Mission and History
Fostering peace, cultivating justice and creating a safer world
The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) at University of San Diego sees peace as inseparable from justice and acts to prevent and resolve conflicts that threaten local, national and international peace by:
- building peace with justice by strengthening women peacemakers, youth
leaders and human rights defenders;
- broadening constituencies for peace and justice by convening a wide range of stakeholders and serving as a resource to local communities, students, academics and practitioners;
- and developing, distilling and disseminating innovative approaches to peacebuilding leadership, policy, practice and advocacy.
The IPJ was founded in 2000 with a generous gift from San Diego philanthropist Joan B. Kroc, who stipulated that the Institute not only "talk about peace, but make peace." Beginning with a Dedicatory Conference in 2001, attended by former Presidents Jimmy Carter of the United States and Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica, along with many other peacebuilders and representatives from four conflict-affected states, the IPJ has worked to bring together the powerful and the marginalized to build strong peacebuilding coalitions.
Founding Executive Director Joyce Neu, Ph.D., came to the IPJ from The Carter Center, where she assisted Jimmy Carter in peace negotiations around the world. When she left the IPJ in 2008 to join a United Nations negotiating task force, the IPJ had grown to nine staff members supported by many other university departments, was working on four continents, had been recognized as an NGO with Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and was offering over 40 events per year, including conferences serving large international delegations as well as local audiences.
In 2007, the IPJ became part of the newly established Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, which was made possible by a gift from Mrs. Kroc's estate and was the largest gift in University of San Diego history. The school offers a master's program in peace and justice studies and also encompasses the Trans-Border Institute, which was founded in 1994 and focuses on Mexico-U.S. border issues.
The IPJ is housed in a 90,000-square-foot building that was completed in December 2001. It includes an auditorium for 280, conference space, a boardroom, classrooms, break-out rooms, a production studio, faculty offices and state-of-the-art technology. The "Casa de la Paz," a residence located next to the Institute, houses our Women PeaceMakers, visiting scholars, speakers and dignitaries.