The campaign for the United States Institute of Peace's founding began in 1974 when the idea of a national peace academy was first brought to the Senate floor. A commission appointed by President Jimmy Carter and chaired by Senator Spark Matsunaga recommended in 1981 the creation of a national peace academy. The legislation to create the institute was passed by Congress in 1984 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
USIP is active in peacebuilding efforts on every continent and in unstable regions around the world, among them Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Colombia, Kashmir, Liberia, the Korean Peninsula, Nepal, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and the Philippines.
In tandem with its on-the-ground initiatives, USIP conducts research, develops new resources and tools of conflict management, and produces reports and publications used by policymakers, practitioners, educators, and a range of professionals in this country and abroad. USIP trains leaders in the field of peacebuilding and empowers individuals and local communities to prevent conflict, resolve disputes and promote stability. The Institute runs numerous education programs for young people to learn more about conflict management and what they can do in their own lives to support and participate in peacebuilding efforts. USIP staff has a range of professional backgrounds in government and military service, nongovernmental organizations, academia and the private sector.