I had no idea until a few months ago that the United States Institute of Peace existed. This organization describes itself on its homepage as follows:
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress. Its goals are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and development, and increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide.
The Institute does this by empowering others with knowledge, skills, and resources, as well as by directly engaging in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.
They combine on the ground work in conflict-torn areas with rigorous research into techniques for creating peace. They focus their work through several centers, such as the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, the Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, and five Centers of Innovation, including one on Sustainable Economies and one on Religion and Peacemaking.
The institute also has a training and education center, through which they offer onsite courses in conflict prevention, peacemaking, and other topics. In addition, they have a few online courses which are free of charge. I am thinking about doing one of these courses.
A new building for the institute is being built in Washington, D.C. Among other things, it will contain an interactive public education center, which sounds wonderful.
I am thrilled that such an organization is actually funded by our government, but I wish it was talked about and promoted more. I think it is important for our government to officially promote and support peace as a viable option for handling conflicts (of course I think it is the only viable option, but if the government could at least support it as an option that would be something).