Grounded in its founding mandate from Congress, and complementing its work to build peace internationally, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) serves the American people directly, providing resources and ways to engage, and overall helping to expand the American public’s understanding of the U.S. role in peacebuilding around the world.

USIP staff engage with an audience of students, teachers, and parents from 25 U.S. states at the 2018 national competition reception for Academic WorldQuest, a program of the World Affairs Councils of America, which USIP sponsors.
USIP staff engage with an audience of students, teachers, and parents from 25 U.S. states at the 2018 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 United States 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 where the United States 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 schools, universities, national networks, and local organizations across the United States to share USIP’s mission and work, and provide opportunities to learn and engage.

Areas of Focus

  • Engaging K-12 schools nationwide with educational programs on USIP’s work, year-long initiatives that include contests for high school students and the Peace Teachers Program, and additional USIP resources that teach about international conflict resolution and show how peace is possible.
  • Reaching broader public audiences—including local organizations and universities—through initiatives that educate, engage, and inform Americans across the country about USIP’s work around the world.
  • Programs for public visitor groups to USIP (*happening virtually during COVID-19) that introduce USIP’s mission and work to new audiences, and highlight the symbolism of USIP’s headquarters presence on the National Mall as part of the Peace Trail on the National Mall resource.
  • The Peace Day Challenge, which every September 21 engages schools, universities, organizations and individuals across the United States in marking the International Day of Peace with learning and action as part of a broader global campaign.

Reach and Impact

The Public Education program has connections in more than 1,800 K-12 schools and with hundreds of universities and dozens of local organizations covering all 50 U.S. states.

  • Since 2011, the Public Education program has served over 40,000 people through educational programs held at USIP, online or in local communities, introducing them to the critical role the United States plays in reducing violent conflict around the world.
  • 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 United States each year.
    • Partnerships with national organizations connect USIP with diverse audiences nationwide, from students to retirees.
  • In 2020, the Peace Day Challenge inspired activities in more than 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Map of the US

The Public Education program brings USIP’s work to audiences across the United States. In the year before COVID-19, this included visits to schools and communities in over a dozen states—from Alabama to Alaska to Tennessee, and beyond. Combined with onsite programs at USIP, virtual outreach activities, and flagship year-long programs, USIP serves the American public in all 50 states.

Latest Publications

The Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

The Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

Friday, August 12, 2022

By: Brian Harding;  Camilla Pohle-Anderson

Now that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has been reelected, the stage is set for him to settle what he has called the biggest issue facing the country — the future political status of Bougainville, an autonomous region seeking independence by 2027. Papua New Guinea is unlikely to let it secede, but Bougainville is unlikely to settle for anything less than full independence, and positive relations between the two governments will be of paramount importance in the coming years. Meanwhile, intensifying U.S.-China competition in the South Pacific creates wider implications for Bougainville’s potential independence.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyPeace Processes

The New U.S. Africa Strategy Is a Moment We Must Seize

The New U.S. Africa Strategy Is a Moment We Must Seize

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

America’s new strategy toward Africa, released this week amid Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to the continent, offers promise for a newly productive relationship, and not a moment too soon. Global crises such as food insecurity, pandemic diseases and climate change—and Africa’s inevitable move in this generation to the world’s center stage—make a first real U.S.-Africa partnership vital. Yet a strategy is not a solution. Both American and African peoples and governments now face urgent tasks to seize this moment and jointly frame concrete milestones for the implementation of a new transatlantic partnership, ideally by December’s U.S.-African Leaders’ Summit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Five Messages Biden Should Take from His Middle East Trip: A Regional Perspective

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Before and since President Biden took office, debates have proliferated around an American “retrenchment” from the Middle East. The administration has consistently asserted that it is not withdrawing from the region, only aligning strategy and resources — “right-sizing” in the parlance of the moment. Still, most of the region remains unconvinced.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

A Year After the Taliban Takeover: What’s Next for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

A Year After the Taliban Takeover: What’s Next for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

Thursday, August 11, 2022

By: Kate Bateman

A year ago this month, the United States’ longest war ended, punctuated by the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul. In the year since, U.S. policy on Afghanistan has focused on evacuating remaining U.S. citizens and partners in the country and addressing the country’s deteriorating humanitarian and economic crises. U.S. engagement with the Taliban has been limited and Washington has premised normalizing relations on the Taliban upholding counterterrorism commitments, respecting human rights and establishing an inclusive political system. There has been little indication that the Taliban are interested in following through on the latter two issues and the recent killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul demonstrates that the regime has not met its pledge to cut ties with transnational terrorist groups.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Parties Split, Rebels Rise, and the Junta Schemes

Myanmar’s Rakhine State: Parties Split, Rebels Rise, and the Junta Schemes

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

By: Kyaw Hsan Hlaing

Myanmar’s military regime has a plan for trying to establish its governing legitimacy next year: In August of 2023, the dictatorship, which overthrew a democratically elected government in early 2021, intends to hold sham elections. A critical piece of this strategy involves maneuvering Myanmar’s welter of small ethnic parties into taking part in the electoral process. Nowhere are the risks and uncertainties inherent in the generals’ plan more evident than in poor but economically strategic Rakhine State on Myanmar’s western border with Bangladesh and India.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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