The World Peace Foundation (WPF) is an operating foundation affiliated solely with Tufts University’s The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. It provides financial support only for projects that the Foundation has initiated itself.
WPF aims to provide intellectual leadership for peace. Our view is that the world needs a debate about world peace, drawing rigorously on evidence and theory.
The World Peace Foundation was established by Edwin Ginn, a Boston-based publisher of educational texts and an advocate for international peace. Created initially as the International School of Peace on July 12, 1910, the WPF was tasked with educating a global audience about the ills of war and promoting international peace.
The original 1910 articles of incorporation state:
We see no reason to alter these stated objectives. Nonetheless, today’s context is very different.
A hundred years ago, achieving world peace was identified as the absence of armed conflict among nations, the settlement of international disputes through mechanisms of negotiation and arbitration, and a reduction in spending on arms and armies. Edwin Ginn and others in the early twentieth century peace movement sincerely believed that world peace could be achieved within their lifetimes. The events of the succeeding decades profoundly damaged their optimism, to the degree that advocacy for world peace came to be discounted as naïve.
Today, a century later, Ginn’s idealism seems less misplaced. Two of the three pillars of world peace that he identified have been constructed: inter-state cooperation through the United Nations and other bodies, and mechanisms for the lawful and nonviolent resolution of international disputes. By contrast, his third goal of disarmament has not been achieved. Meanwhile, especially in the last half century, the number and intensity of violent conflicts has fallen, and their nature has changed. Today, war is often pursued by non-state actors, including informal globalized networks, and most violence takes place within countries, with blurred boundaries between armed conflict, crime and the enforcement of government will.
The very progress that has been made in tackling the scourge of war compels us to recognize the complexities of sustaining that progress, while the nature of armed conflict is itself being transformed. This is the challenge of “reinventing peace”: recognizing the achievements of the enlightenment and liberal internationalist vision of a peaceful world, that has contributed so much, while also challenging it and fashioning a new vision of peace appropriate for the new century.
For these reasons, the World Peace Foundation is positioning itself as a fulcrum for intellectual leadership on issues of peace, including justice and security. Drawing on Ginn’s vision and legacy, the WPF has embarked on a pioneering founded on three interconnected forms of activity: research, education, and policy engagement.
In 2011, the World Peace Foundation established a program at the first graduate-only school of international affairs in the United States, Tufts University’s The Fletcher School, under Executive Director Alex de Waal.
The WPF does not make grants to outside organizations and individuals.
World Peace Foundation
Fletcher School, Tufts University
169 Holland Street, Suite 209
Somerville, MA 02144
Tel: (617) 627-2255