The History Of IPI
The idea for a peace institute in Iowa was first conceived after Congress had authorized the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in 1984. The following year a bipartisan group of Iowa’s leaders in government, business, and education was convened to develop a strategy for convincing the USIP to locate in Iowa. After it became evident that the USIP would remain in Washington, DC, the Iowa group met several times and gained support within the state, as well as regionally and nationally, to develop its own peace institute. Both the legislature and the governor endorsed the proposal and provided appropriate resolutions of support.
Planning sessions with nearly 100 Iowans were used in the creation of the Iowa Peace Institute in 1986. The sessions established both a long-term vision for the Institute and some practical steps for implementation. Perhaps the most significant conclusion was that Institute programming should have a practical application both locally and internationally.
After several years with a major emphasis on international programs, IPI shifted its focus in 1993 to schools and communities in Iowa and the midwest. Since then the Peace Institute has intervened in disputes using the tools of facilitation and mediation and has conducted training in conflict resolution and mediation throughout the state of Iowa and in neighboring states.
IPI’s newest program, the Iowa Concensus Project, involves working with communities to design cooperative processes for finding solutions to community problems.