Office of Transition Initiatives

Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

The Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis.

Since 1994, OTI has laid the foundation for long-term development in over 55 conflict-prone countries by promoting reconciliation, jumpstarting local economies, supporting emerging independent media, and fostering peace and democracy through innovative programming. 

Our Work in Crises and Conflict

In countries transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy, from violence to peace, or following a fragile peace, OTI’s programs serve as catalysts for positive political change.  In advance of initiating a new program, OTI closely consults within DCHA, with regional bureaus and missions, the Department of State, and local counterparts to identify possible programming priorities and formats. 


Seizing critical windows of opportunity, OTI works in select conflict-prone countries to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs. Strategically designed for each unique situation, OTI programs often are initiated in fragile states that have not reached the stability needed to initiate longer-term development programs.

Following the 2010 uprising in Kyrgyzstan, OTI initiated a program that included regionally-based programming focused on national and local sources of ethnic conflict and instability.  The OTI program mitigates conflict and empowers people to use new technology to increase involvement in their communities and government.

Arab Spring

After a month of youth-led protests fueled by socioeconomic pressures, corruption, and political repression, Tunisians toppled President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, 2011, ushering in a wave of political excitement and uncertainty.   In this window of opportunity, OTI began programs in Tunisia and Libya to provide support for these delicate transitions to democratic governance.

In Tunisia and Libya, OTI seeks to support the citizen-led democratic reform movements and national efforts toward achieving more equitable, responsive, and legitimate governance. These programs provide material and technical support to emerging civil society organizations and local institutions to help build democratic resiliency and increase citizen initiative and participation in democratic life.

For more information, see Where We Work.

Lessons Learned in Transition Settings

Coordination with all relevant U.S. Government counterparts, especially at program launch, is critical to the success of OTI programs, their integration into other efforts, and to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals. Both in Washington, D.C. and the field, OTI maintains close working relationships with USAID, the Department of State, and other key actors.

In Afghanistan, OTI works closely with the U.S. Government and other international civilian and military counterparts to support stabilization in a highly insecure and dynamic environment.  Operating in complex and frequently high-threat places such as Afghanistan requires OTI staff to learn, adapt, and re-target in real time. OTI's lessons learned reside in the practices, processes, requirements, and tools it continuously develops to help operationalize its goals.


For more information on the Office of Transition Initiatives, email


For media inquiries, please contact the Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs at 202-712-4320.

Last updated: November 01, 2013

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