Ten Frequently Asked Questions About The Iowa Peace Institute
What does the Iowa Peace Institute have to do with people living and working together in peace?
The Iowa Peace Institute employs peacebuilders. They teach young people and adults how to resolve conflicts and prevent violence. When people need the help of an impartial mediator to have difficult conversations and find common ground, Iowa Peace Institute peacebuilders provide that service.
How does IPI help our families?
IPI provides mediators to help families resolve conflicts over rules, school attendance, curfews and other aspects of everyday living. Mediators also assist families by facilitating difficult conversations about tough decisions such as child custody or placing an aging parent in long-term care.
How does IPI help our schools?
IPI trains Iowa students, educators, and parents in:
- conflict management so they can learn to solve problems before they get out of hand,
- mediation skills so they can help others to solve their own problems, and
- restorative measures so that students who have caused harm in school can reenter the school community in a positive way while still being accountable for the harm.
How does IPI help our workplaces?
PI provides training in one-on-one problem solving as well as training in mediation skills. IPI also offers facilitation and mediation services to help resolve workplace disputes and promote cooperative and effective working relationships.
How has IPI helped Communities?
- trained volunteers to serve as mediators for families and the school district.
- provided multi-day workplace conflict skills training for a variety of organizations.
- facilitated discussions about difficult issues in groups including churches, organizations, and the community at large.
- provided mediation services in divorce, truancy, workplace, and family matters.
- provided conflict management workshops for the school and community groups.
- provided opportunities for internships for College students.
If what the Iowa Peace Institute does is so valuable, why doesn’t state government provide the money needed to build peace or why don’t people that use IPI’s services pay for them?
The Iowa Legislature did provide funding in the early years but hasn’t since 1995. There was some disagreement among legislators as to whether funding was just to be “seed money” to help IPI become established or whether funding was to be more long-term. The seed money view prevailed. State government agencies do use the Peace Institute’s services and they do pay for them. The governor’s office has been very supportive of executive branch agencies using our services as the need arises.
Users of IPI’s peacebuilding services (education, training and mediation) do pay for them. As an institute devoted to peacebuilding, however, IPI does much that contributes to peaceful living and working relationships that doesn’t directly generate revenue. Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot of profit in peace work.
There are so many pressing international issues that call out for attention. How does the Peace Institute see its role with regard to responding to violence in other countries?
We believe that ultimately peace between nations will have to be built on the foundation of peace between individuals everywhere in the world. Clearly, work to end violence must go on at all levels from international to interpersonal all the time. With IPI’s location, available resources and expertise, we are best able to contribute to building peace through working with individuals and institutions in Iowa, while being open to collaborating with international visitors and interns or organizations whenever possible.
Is IPI connected to Grinnell College?
No. While the Peace Institute is located in Grinnell adjacent to the college, there is no formal relationship between the two institutions. Many Grinnell College students take advantage of IPI’s resource library and some gain valuable experience working at IPI as interns or work study students.
Why should I support the Iowa Peace Institute?
Because you value people living and working together in relative calm and quiet (in peace) and people who are able to find common ground and resolve conflicts on their own without resorting to violence. Because the Iowa Peace Institute is the primary statewide organization in Iowa that is teaching conflict management skills. As violence continues to occur in Iowa IPI is the ACTION organization that is working toward violence prevention and greater understanding. Iowa Communities are not exempt from conflict and violence. Your community can take full advantage of IPI as a resource and can actually become a model community: an example of how communities in Iowa can work together to PREVENT violence and MANAGE conflictual situations.
Tell me again, what is it that IPI does?
In every corner of the state of Iowa, and sometimes in other states, the Peace Institute provides:
- impartial mediators to assist with dispute resolution in families, schools, communities,
businesses and governmental organizations, and faith communities;
- education and training programs that teach the principles and skills of non-violent conflict resolution;
- time, energy, new ideas, knowledge, and information that advances the field of conflictresolution and fosters the awareness and use of conflict resolution skills–particularly in schools.