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Centers & Programs

Center for Preventive Action

The Center for Preventive Action (CPA) aims to help policymakers devise timely and practical strategies to prevent and mitigate armed conflict around the world, especially in places that pose the greatest risk to U.S. interests. It accomplishes this by commissioning in-depth reports, convening meetings of experts, and consulting with representatives of international organizations, civil society groups, corporations, and the media. The center also serves to inform the general public about threats to international peace and security by providing a reliable and regularly updated online source of information about ongoing conflicts.
70.8 million people are displaced by conflict worldwide

Program Experts

Program Director

Paul B. Stares

General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of the Center for Preventive Action

Michelle Gavin

Senior Fellow for Africa Studies

  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    Although major power competition on the African continent is a reality, it should not dominate the Biden administration’s vision for U.S.-Africa relations, argues Michelle Gavin in her new paper Major Power Rivalry in Africa, for the Managing Global Disorder Discussion Paper series. Speakers discuss how the Biden administration can pursue strategic partnerships that align African aspirations and U.S. interests while managing competition with China.
  • China

    To avoid a costly and potentially dangerous arms race with China and Russia, the United States should consider new and creative approaches to strategic arms control. A new paper, “The Future of Strategic Arms Control,” for the Managing Global Disorder series explains how this expanded conception can enhance strategic stability. American, Chinese, and Russian experts discuss how the major powers can pursue effective arms control in the future amid growing mistrust and animosity.
  • China

    The risks of conflict between the United States and China are real and growing. This situation has left the U.S.-China relationship in a precarious place that will require delicate diplomacy in order to manage intensifying competition while preventing conflict. Panelists discuss “Major Power Rivalry in East Asia,” a paper by Evan S. Medeiros in the Managing Global Disorder discussion paper series, on how U.S. and Chinese policymakers should revitalize existing tools and build new ones to manage an increasingly militarized competition. Additional Resources For further reading, please see CPA's Managing Global Disorder series.
  • Middle East and North Africa

    Even as the United States debates its role in the Middle East, it still retains significant power and influence in the region. With intensifying great power competition, however, regional dynamics and the prospects for preventing, containing, and mitigating conflicts are shifting. Panelists discuss these topics and possible avenues for cooperation among the major powers. Additional Resources For further reading, please see the CFR discussion paper, "Major Power Rivalry in the Middle East" by Steven A. Cook.
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    Panelists discuss potential and ongoing crises that may erupt or escalate in 2021, as well as their global political implications. This event explored the results of CFR's 2021 Preventive Priorities Survey.
  • Wars and Conflict

    In late September 2020, fighting broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Although Russia has since brokered a cease-fire, the situation remains very tense and volatile. There are numerous ways the crisis could escalate and become an even larger threat to regional peace and security. Please join our speakers, Ambassador (Ret.) Carey Cavanaugh, professor at the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, and Olesya Vartanyan, senior analyst for the South Caucasus region at the International Crisis Group, to discuss why this conflict matters for the United States and what policy options are available to defuse the crisis. This meeting is made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
  • China

    Since May 2020, an ongoing military standoff between Chinese and Indian troops at various points along the two countries’ disputed border has exposed fracture lines in the China-India relationship and heightened the potential for further military escalation. Even with recent statements around disengaging troops, the standoff proved that rivalry between the two powers could affect the prospects for escalation at the border and elsewhere in the region. Please join our speakers, Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project and senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, and Yun Sun, director of the China program and codirector of the East Asia program at the Henry L. Stimson Center, to discuss these risks and U.S. policy options. This meeting is made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.