Issue

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

Why Syrian Christians Back Assad

Syrian Christians now fear extremist rebels more than the government. Reese Erlich reports on shifting attitudes among the country's Christian minority.

Afghanistan: The Human Factor, 2/22-2/25

Moderated by Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Panelists:

Vanessa Gezari's forthcoming book assesses the US military's Human Terrain program, which embeds social scientists and anthropologists with troops in Afghanistan. Her reporting has been featured on NPR and in The Washington Post Magazine.

Afghanistan: Virtual Tour

The Pulitzer Center is presenting five panel discussions February 22-26, featuring Pulitzer Center journalists who have reported from Afghanistan. Entitled "Afghanistan: The Human Factor," the panels will be held at George Washington University, Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Wellesley.

The video presents a virtual tour through Afghanistan, taking you to the areas from which the journalists reported.

Marco Vernaschi Wins World Press Photo Contest

The winners of the 2010 World Press Photo Contest were announced February 12 in Amsterdam. Pulitzer Center journalist Marco Vernaschi won first prize for General News in the Stories category for his work on narco trafficking in Guinea Bissau. Vernaschi's photographs will be featured in a traveling exhibition visited by over two million people in 45 countries. The contest is recognized as the world's most prestigious annual press photography competition.

Marco Vernaschi Nominated for ICP Infinity Award

Marco Vernaschi has been named a finalist for the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award in Photojournalism for his 2009 work on cocaine trafficking in West Africa. He was nominated by Karen Irvine of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

The ICP's Infinity Awards were inaugurated in 1984 to bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries. The program is well known as the most prestigious photographic awards ceremony in the world!

Haiti in Crisis

Mark Stanley, Pulitzer Center

The worst earthquake to strike Haiti in 200 years rattled the country yesterday, leaving the infrastructure in shambles and thousands dead. The quake hit just as many believed Haiti was achieving some semblance of stability; relative political repose under President René Préval and heavy United Nations presence enabled economic growth and promised increased foreign investments.

Pulitzer Center grantees Jason Maloney and Kira Kay recently reported on these hopeful developments. In their project on fragile states, they write:

Nir Rosen responds to critics

Nathalie Applewhite, Pulitzer Center

In his Boston Review article, "Something from Nothing: U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan," Pulitzer Center journalist Nir Rosen argues that counterinsurgency doesn't make sense. It asks soldiers, concerned primarily with survival, to be Wyatt Earp and Mother Theresa.