On May 3rd, Congressman Jim Kolbe, Former U.S. Congressman (R-AZ) 1985-2007, and Linda Bishai, USIP North Africa Director, provided staffers with an update on Tunisia. They discussed recent developments in Tunisian politics and security since the Arab Spring and also gave staffers a look at grass roots efforts to build peace among different factions in Tunisian society.
Jim Kolbe currently serves as a Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He advises on trade matters as well as issues of effectiveness of U.S. assistance to foreign countries, on U.S.-EU relationships, and on migration and its relationship to development. He is co-chair of the Transatlantic Taskforce on Development with Gunilla Carlsson, the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation. The Taskforce consists of experts from both sides of the Atlantic from governments, NGOs, foundations and corporations – it will make strategic recommendations on development for the new American administration as well as to European audiences. He also serves as an a strategic consultant with McLarty Associates, as a member of the Board of Directors of Freedom House and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jim served for 20 years on the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, and spent his last six years in Congress, chairing the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Agencies subcommittee.
Linda Bishai is the director of North Africa Programs at USIP. She has focused on peacebuilding education and training, electoral violence prevention, countering violent extremism and security sector/community dialogue. Bishai was responsible for a series of programs on electoral violence prevention in Sudan before the general elections and the South Sudan referendum and co-teaches the Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa course at USIP. She has also worked on police/community dialogue programming and developing violence prevention programming for upcoming elections in Africa. Bishai has worked with university educators to support peacebuilding concepts and courses in diverse fields and curricula.
This was the 29th event in the USIP/PSA Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention, an educational program designed to provide congressional staff with opportunities to engage leading experts and fellow Capitol Hill staffers in bipartisan forums. The program aims to build cross-party relationships, encourage bipartisan dialogue, and equip staff with new perspectives on critical issues in international conflict, resolution and prevention.