This weekend, Americans observe Veterans’ Day. We honor those who served in our nation’s armed forces, and especially the sacrifices they made in times of war. These men and women know better than most of us the terrible costs to be paid when human conflict turns violent.

color guard in front of the capital

It was that personal understanding of the cost of war that led veterans from World War II to urge Congress to found the U.S. Institute of Peace. Congress honored the vision of those veterans in its mandate for the Institute: “to promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse to violence.” The people of USIP uphold this mission as a daily acknowledgment of those costs of war, and of our debt to those who have borne it.

In USIP’s three decades of work, our researchers, trainers, mediators and other experts—including many veterans—increasingly have pursued our mission in the same violent conflict zones as U.S. military personnel, and for the same reason. Our world is now a global village, tightly interconnected by transport and technology, in which chaos, warfare and the uprooting of entire populations pose threats to all. In 2017, this reality finds both U.S. military personnel and USIP at work in places close to the daily headlines—Afghanistan and Iraq.

This Veterans Day comes exactly 99 years after the World War I ceasefire that Americans long commemorated as Armistice Day. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower’s signature changed the event to Veterans Day, to honor Americans who sacrificed in all wars. “Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain,” Eisenhower wrote in that first Veterans Day proclamation.

USIP has partnered in its work with many veterans who tell us that their wartime experience has shown them the imperative to prevent conflicts from turning violent whenever possible. And it has shown the need to preserve a hard-won peace by rebuilding war-torn communities. The U.S. Institute of Peace calls this work “peacebuilding.” It is not only our mission, mandated by Congress on behalf of the American people. It is also that reconsecration to which Eisenhower, Veterans Day, and the sacrifices of our compatriots summon all of our nation’s citizens.

Related News

Correcting a Media Error: USIP Makes No Prediction on Nigerian Election

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

News Type: Announcement

A few Nigerian newspapers reported erroneously this week that the U.S. Institute of Peace has made a prediction about the possible outcome of Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election. USIP never makes predictions about election outcomes and has not done so in this case. The Institute’s work on elections is confined to helping nations avoid electoral violence.

Electoral Violence

Nobel Prize Strengthens the Protection of Women Amid War

Nobel Prize Strengthens the Protection of Women Amid War

Friday, October 5, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded today to Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege honors their work on behalf of women victimized amid violent conflict and will strengthen that effort worldwide. Murad, from Iraq’s Yazidi minority, survived abduction, abuse and rape by extremists of the Islamic State group and has campaigned internationally on behalf of victims of war. Mukwege, a physician from the Democratic Republic of Congo has treated thousands of victims of sexual violence amid the brutal warfare in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gender

In Memoriam: John McCain

In Memoriam: John McCain

Monday, August 27, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace mourns the loss of Senator John McCain, a military veteran who personally bore the costs of war and used his experience to seek reconciliation with former foes. Senator McCain was admired across the United States and abroad for his candor and his example in prioritizing national and human values over partisan politics.

In Memoriam: Ambassador Princeton Lyman

In Memoriam: Ambassador Princeton Lyman

Monday, August 27, 2018

News Type: Announcement

It is with the deepest sadness that the U.S. Institute of Peace mourns the passing of our revered and distinguished colleague Ambassador Princeton Lyman, the Institute’s advisor emeritus. Princeton passed away quietly in his home on the morning of August 24, surrounded by his family.

In Memoriam: Kofi Annan

In Memoriam: Kofi Annan

Monday, August 20, 2018

News Type: Announcement

The U.S. Institute of Peace mourns the loss of Kofi Annan, who served as the United Nations’ secretary general during a turbulent decade and was awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his career-long effort to strengthen the United Nations’ role. “We have lost a great soul and a relentless champion for peace, human rights and human dignity,” said USIP President Nancy Lindborg. “Thank you for your life of service and for inspiring so many to do the same.”

View All News