The idea behind the formation of a peace organization in the United States dates to the first years of the republic. In 1783, George Washington called for the adoption of a "proper Peace Establishment." Almost two-hundred years after Washington circulated his vision to the states President Ronald Reagan signed the United States Institute of Peace Act in 1984.
Spurred by a grassroots movement in the 1970s and 1980s, Senator Jennings Randolph joined Senators Mark Hatfield and Spark Matsunaga and Rep. Dan Glickman in an effort to form a national peace academy akin to the national military academies. The 1984 act creating USIP followed from a 1981 recommendation of a commission formed to examine the peace academy issue appointed by President Jimmy Carter and chaired by Matsunaga.
Robert F. Turner was the Institute’s first president and CEO, holding that position from 1986-1987. He was followed by Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis (1987 – 1992), Ambassador Richard H. Solomon, (1992 – 2012), and former Congressman Jim Marshall (2012 – present). Marshall was sworn into office in September, 2012. In its early years, the Institute first sought to build the field of international conflict management and peacebuilding. In a 2011 letter of support for USIP, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs noted that this analytical work has “helped to build the conflict management and resolution field, both as an area of study and as an applied science.”
Under Solomon’s leadership, the Institute expanded its operations in conflict zones and its training programs, initially in the Balkans and, after September 11, 2001, in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also became the home of several Congressionally mandated blue-ribbon commissions, including the Iraq Study Group, the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, and the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel. Today, the Institute conducts active programs in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, South Sudan, and elsewhere.
In 1996, Congress authorized the Navy to transfer jurisdiction of the federal land – a portion of its Potomac Annex facility on what has been known as Navy Hill – to become the site of the permanent USIP headquarters, across the street from the National Mall at 23rd Street and Constitution Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C. Prior to its construction, the Institute leased office space in downtown Washington. Construction of the headquarters building concluded in 2011.
Read more about this topic: United States Institute Of Peace
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