Fragile States

The balance of power between strong states was for decades the dominant issue in discussions of international security. But today, it is fragile states that are seen by many as posing potentially greater threats. Weak infrastructures, internal conflict, and lack of economic development provide fertile ground for trafficking, piracy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease pandemics, regional tensions, and even genocide.

As a result, there is a growing movement in the international community to find comprehensive ways to promote stronger states, as well as more effective solutions to deal with those that are already on the brink of failure.

In Fragile States, you'll find reporting from around the world—from East Timor to Haiti, from Guinea Bissau to Afghanistan. The reporting demonstrates the dangers weak states pose—and also the international interventions that appear to be making a difference.

Fragile States was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with The Bureau for International Reporting. Support provided by the Stanley Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Fragile States

February 25, 2015

Polio's Last Stand

Tim McGirk, Jason Motlagh

After dozens of vaccination workers were killed in Afghanistan, polio once again began to spread into the borderlands. The same strain is now re-surfacing in Syria.

February 19, 2015

Afghanistan: WithDraw

George Butler

What happens when after 13 years a foreign fighting force pulls out of a country and the world turns its attention elsewhere. Life goes on, of course, but what does this look like in Afghanistan?

November 21, 2014

Central African Republic: Hidden Heart of Africa

Peter Gwin, Marcus Bleasdale

The Central African Republic is one of the last truly wild places on earth, a sparsely populated country that until recently remained quietly anonymous. So why did it descend into chaos?

August 22, 2014

When Militiamen Rule

Ty McCormick

Less than three years after independence, South Sudan collapsed into civil war. Thousands have died and famine looms on the horizon. Can rebel-leaders-turned-politicians lead the way to peace?

July 29, 2014

Afghanistan: Packing Up War

Meg Jones, Meghan Dhaliwal

How do you turn the lights off on a war? Wars end when troops come home, but what happens to all the stuff?

June 26, 2014

Syria: Children of ISIS

James Harkin

How some of northern Syria’s children are being reared into a life of praying and jihad by a new kind of puritanical islamist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham.

Flying into Iraqi Kurdistan

Lieutenant Kochar Saleh Haji, of the Kurdish peshmerga, returned to Dohuk from New York after accepting the UNESCO Global Hope Coalition award, given to ten “everyday heroes.”

U.S. Special Forces See Hope in Syria

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations, who made a recent trip to Syria and spoke with American troops.

Meet the Journalist: Lauren Markham

Meet Lauren Markham, a journalist reporting from El Salvador for the Pulitzer Center and VQR Magazine about the mounting violence in the capital city and prospects of meaningful change.

Gender Lens: Refugees and Migration

Journalists and activists joined together for a conversation on the impact of gender and gender roles on the refugee experience—exploring how the most vulnerable are affected and how they cope.