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Is Nation-Building Ever Successful: Lessons from Afghanistan, Colombia, the Balkans and Elsewhere

Keith Mines' Webinar Flyer
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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join Ambassador Patrick Duddy, Director of Duke University's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a Fellow of DUCIGS' Rethinking Diplomacy Program, in a Zoom conversation with Keith Mines, Director of the Latin America Program at the United States Institute of Peace, as they discuss Mines' new book, "Why Nation-Building Matters."

No one likes nation-building. The public dismisses it. Politicians criticize it. The traditional military disdains it, and civilian agencies lack the blueprint necessary to make it work. Yet functioning states play a foundational role in international security and stability. Left unattended, ungoverned spaces can produce crises from migration to economic collapse to terrorism.

Keith W. Mines has taken part in nation-building efforts as a Special Forces officer, diplomat, occupation administrator, and United Nations official. In "Why Nation-Building Matters," he uses cases from his own career to argue that repairing failed states is a high-yield investment in our own nation's global future. Eyewitness accounts of eight projects - in Colombia, Grenada, El Salvador, Somalia, Haiti, Darfur, Afghanistan, and Iraq - inform Mines' in-depth analysis of how foreign interventions succeed and fail. Building on that analysis, he establishes a framework for nation-building in the core areas of building security forces, economic development, and political consolidation that blend soft and hard power into an effective package.

Grounded in real-world experience, "Why Nation-Building Matters" is an informed and essential guide to meeting one of the foremost challenges of our foreign policy present and future.

Keith Mines is Director of the Latin America program at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He is an active-duty U.S. Foreign Service officer, most recently serving as the director of Andean affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC. He has published numerous articles in the Foreign Service Journal, Parameters, Orbis, the Baltimore Sun, the Denver Post, and with the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

This event is organized by the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy Program and co-sponsored by the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Duke Center of International Development, and the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy.

Contact: Rohini Thakkar