Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University from 1901 to 1945, was a noted leader in the Republican Party who once ran for vice-president on the same ticket with William Howard Taft, the Republican candidate defeated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Thwarted in his efforts to win national office for himself or any of the candidates he put forward for the Republican nomination, Butler nevertheless became a strong force “to unite the world of education and that of politics in a struggle to achieve world peace through international cooperation.” A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, his zeal for world amity also led him to the noted philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, urging him to establish the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace through a gift of $10 million. Heavily involved in the efforts of the foundation for the rest of his life, Butler served as its president from 1925 until the end of World War II in 1945. Carnegie officially started the foundation on December 14, 1910 when he transferred the money to a group of 29 trustees. Despite the close allegiance of Butler and Carnegie to the Republican Party, the endowment’s work has never been associated with any political entity.
From its inception, the organization has espoused Carnegie’s belief that global conflict can be averted through stronger international laws and effective institutions dedicated to the propagation of peace. Ever the philanthropist opposed to international conflict, Carnegie charged the trustees of the foundation with the mission and charter “to hasten the abolition of war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.” Although such a goal has always remained elusive, the “Global Think Tank” resulting from Carnegie’s zeal has continuously been involved with promoting international peace by directly appealing to the intellectual leaders of world. Down through the years, it has emphasized educational initiatives, programs dedicated to international cooperation, and the implementation of international law. Officially, the endowment is described as “a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States” – and it has done so with a strong conviction that its work should contribute to genuine change in the world. Of related interest, three famous “peace temples” stand has architectural monuments to Carnegie’s dedication to international amity: the Peace Palace located at the The Hague in the Netherlands, the Pan-American Union Building in Washington D. C., and the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica.
With centers geographically located in Washington, D.C., Moscow, Beirut, Beijing, and Brussels, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is the oldest foreign affairs think tank in the United States. In the wake of the 911 tragedy, revolutionary efforts were announced in 2006 to forge the first “international think tank” for the confrontation of global challenges – thereby reinvigorating the institution to take on a modern world plagued by vastly different problems than one hundred years prior. At the Carnegie international locations “local experts produce unrivaled work on critical national, regional, and global issues, collaborating closely with colleagues across the world. The result provides capitals and global institutions with a deeper understanding of the circumstances shaping policy choices worldwide as well as a flow of new approaches to policy problems.” Under the leadership of Jessica Tuchman Mathews since 1997, it is considered to be the third most influential think tank in the world, behind only the Brookings Institution and Chatham House. The organization sports a long list of “experts” dedicated to a plethora of scholarly topics, such as economics, nuclear policy, environmental concerns, and multicultural issues.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is comprised of a wide range of efforts dedicated to international politics, transnational economics, and global cooperation toward the elimination of violence and war. Down through the years, it has prided itself on practical results achieved through an emphasis on dedicated research, scholarly publication, and the creation of new institutions devoted to the promulgation of worldwide goodwill. The website is an educators dream, offering “free access to books for course adoption, with tables of contents and sample chapters, as well as Carnegie papers, rich-in-text commentaries, policy analysis and press releases, in addition to a well classified library of selected online sources (such as The Carnegie Moscow Center and The Carnegie-Tsinghua).” With a website that is offered in five different languages and centers located throughout the world, the organization is most certainly international in spirit and well tailored for its professed mission.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace seems to bear a common spirit with the University for Peace, which is located in Costa Rica. Both entities hope to promote understanding, tolerance, cooperation, and peaceful coexistence amongst the peoples of the earth – with the long range hope of lessening the obstacles to worldwide peace and prosperity. There is no doubt that terrorism is a result of misunderstanding, intolerance of differences in culture and religion, negative social and political trends, perceived injustices in economic opportunity, and an overriding sense of fear and the lack of open-mindedness. Critics point out that military intervention might be a short term answer to eliminating terrorist activity, but in the long run it only breeds more recruits to terrorist cells. Preventative efforts such as those evident with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace are crucial to the long term elimination of transnational radical violence, also referred to as terrorism. In the same manner that we prescribe to military academies that enable the means of waging war, we must also facilitate the means of waging peace through institutions of equal importance. We praise the efforts of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and urge you to sign the petition to which this website is dedicated.
You can help promote the establishment of a monument dedicated to all American victims of terrorism, whether they died at home or abroad, by clicking the link above and signing the petition. Nothing is asked but your signature for a good cause.