Knowledge Hub

CEP co-creates insights and centers analyses from those with lived experience to build a repository of knowledge to advance progressive change. This model encourages collaboration between local and global experts as well as joint analyses and dialogues between grassroots activists, refugees, experts, media, and policymakers to better understand the evolving dynamics and trends that shape a place and drive positive change.

By prioritizing diverse forms of local knowledge, our approach provides unparalleled insights into varied challenges and opportunities while enhancing collective problem- solving and action.

For example, CEP designed and launched the Afghanistan Research Network (ARN) to support displaced Afghan experts in research, commentary and policymaking on Afghanistan.  Based at Peacerep and the London School of Economics, ARN has produced more than 15 thematic policy papers on key issues including humanitarian delivery and assistance, the human rights ecosystem, and community-based development.  ARN has also engaged in multiple influential events and partnerships.

Through editorial and strategic partnerships, ARN seeks to preserve and strengthen Afghan expertise, amplify Afghan voices and narratives, and directly inform policy decisions on Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Research Network (ARN)

Challenging Gender Apartheid

The rise of Gender Apartheid represents a stark regression in the global pursuit of gender equality and human rights. Akin to apartheid, it is a system of governance and control that systematically dehumanizes, marginalizes, oppresses and subjugates individuals based solely on their gender identify.

For example, in Afghanistan, women and girls live under this institutionalized discrimination and are denied basic rights and freedoms, including rights to education, work, mobility, expression, and assembly. The Taliban’s gender apartheid must be recognized not as a cultural practice but as an ideological system that sustains their regime.

CEP’s Challenging Gender Apartheid initiative responds to the ongoing human rights efforts and demands for justice coming from women fighting against gender apartheid. CEP deepens understanding of its legal nature and its real life implications for women, girls and people with diverse gender identities. CEP supports activists in their campaigns to codify the crime of gender apartheid and to raise awareness and advocate for its end.

CEP leverages its networks, expertise and experience in movement-building and influencing policy to support and empower activists. Our strategies involve trainings, dialogues and communications support to women activists to equip them with tools and resources to amplify their voices and actions, build intersectional coalitions and influence policy.

CEP’s flagship, Inside Afghanistan’s Gender Apartheid Initiative in partnership with Atlantic Council’s South Asia Centre documents and analyses Taliban decrees and directives, uncovering their profound impact on the lives of millions of women and girls. Through this platform, we bring to light their personal stories of resilience and resistance under gender apartheid, told in their own words.

Recognition of Gender Apartheid ReportRecognition of Gender Apartheid ProjectWatch Video

CEP Dialogues

CEP Dialogues designs and supports dialogues, retreats and spaces for civic engagement to build bridges, foster shared agendas, influence policies and encourage individual and collective action. Leveraging expertise and lessons learned across other contexts, our dialogues bridge gaps between activist, experts, practitioners and policymakers to ensure impactful engagement.

CEP Dialogues designed and supported engagements and processes before, during and after the intra-Afghan peace talks.  This included advisory support to Afghan-led dialogues, design support to internationally-driven inclusive mechanisms and convening CEP multi-stakeholder engagements,  In 2020-2021, for example,  we directed the Atlantic Council Strategic Dialogues to connect Afghan activists with key international stakeholders and elevated Afghan ideas and experiences through events and by targeting media outlets.

CEP’s Dialogues also provide an opportunity for trust-building and informed discussions to both identify challenges and opportunities and to chart shared pathways.  Using diverse methodologies and a trauma-informed lens, CEP has designed expert workshops, dialogues and retreats with recently exiled Afghans and refugees, human rights activists, lawyers, young women, and marginalized groups.  We also advise Afghan-led dialogue initiatives focused on engaging young men and women in the region and in international policy arenas.

AC Strategic DialoguesReport on Lessons

Culture in Conflict

Cultural production and heritage face unprecedented threats today, as regressive forces relentlessly undermine its preservation, suppress its diverse cultural expressions and erase cultural identity. There is a need to shift the balance of attention from traditional assets – those that divide us – to our cultural assets that connect us and make up the fabric of humanity.

Today, for example, Afghanistan’s rich cultural and artistic heritage has been under persistent assault. Cultural symbols, rituals, and artistic expressions are at risk, erasing narratives and memories integral to Afghanistan’s diverse population. Artists, musicians, and other cultural producers are being targeted across the country daily.

The CEP-Uplift Cultural Fund supports projects aimed at documenting, archiving, and showcasing Afghan cultural practices in order to preserve cultural memory and encourage new forms of cultural production and collaboration. It also funds fellowships and placements that strengthen, enable and amplify the work of Afghan artists-at-risk and in the diaspora.

Uplift Afganistan Fund