New Usd Kroc School’s Institute For Peace And Justice Initiative Will Reduce Violent Conflict Worldwide

San Diego, CA - The University of San Diego Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) announced today an initiative that will create an agile research infrastructure to accelerate and amplify global efforts to create better-funded, more effective peacebuilding. The Kroc IPJ’s Impact:Peace initiative aims to significantly reduce violent conflict worldwide.

Made possible by donor and member of the Peace and Security Funders Group Milt Lauenstein who pledged a one million-dollar commitment, the Impact:Peace Initiative will attempt to reverse the 30-year high in violent conflict the world is experiencing. “The human and economic cost of war is appalling! Efforts to limit armed conflict are fragmented and inadequate, with little hard evidence about where best to allocate resources,” said Lauenstein. He continued, “I am confident the work of Impact:Peace will contribute significantly to improving the effectiveness of existing efforts to promote peace. After 18 years in the peacebuilding community, I can think of nothing that would merit my support as much as this." USD has established a challenge to raise additional funding beginning with a $1 million match.

Dr. Andrew Blum, executive director of the Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice and former Vice President for Planning, Learning and Evaluation at the United States Institute of Peace, has deep experience in helping organizations improve their monitoring, evaluation, and learning strategies. “We have learned an enormous amount about how to end cycles of violence, but we do more to leverage that learning to create real change,” said Blum. “With Impact:Peace, we will work with advocates, practitioners, and policymakers to identify the policy and advocacy processes within the peacebuilding field that have the most potential for impact on the ground.”

This exciting new initiative will kick off with a launch convening at USD, May 20-22. The convening will bring together world-class experts to provide answers to questions like: What are the current policy and advocacy processes that have the potential to reduce violence worldwide? What evidence do policymakers, practitioners, advocates and other influencers need most to drive those processes forward? How might we build an innovative platform at USD to provide the evidence needed to those driving these processes forward and create real impact?

The Stanley Foundation, respected worldwide for policy advocacy and the promotion of collective action, has agreed to partner with the Kroc IPJ to launch Impact:Peace, reflecting the type of deep collaboration needed to advance the initiative’s objectives.

Jennifer Smyser, vice president and director of policy programming strategy at the Stanley Foundation said, “The foundation is deeply committed to improving policy approaches and action that build societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities. We are honored to partner with the Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice on this initiative because it aligns with our strategy to ensure that evidence of ‘what works’ is included in key policy-making processes at national, regional, and global levels. Together, we share the vision that this method can accelerate action to significantly reduce the number of lives lost to preventable violence.”

Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground shared, “The evidence-base for peacebuilding has been growing for decades. Yet there has never been sufficient investment to create a robust practice-research feedback loop that can translate evidence into improved practice and — ultimately — a real leap forward in violence-prevention. Impact:Peace takes up this challenge directly and, in doing so, represents a historic opportunity for the entire peacebuilding field to learn and improve.”

Melanie Greenberg, Managing Director of Humanity United and former President and CEO of Alliance for Peacebuilding said, “The Impact:Peace Initiative shatters any myth about peace being soft or unattainable. Impact:Peace will bring rigorous evidence to bear on the effectiveness of peacebuilding in stemming deadly violence, and resolving the root causes of conflict. Impact:Peace will provide real answers and strong solutions during a turbulent time in the world.”


“We are inspired by the positive response Impact:Peace has received from these esteemed and audacious leaders in the peacebuilding field who recognize that now is the time to create real change,” Blum said, “but this is just the beginning. We invite all peacebuilding funders, practitioners, policymakers and leaders to join us. It will take all of us to reduce the deaths from war that have risen an astonishing 340% in the last 10 years.”

About the USD Kroc School’s Institute for Peace and Justice
The Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (Kroc IPJ) is the bridge between learning and practice within the Kroc School at the University of San Diego. Together with peacemakers, our practitioners develop powerful new approaches to ending cycles of violence, while advancing that learning locally and globally. Learn more at

About the Stanley Foundation

The Stanley Foundation advances multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. The foundation's work is built on a belief that greater international cooperation will improve global governance and enhance global citizenship. The organization values its Midwestern roots and family heritage as well as its role as a nonpartisan, private operating foundation. The Stanley Foundation does not make grants. Online at

About Milt Lauenstein
Milt Lauenstein is a current member and former Board Member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding as well as being a member of the Peace and Security Funders Group. Since he retired from the private sector in 2001, he has devoted himself to reducing the amount of war in the world and finding better ways to promote peace.  Previously, he has funded the Purdue Peace Project, which has supported locally-led peacebuilding in Africa and Central America, and funded efforts to support the use of evidence in allocating resources to reduce violence and build peace.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681