Impacting the World

USD donor Milt Lauenstein


Milt Lauenstein has long sought world peace. He’s done his part by launching and supporting peacebuilding endeavors, including the Purdue Peace Project, which has successfully supported locally led peacebuilding in Africa and Central America.

Recently, Lauenstein (pictured) gave $1 million to the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) to establish Impact:Peace. As part of the agreement, USD has agreed to establish a challenge to raise an additional $1 million in matching funds.

The goal is threefold: to increase financial support for peacebuilding activities; to promote collaboration in the peacebuilding community, and to research where resources will do the most good and have the highest impact.

“Efforts to limit armed conflict are fragmented and inadequate, with little evidence about where best to allocate resources,” says Lauenstein. “I’m confident that the work of Impact:Peace will contribute significantly to improving the effectiveness of efforts to promote peace.”

IPJ Director Andrew Blum, PhD, says partnering with influencers in the peacebuilding process and providing research and evidence that will inform their tactics, improve their policies, enhance their efforts and broaden their success is key.

“There are really exciting things happening in the peacebuilding field around the world,” Blum says. “Through this initiative, we can have a real impact.”

Blum says the timing is vital: Over the past 10 years, there has been a spike in global violent conflicts, following a more than 60-year decline since the end of World War II. He cites those six decades as proof that society understands how to reduce violent conflicts and that there are solutions. The quest for world peace is not a hopeless cause.

Will movements — such as the proposal to create a shift of one percent from military to peacebuilding budgets worldwide — have real impact? And how can we ensure they do?

“We plan to build a platform here at USD that can create and deliver this kind of evidence to these influencers,” Blum says. “Our core mission, our tagline, is ‘Learning to end violence.’ That’s our goal — to really make a difference in the world.”Krystn Shrieve  

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