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 2019, the Peace Day Challenge inspired activities in 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as 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 2019 alone, this included visits to schools and communities in Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. 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

After Beirut Blast, What’s Next for Lebanon’s Broken Political System?

After Beirut Blast, What’s Next for Lebanon’s Broken Political System?

Friday, August 7, 2020

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Mona Yacoubian

A massive explosion ripped through the Port of Beirut on Tuesday, sending shockwaves through the Lebanese capital, killing over one hundred and injuring thousands. This comes with Lebanon already on the brink of economic collapse, struggling to address a COVID outbreak, and as the trust gap between citizens and the state is wider than ever. Although in the immediate aftermath of the explosion some suggested Lebanon had been attacked, the cause of the explosion is likely much more banal: government negligence resulted in thousands of pounds of explosive chemical material to be improperly stored in the port for years. USIP’s Elie Abouaoun and Mona Yacoubian examine what this demonstrates about the already beleaguered Lebanese government, the long-term implications for the country, and how the international community has responded so far.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Disengagement and Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Settings

Disengagement and Reconciliation in Conflict-Affected Settings

Friday, August 7, 2020

By: Leanne Erdberg Steadman

Even in brutal and desperate conflict settings, it is possible for people to abandon violence and leave violent groups. Peacebuilders know this well—yet terrorism and counterterrorism policies and practices have often neglected practical ways to address participants in violent extremism and failed to provide them opportunities to reject violence. This report examines how peacebuilding tools can help transform the individual attitudes, group relationships, and social ecosystems and structures needed to facilitate the effective disengagement and reconciliation of former members of violent extremist groups.

Type: Special Report

Violent Extremism

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

As a struggling, incomplete democracy, Myanmar and its elected leaders face challenges that would confound any country. The best-known involve the military’s uneven loosening of a 50-year dictatorship; ethnic tensions and armed conflicts; the lack of a common national identity; entrenched poverty; and the complications of borders with five nations, including China. Less well known is an emerging threat that touches each of these vital concerns. Over the past three years, transnational networks with links to organized crime have partnered with local armed groups, carving out autonomous enclaves and building so-called “smart cities” to tap into the huge, but illegal, Chinese online gambling market. Myanmar’s leaders at every level and in every sector should pay serious attention to the alarming national implications of these developments.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Democracy & Governance

Coronavirus Throws Another Challenge at Syria’s Doctors

Coronavirus Throws Another Challenge at Syria’s Doctors

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

By: Anthony Navone

As COVID starts to surge in Syria, the pandemic poses extraordinary challenges in one of the world’s most complex conflict zones. Nearly a decade of war has left Syria’s health care system in shambles. With supplies and trained personnel scarce, medical providers have struggled to meet the needs of millions of displaced Syrians. Meanwhile, medical workers have not been spared from the violence—despite international condemnation, health care facilities have been targeted by military strikes over 500 times since 2011.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Health

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