Victoria K. Holt

Vice President

Transforming Conflict & Governance

Victoria K. Holt is a Vice President at the Henry L. Stimson Center. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to international security and multilateral tools, including peace operations and conflict prevention, the United Nations and Security Council, protection of civilians, crisis regions and U.S. policy-making. Prior to joining Stimson, Holt was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) at the U.S. Department of State, serving from 2009 to early 2017. In that role, she was responsible for U.S. policy and guidance for U.S. actions in the UN Security Council and for its mechanisms. She oversaw the Office of Peace Operations, Sanctions and Counter-terrorism, and the Office of United Nations Political Affairs. She led the development of U.S. diplomatic initiatives, including the 2015 Leaders’ Summit on U.N. Peacekeeping, hosted by President Obama to increase capacities for UN operations.

Holt was a Senior Associate at the Stimson Center, where she co-directed the Future of Peace Operations program from 2001-2009, writing and speaking widely on UN and regional peace operations, the protection of civilians and atrocity prevention, targeted sanctions, rule of law and U.S. policy. Holt served on the Genocide Prevention Task Force as the lead on military options and wrote a pioneering report on UN missions and the protection of civilians.

Holt served earlier as Senior Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State during the Clinton Administration, following a role as Executive Director of a bipartisan campaign to pay U.S. arrears to the United Nations.

Previously, she served on Capitol Hill for members of the House of Representatives, first as Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. George Hochbrueckner and then as Legislative Director for Rep. Tom Andrews, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, from 1987 to 1994.  Holt also worked at Washington-based policy institutes on international affairs and nuclear weapons issues.  She is a graduate of the Naval War College and Wesleyan University.

Projects

Exploring how UN field missions can use renewable energy to improve effectiveness, save money, enhance security, and increase access to energy while mitigating climate change

Bridging policy innovation and field research to improve the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping

Sharing knowledge and resources to strengthen policymakers’ and practitioners’ commitment and capacity to prevent atrocities around the world.

Research & Writing
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Report
Shifting Power: Transitioning to Renewable Energy in United Nations Field Missions

Executive Summary In his closing remarks at the 2019 United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit, UN Secretary-General (SG) António Guterres committed the UN Secretariat to slashing its carbon emissions and dramatically increasing its use of renewable en…

Press Release
Report: UN Peacekeeping in DRC Offers Renewable Energy Opportunity

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), MONUSCO, could benefit from greater use of available renewable energy according to a new study released by the Stimson Center and Energy Peace Partners. Such a chang…

Report
Renewable Energy & UN Peacekeeping: Untapped Potential in the DRC

The report examines ongoing efforts by international actors in the DRC to boost the share of renewable sources of energy; articulates the benefits of increasing diesel-to-renewable energy transitions for both the operations and the host country; details viable opportunities and potential challenges for implementing such transitions; and recommends next steps.

Stimson in the News
Victoria Holt cited on the Ukraine Trump-Biden episode baffling foreign leaders

Ukraine episode hangs over U.N. event — and Biden becomes target united nations — A defiant President Trump on Monday turned the U.N. General Assembly, where foreign leaders converged to confront climate change and other global pandemics, into the back…

Testimony
Hearing on “United Nations Peacekeeping in Africa”

April 30, 2019 – Tori Holt tesified in front of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organizations, a part of the House Foreign Affairs Committees in the U.S. House of Representatives about the United Nations (U.N.)…

Press Release
Victoria K. Holt, Former Senior State Dept. Official, Appointed Managing Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Caiti Goodman, [email protected], 202.478.3437 Victoria K. Holt, Former Senior State Dept. Official, Appointed Managing Director Washington, DC — The Stimson Center today announced the appointment of Victoria (Tori…

Commentary
Preparing to Protect: Advice on Implementing NATO’s Protection of Civilian Policy

The 2018 NATO summit in Brussels focused heavily on strong defense and deterrence, with emphasis on counterterrorism operations.  In advance, NATO commissioned an article, Preparing to Protect: Advice on Implementing NATO’s Protecti…

Report
Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations

By Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly In December 2009, the United Nations released a much-anticipated independent study, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations: Successes, Setbacks and Remaining Challenges. One and…

Policy Paper
Protecting Civilians In The Context Of UN Peacekeeping Operations

In December 2009, the United Nations released a much-anticipated independent study, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations: Successes, Setbacks and Remaining Challenges. One and a half years in the making, the independen…

Report
Targeting Spoilers: The Role of United Nations Panels of Experts

United Nations Panels of Experts are small, civilian, fact-finding teams appointed by the United Nations (UN) Security Council to monitor the effectiveness of the targeted sanctions it imposes on those who threaten peace in war-torn regions. The Securi…

Report
Halting Widespread or Systematic Attacks Against Civilians

This report is based on a workshop, “Halting Widespread or Systematic Attacks on Civilians: Military Strategies and Operations Concepts,” held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Ghana in 2007. The meeting brought together f…

Issue Brief
The Origins and Evolution of US Policy Towards Peace Operations

This article contends that the William Clinton and George W. Bush administrations experienced similar transformations in their respective policies towards UN peace operations and nation-building. Although they began from nearly opposite perspectives, b…

Issue Brief
United Nations-African Union Coordination on Peace and Security in Africa

Africa now hosts more peacekeepers than any other region. As of mid-2007, nearly 55,000 UN peacekeepers, about 65 percent of the total worldwide, were deployed to missions in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia/Eritrea, Libe…

Issue Brief
From Timor-Leste to Darfur: New Initiatives for Enhancing UN Civilian Policing Capacity

As peacekeepers have deployed at unprecedented levels worldwide, the demand for police to serve in such missions has swelled.The United Nations (UN), for example, has increased the use of police from two percent of its peacekeeping forces in 1995 to mo…

Issue Brief
African Perspectives on African Security Challenges and Modern Peace Operations

Peacekeeping forces are deployed in record numbers in Africa today, working to support sustainable peace in regions from West Africa to the Horn of Africa and from the Western Sahara to the Great Lakes. While the United Nations (UN) leads many of these…

Issue Brief
US Training, African Peacekeeping: The Global Peace Operations Initiative

In 2004, President Bush announced the launch of an ambitious new program, the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), to support training of 75,000 foreign peacekeepers worldwide by 2010, primarily in Africa. Announced at the G8 Summit in Sea Island…

Issue Brief
Tracking Bad Guys, Small Arms, and Illicit Trade: The Role of United Nations Panels of Experts

To address civil conflict in Africa, the UN Security Council uses many tools, including the imposition of targeted sanctions. These measures—arms embargoes, restrictions on the trade of key commodities, asset freezes and travel bans—try to constrain th…

Book
The Impossible Mandate?

Is the world prepared to use military force to protect civilians from mass violence? In 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty argued that when nations failed to protect their citizens from large-scale violence and gen…

Issue Brief
The Military and Civilian Protection: Developing Roles and Capacities

(Chapter 4 in Resetting the Rules of Engagement: Trends and Issues in Military-Humanitarian Relations, Victoria Wheeler and Adele Harmer (eds.), Humanitarian Policy Group Research Report 21, March 2006) Soldiers are increasingly being asked to perform…

Report
On Trial: The US Military and the International Criminal Court

A new report by FOPO co-director Victoria K. Holt and Elisabeth Dallas argues that the US needs to engage with the International Criminal Court to protect the interests of its military service members. After a year-long review of US military concerns r…

Report
African Capacity-Building for Peace Operations: UN Collaboration with the African Union and ECOWAS

Peacekeeping in Africa has grown dramatically over the last five years, with the continent hosting more peacekeepers than any other region. In early 2005, the United Nations led seven peace operations there, in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Re…

Report
African Capacity-Building for Peace Operations: UN Collaboration with the African Union and ECOWAS

Peacekeeping in Africa has grown dramatically over the last five years, with the continent hosting more peacekeepers than any other region. In early 2005, the United Nations led seven peace operations there, in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Re…

Policy Paper
The Responsibility to Protect: Considering the Operational Capacity for Civilian Protection

Commissioned by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, this draft working paper addresses national militaries’ and international organizations’ operational capacity to protect civilians from genocide, ethnic, cleansing, and mas…

Policy Paper
Evaluating G8 Commitments to Peace and Security in Africa

A paper commissioned by the G8-Africa Partnership Project, led by the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House (London), for their June 2004 report, “Freedom, Prosperity, and Security – The G8 Partnership with Africa: Sea Island 2004 and Beyond.”

Report
The Brahimi Report and the Future of UN Peace Operations

Three years ago, the Panel on UN Peace Operations challenged the international community to strengthen and revitalize UN peace operations. The landmark “Brahimi Report” recommended sweeping changes in the way that UN peacekeeping and associated post-co…

Policy Paper
Peace and Stability in Afghanistan

U.S. goals in Afghanistan are broad and clear: root out al Qaeda and the Taliban forces, prevent their return, support self-governance, and ensure security, stability and reconstruction. To accomplish these goals, the United States and the internationa…

Report
Following the Money

This report, Following the Money: The Bush Administration FY03 Budget Request and Current Funding for Selected Defense, State, and Energy Department Programs, analyzes key areas of both the Bush Administration’s fiscal year 2003 (FY03) and the FY…

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