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

Afghan Peace Talks: Prisoner Release Paves Way for Direct Negotiations

Afghan Peace Talks: Prisoner Release Paves Way for Direct Negotiations

Thursday, August 13, 2020

By: Dipali Mukhopadhyay; Johnny Walsh; Scott Smith

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said that his government would release the last batch of Taliban prisoners, ostensibly removing the final hurdle to direct negotiations with the insurgent group. Intra-Afghan negotiations were originally slated for March 10 as part of the U.S.-Taliban deal signed in late February, but were delayed due to disagreements over prisoner releases. The Afghan government and Taliban had committed to releasing 5,000 and 1,000 prisoners respectively, but the final 400 Taliban prisoners had been accused or convicted of major crimes, including murder. Ghani only made the decision to release those prisoners after he called for a consultative assembly, or loya jirga, to advise on the decision. USIP’s Afghanistan experts explain why Ghani convened the loya jirga, what to expect in the early stages of talks, and what role the United States can play.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

ISIS Determined to Make a Comeback—How Can it Be Stopped?

ISIS Determined to Make a Comeback—How Can it Be Stopped?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

The Islamic State (ISIS), which was driven from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq over a year ago, is determined to regain territory in the region. It will take a combination of military and financial pressure, attention to public grievances, and the repatriation and rehabilitation of people who lived or fought with ISIS—as well as those who were subjugated by them—to foil the militant group’s ambitions, according to senior U.S. officials. This already tall ask has been made even more challenging by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism

Tunisia’s Transition Hits a Rough Patch Following COVID Lockdown

Tunisia’s Transition Hits a Rough Patch Following COVID Lockdown

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

By: Leo Siebert

Since uprisings swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, Tunisia has long been regarded as the lone democratic success story. But nearly 10 years later, volatile party politics and authoritarian legacies continue to plague the transition. The October 2019 election cycle, marked by low voter turnout, demonstrated Tunisians deep disenchantment with the political class for its failure to address the grievances that sparked the ouster of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. After the elections, a government was not formed until February 2020. But months later, Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigned over allegations of conflicts of interest. In recent weeks, the political landscape has shifted rapidly. USIP’s Leo Siebert examines the political wrangling and Tunisia’s post-election political struggles.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

COVID Will Lead to More Child Marriage—What Can Be Done?

COVID Will Lead to More Child Marriage—What Can Be Done?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

By: Joud Monla-Hassan; Mona Yacoubian

The impact of the COVID pandemic continues to be felt around the world, with economies shuttered and political systems increasingly strained. Another of the downwind effects of the pandemic—one that has not been leading the headlines—is that it is expected to lead to a sharp increase in early child marriage. In many countries, when crisis hits, early child marriage increases exponentially. Nearly 10 years into its civil war, in Syria and host countries with Syrian refugees, the rate of early child marriage is now four times what it was before the conflict began. As governments and NGOs continue to respond to COVID and its economic impacts, it is critical that they implement measures to mitigate the drivers of early child marriage. This is all the more vital for countries in or emerging from conflict because a lost generation of girls will ultimately lead to stunted regrowth post-conflict due to this disenfranchised portion of the population’s lack of involvement in reconstruction efforts.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights; Gender

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