South Sudan: Congress’ Role in Building a Sustainable Peace

On April 10th, South Sudan experts Ambassador Princeton Lyman and Susan Stigant, of the United States Institute of Peace discussed the current situation in South Sudan and what Congress can do to stop the spread of famine and genocide.

Lauren Ploch-Blanchard of the Congressional Research Service moderated the discussion.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.


Ambassador Princeton Lyman

Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman served as United States special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan from March 2011 to March 2013.  As special envoy he led U.S. policy in helping in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Ambassador Lyman previously held the position of Ralph Bunche Fellow for African Affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He was also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. From 1999 to 2003, he was executive director of the Global Interdependence Initiative at the Aspen Institute.

Ambassador Lyman’s previous career in government included assignments as deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs (1981-1986), U.S. ambassador to Nigeria (1986-1989), director of refugee programs (1989-1992), U.S. ambassador to South Africa (1992-1995), and assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs (1996-1998). From 2008-2010, he was a member of the African Advisory Committee to the United States Trade Representative. He began his government career with the U.S. Agency for International Development and served as USAID director in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1976 to 1978.


Susan Stigant

Susan Stigant is the director of Africa programs in the Middle East & Africa center at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Stigant’s focus is on the design and implementation of constitution-making processes in post-conflict and transitional states. She has and continues to advise government officials and civil society actors on issues of constitutional reform in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere. Ms. Stigant also serves as co-chair of USIP’s national dialogue working group, where she coordinates the development of practitioner-focused research and tools to support and evaluate national dialogues as a mechanism for conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Substantively, Stigant’s areas of expertise include constitutional design, civic education and citizen engagement, decentralization and federalism.

Ms. Stigant joined USIP in 2013. Previously, she managed constitutional development and engagement programs in Somalia, Yemen, and South Sudan with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). From 2005-2011, she served as program director with NDI in South Sudan, where she worked with civil society and government officials to support constitutional development, elections, and citizen participation. She also worked with the Forum of Federations on comparative federalism and with the research unit of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in South Africa. Stigant holds a Master’s degree in comparative politics, negotiation, and conflict management from the University of North Carolina and Duke University.


This was the 37th event in the USIP/PSA Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention, and 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 the international conflict resolution and prevention field.

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