Complementing its work to build peace internationally, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) also serves the American people directly as a core part of its founding mandate from Congress.

USIP President Nancy Lindborg addresses an audience of students, teachers and parents from 30 U.S. states at the 2017 national competition reception for Academic WorldQuest, a program of the World Affairs Councils of America, which USIP sponsors
USIP President & CEO Nancy Lindborg addresses an audience of students, teachers and parents from 30 U.S. states at the 2017 national competition reception for Academic WorldQuest, a program of the World Affairs Councils of America, which USIP sponsors

Indeed, the American public played a significant role in USIP’s creation in the first place. In the 1970s, everyday Americans spurred on congressional leaders who had served in the devastating wars of the 20th century, supporting their pursuit of a national institution that would help the U.S. manage and resolve international conflicts.

Today, as a new set of violent conflicts dominate international headlines, it is as important as ever to highlight for the American people the range of practical options that exist to make peace possible, and examples of peacebuilding in action.

This is especially important for younger Americans, who have come up after 9/11 and know only a world in which the U.S. is engaged militarily overseas and threats of terrorism and extremism loom large.

USIP is a resource for the government and for the American people, demonstrating this country’s commitment to peace through practical action. Since the move to its iconic headquarters near the National Mall in 2011, USIP has had a dedicated public education and national outreach program, focused on educating a broad public audience about how international conflicts can be resolved without violence, how peace is achieved, and why it matters.

What We Do

The Public Education program works with Americans across the United States—from educators and students to schools and organizations—to share USIP’s mission and work, and provide opportunities to learn and engage.

We offer:

  • Educational programs at USIP’s headquarters, speaking engagements at venues across the country, and virtual programs that connect USIP with classrooms and audiences.
  • Flagship year-long programs including the Peace Teachers program for educators and three national contests for students that promote learning and inspire action.
  • Signature resources including the Peace Trail on the National Mall, USIP’s Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators, the Peace Club Starter Kit for students, and a range of additional online materials.
  • The Peace Day Challenge, which every September engages schools and communities across the U.S., and organizational partners locally, nationally and beyond, in a day of action for peace.

Reach and IMPACT

  • Since 2011, the Public Education program has hosted over 24,000 American students, educators, and other visitors for onsite briefings and workshops, introducing them to the critical role the U.S. plays in reducing violent conflict around the world
    • An additional 15,000 people have been reached through Public Education’s speaking engagements across the country.
  • Each year, outreach activities bring USIP’s experts and resources to schools and communities in every state:
    • Contests for students engage at least 5,500 school-age Americans over the academic year.
    • Programs for educators directly reach over 500 teachers from across the U.S. each year.
    • Partnerships with national organizations connect USIP with diverse audiences nationwide, from students to retirees.
  • In 2018, the Peace Day Challenge reached 50,000 middle school classrooms across all 50 U.S. states, and inspired actions by individuals and organizations in all corners of the country, with millions more reached on social media

Ways to Engage

  • Sign up for our email list to receive Public Education’s quarterly newsletter
  • Follow USIP’s events and activities by tuning in to webcasts and podcasts
  • Request a group visit to USIP, or contact us to invite a USIP speaker to your classroom or community
  • Mark your calendar for September 21 and take up the Peace Day Challenge with USIP!
Map of the US

The Public Education program brings USIP’s work to audiences across the United States. In 2018 alone, this included visits to schools and communities in Montana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Florida. Combined with onsite programs at USIP for visiting groups, virtual outreach activities, and flagship year-long programs for students and educators, USIP serves the American public in all 50 states.

Latest Publications

Central Asia and Coronavirus: When Being Nomadic Isn’t Enough

Central Asia and Coronavirus: When Being Nomadic Isn’t Enough

Friday, April 3, 2020

By: Gavin Helf, Ph.D.

“Do you know how nomads prevent conflict?” a Kazakh friend once asked me. “I turn this way; you turn the other way. We start walking.” In ordinary times in Central Asia, this traditional “social distancing” may be enough to avert friction. But in a time of pandemic, it isn’t. Like elsewhere, the novel coronavirus is challenging Central Asian states and societies in new ways and revealing a great deal about the character of peoples and their governments. Here’s a look across the region at how the crisis has affected its states and how leaders have responded.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

Six Challenges Facing a Fragile Middle East Amid Coronavirus

Six Challenges Facing a Fragile Middle East Amid Coronavirus

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven a challenge even for wealthy countries with the most robust health care systems. For the Middle East—a region with no shortage of dangerous pre-existing conditions—it could be far worse. The virus now appears to be spreading to a part of the world where, over the past decade, conflict and displacement have become widespread while effective governance and social cohesion have eroded.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

In Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians Face a Common Foe in Coronavirus

In Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians Face a Common Foe in Coronavirus

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen; Robert Barron

On March 22, authorities in Gaza affirmed the inevitable: the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip. Gazan officials reported that the two men were immediately quarantined upon entry via Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with the enclave and have remained there, along with all those who had been in contact with them. Yet, since then, the number of confirmed cases has jumped to 10, and the question of how long a further spread of the virus into Gaza can be contained weighs heavily for this densely populated territory, long beleaguered by wars and severe deficiencies in its healthcare infrastructure.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Pakistan’s Looming Coronavirus Crisis

Pakistan’s Looming Coronavirus Crisis

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By: Cyril Almeida; Richard Olson

In the weeks since Pakistan’s first confirmed cases of coronavirus, the country’s response has laid bare troubling weaknesses in governance, public health, and economic stability—and raised serious questions about Pakistan’s capacity to weather a large-scale outbreak absent significant international assistance. USIP’s Cyril Almeida and Ambassador Richard Olson look at how friction between the military and federal government poses a risk to Pakistan’s democracy, the possible avenues for medical and economic relief, and what COVID-19 means for the situation in Kashmir and Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Fragility & Resilience

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