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

Jacob Stokes on China’s Hong Kong Policy

Jacob Stokes on China’s Hong Kong Policy

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

By: Jacob Stokes

After Beijing passed a new law curtailing freedom in Hong Kong, protests have again erupted in the territory. USIP’s Jacob Stokes says Hong Kong’s democracy poses a threat to Beijing’s legitimacy, and that if China “can’t produce enough economic growth … then that threat … becomes much more acute.”

Type: Podcast

Democracy & Governance

China Using Pandemic Aid to Push Myanmar Economic Corridor

China Using Pandemic Aid to Push Myanmar Economic Corridor

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

By: Jason Tower

From almost the moment Myanmar detected its first case of COVID-19 on March 23, China jumped to aid its neighbor to the south. China’s army, navy, and government agencies, as well as companies, showered nearly every level of Myanmar’s government and military with health assistance. The question for Myanmar civil society groups was whether the help came with strings attached. On May 21, they got their answer: After a phone call between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Myanmar’s President U Win Myint about COVID-19 response and Chinese assistance, Xi moved to a second agenda item—the implementation of 33 cooperative economic agreements signed during his historic visit to Myanmar in January. Of particular concern: co-construction of the multi-billion-dollar China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Global Health

The Coronavirus Challenges Myanmar’s Transition

The Coronavirus Challenges Myanmar’s Transition

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

By: Kyi Kyi Seinn

Like other nations dealing with armed conflicts, Myanmar faces destabilizing risks from the COVID pandemic. The country’s young democratic transition depends on a general election expected in November, yet the government and civil society are overburdened with the struggle against the coronavirus. Meanwhile, signs are growing that the army is using the COVID emergency to strengthen its influence over government and society. Preparing a fair, inclusive election amid this crisis poses the toughest test in years for Myanmar’s democratic transition—and the process must begin in earnest now.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Rival Afghan Leaders Agree to Share Power—Now Comes the Hard Part

Rival Afghan Leaders Agree to Share Power—Now Comes the Hard Part

Thursday, May 21, 2020

By: Scott Worden; Johnny Walsh

Last weekend, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal to end a months-long dispute over the 2019 presidential election. The deal comes amid a spate of high-profile violence, including a recent attack on a Kabul maternity ward by suspected ISIS perpetrators. Meanwhile, the Afghan peace process has stalled since the U.S.-Taliban deal signed at the end of February. The power-sharing agreement could address one of the key challenges to getting that process back on track. USIP’s Scott Worden and Johnny Walsh look at what the agreement entails and what it means for the peace process.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Peace Processes

Diplomacy, Development and Defense Officials Pledge To Advance U.S. Fragility Strategy

Diplomacy, Development and Defense Officials Pledge To Advance U.S. Fragility Strategy

Thursday, May 21, 2020

By: Corinne Graff; Amanda Long

The United States is committed to advancing the Global Fragility Act (GFA) as part of its global response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior State Department, USAID and Department of Defense officials said on Wednesday at a virtual gathering of development and peacebuilding organizations and experts convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace to facilitate discussions on how to implement the legislation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience; Global Health

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