The Iowa Peace Institute was established as a nonprofit organization in 1986 by a group of Iowa education, business, and government leaders, as Iowans were coping with the conflicts generated by a severe crisis in the farm economy and the world was entrenched in a Cold War. First temporarily housed in Des Moines, IPI found its permanent home in Grinnell in 1987, through the energetic efforts of local community leaders. It operated there until its closure in 2003. Throughout its early years, IPI focused on international peace building projects, such as facilitating encounters between Northern Ireland factions and assisting leaders of the Government of Tibet-in-Exile. IPI hosted countless international visitors from all parts of the world, as well as interns from Bulgaria, Ghana, Cameroon, Japan, Russia, and other countries to experience Iowa communities and businesses. IPI also gave Iowans opportunities to travel and experience life abroad. In the early 1990s, with the end of the Cold War and an increase in public attention to problems of violence in Iowa schools and communities, IPI shifted its emphasis to focus on conflict resolution in Iowa. While educating citizens on ways to manage conflict had always been a component of IPI's mission, the institute took this opportunity to expand its efforts to provide mediation, facilitation, and victim-offender services and trainings to Iowa schools, workplaces, communities, and families. In 2003 IPI began looking for a way to continue its mission in a more stable financial environment. The creation of the Peace Studies Program at Grinnell will make it possible to address both sides of IPI's historic mission, international and domestic, while planting seeds of peace for our graduates to take with them as they disperse throughout the world.
Iowa Peace Institute