relationship and issues, such as foreign assistance, health rights, environmental protection and many others. We intersect with and integrate with work on these issues constantly, recognizing that our ability to connect issues and connect people is the only way that we will ever be able to move forward.

Whether it be trying to avoid a nuclear apocalypse, building bridges of understanding between different peoples, or struggling to end all US wars and occupations, we empower students to realize their power and act on behalf of a better future. We hold as a core value that no unjust action happens within a vacuum and thus what affects one, affects all. Therefore, it is our responsibility as global citizens to correct that injustice by whatever non-violent means we find appropriate.

Luckily, you have an immense opportunity right here to fulfill that responsibility and be a part of the movement to create a more peaceful and secure world. Our future and the future of countless individuals across the globe depend on us, so let’s not waste any time.

Let’s build an agenda for peace!

Find out more about the issues and our work on them:

What you can do

  • Organize an event on your campus. Bring in a speaker. Organize a debate. Stand up and demand change. Check out our event database for some great ideas to get you started.
  • Show a movie discussing the issue. Check out our film library for a list of free films you can borrow from AIDemocracy. Films come with discussion guides and free shipping. It couldn’t be any easier!
  • Request a mini-grant to make your film or event a success. We provide small grants to help pay for materials, food and speakers. Contact us to discuss.
  • Speak out to the network. Write a blog for our site. Post something on our Facebook Page. Share photos or video with us on YouTube. Share your opinions with other concerned students like you. Here’s how you can submit materials.
  • Ask for advice and support. Not sure how to get started? Need to talk through ideas for your event? AIDemocracy staff and student leaders are here to help
  • And more…

Read more on this topic ...

Syria’s Strife

When multiple explosions went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April, all attention was drawn to Boylston Street.  The world took to social media to show support for the people of Boston and to speak out against terrorism.  Yesterday, a bomb blast in Damascus, the government-held center of Syria, took the lives of 13 people and injured more than 70.  The attack is believed to have been orchestrated by terrorists attempting to overthrow the current Assad regime. Since the start of the Syrian civil war, upwards of 70,000 people have … [Read more...]

The Death of a Diplomat

Armed only with books to donate to students in Afghanistan, Anne Smedinghoff's life was brutally cut short on April 6, 2013 when a suicide bomber claimed her life and those of 4 other Americans.  Anne, who was 25, joined the U.S. Foreign Service just after her graduation from Johns Hopkins University. According to a statement released by her parents, she "absolutely loved the work she was doing" in public diplomacy - engaging in direct outreach to the Afghan people.  Anne's parents said she "was always looking for opportunities to reach out and help make … [Read more...]

North Korea: Crazy or Strategic Savants?

Courtesy of the NY Times

Malicious and threatening chatter has been making its way out of North Korea for the last few weeks. As is typical, the United States and South Korea are being threatened by North Korea with their (insisted) developing missile technology. Unlike some past situations, North Korea actually held artillery drills on a disputed sea border with South Korea. As a result, the U.S. is announcing its intent to deploy more ground based missile interceptors, likely to Alaska. These actions are becoming all too familiar and the time has come for our leaders to have a … [Read more...]

Sequestration: What you need to know

CB Trinidad Americas Summit

The headlines of every major news station and outlet are once again dominated by confrontation between the White House and Congress. The topic? Sequestration. Here's what you need to know. What is Sequestration? Sequestration is a series of automatic cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The cuts would be split 50-50 between domestic and defense discretionary spending. The sequester has been looming for over a year. Congress pushed the date the sequester was to take affect back to March 1st as part of the fiscal cliff … [Read more...]

Egypt’s Difficult Road to Democracy

In 2011, the Arab Spring changed the political systems in many Arab countries, including Egypt. However, the road to democracy is not an easy one. The old constitution was dismantled and a new has been introduced. However, until today no constitution has been agreed upon by all sides in Egypt. Though the constitution has been passed, there is little chance that stability will be the norm in Egypt. There are several interest groups in Egypt. The most powerful is the Islamists. Then there are liberals, secularists, Coptic Christians, and the National … [Read more...]

What You Drone Know

drone

As the United States military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa, the United Nations announced it has begun an investigation into the legality of President Barack Obama's drone policy. The U.S. drone program is seeking to expand to northern Africa in response to the increase of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist organizations in the region. Currently, officials have stated they only foresee flying unarmed surveillance drones from the base, although they have not ruled out the possibility of conducting missile strikes in the … [Read more...]

Mali for Beginners

Malian soldier holds Mali and French flags

Over the past few weeks, news of unrest in Mali has finally gained limited attention in the United States. The news stories have many people beginning to ask questions about the country and how the current situation could negatively impact the United States, if at all. Mali is a landlocked, West African nation situated below Algeria. Until early 2012, the Republic of Mali upheld a constitutional democracy and foreign relations with Western countries were becoming increasingly positive. France, a former colonial ruler of Mali, was greeted ambivalently … [Read more...]

How the Fiscal Cliff Could Impact National Security

When it comes to politics, even the most professional individuals turn into passionate and ferocious arguers.

The United States has nearly doubled its defense spending since 9/11 and have fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on credit.  As the discussions surrounding the "fiscal cliff" increase, it's important to remember what the impact could have on national security. Automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin next year include $56.5 billion from the Pentagon, which is more than 10 percent of its base budget. If this amount does not change, the defense budget would be cut by $454 billion over a decade.  Going "over the cliff" could have major national … [Read more...]

Drone Warfare and the Rule of Law

The first drone attack was conducted in 2001 in Afghanistan (Bergen, 2012). Since then, the number of drones increased from 50 to 7,500, as did the total number of attacks. According to Anna Mulrine, America’s use of drone warfare makes the U.S. less safe for three reasons: 1) lack of oversight; 2) civilians are killed as well, which leads to human right abuses and, in turn, an increase in terrorists; and 3) other countries will be encouraged to acquire and deploy drones as well. However, a more crucial question to an American, or any other citizen … [Read more...]

Palestine and Israel in dialogue?

On 30 November 2012, Palestine was awarded non–member United Nations (UN) observer status. The UN “by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions … voted to upgrade the status of Palestine to nonmember state which altered Palestine's status at the UN from an ‘entity’ to a ‘nonmember observer state’” (Haney). Though many media houses around the world criticize such developments, others claim this conflict should have been left to the diplomats in the first place. Still, this development could lead to positive effects for both sides. Many criticize this … [Read more...]