TITLE: U.S. Institute of Peace

ACCESS: http://www.usip.org/

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a federally-funded think tank that was created in 1984 "to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts." With a budget of about $11 million and a staff of 60, the Institute provides research grants, fellowships, professional training, education programs from high school through graduate school, conferences and workshops, library services, and publications. As a non-partisan organization, USIP avoids advocacy on policy issues. In fact, when Congress founded the institute in 1984, it required that no more than eight members of the 15-member board could be from the same political party. Board members are appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by Congress. They are a mix of academics, leaders from other non-profits, and public figures.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, USIP "has generally kept a low profile and developed a reputation as an institution that is solid, middle-of-the-road and even somewhat boring." Perfectly reflecting that, the USIP Web site has a plain design. In contrast to many other peace-related sites on the Internet, the USIP site contains no anti-war banners or flashing peace symbols, but rather substantive material on peace issues. It provides straightforward information on the programs offered by the Institute such as workshops, grant awards, funding for high school and college programs and curricula related to peace studies, and a national peace essay contest for high school students.

As of this writing, the USIP site is highlighting information about the situation in Iraq. There is a "Special Report" on Iraq, plus extensive links to Web resources and additional full-text reports and essays. USIP has been conducting a "Special Initiative on the Muslim World," and the Web site provides extensive reports and information on topics such as mediation, human rights, and Islamic perspectives on peace and violence.

The Institute has an extensive publishing program. Many of their reports are freely available on their Web site. Another useful feature of the site is the digital documents found under "Library & Links," which includes the "Peace Agreements Digital Collection" and the "Truth Commissions Digital Collection."

This site is recommended for students looking for information on peace initiatives around the world.

Susan E. Clark
University of Washington
seclark@u.washington.edu


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