A short history of the International Peace Bureau: 1990 – 2017*

Written by Colin Archer, IPB Secretary-General (retired)

The end of the Cold War ushered in a particularly complex decade. Loss of peace movement momentum due to the end of East-West confrontations and the immediate nuclear threat was accompanied by a diversification of focus. Human rights, social development, gender, environment and other causes all absorbed activist energies and favoured new coalitions and political formations. These issues were highlighted by a remarkable series of major UN Summits, culminating in the Millennium Declaration and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals (2015).

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IPB Reflects on 200+ Years of Peace Movements


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IPB presented a two-part webinar series to explore the past two centuries of peace movement activities, including the role of the IPB, which was founded in 1891.

Further resources:

Presentation 1815-1914

Presentation 1915-1949

Presentation 1949-1990

Types of Peace Organizations

Timeline 1990-2020

IPB Programs Highlight 1990-2020

Peace Campaigning Recipe

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40 Years Since the END Appeal – An Interview with Tair Tairov

The Peace Union of Finland, member of IPB, has published an extensive report on the 40th anniversary of the European Nuclear Disarmament Appeal (END Appeal) that includes the account of Tair Tairov, a former Vice-President of IPB. The appeal, which brought together peace activists from both sides of the Iron Curtain sought to create a nuclear-free and united Europe in the midst of Cold War tensions.

Tairov’s work spans decades. He was not only a member of the END Liaison Committee, but organized peace marches in Europe in support of the INF Treaty, founded the Foundation for Social Innovations and Civic Peace Coalition, and represented the Soviet Peace Committee in the World Peace Council. In the interview, he recalls conversations with Soviet leaders, being arrested for participating in a meeting on human rights, and meeting with international peace leaders around the world. Folke Sundman, a Finnish peace activist  who represented the Peace Union at the END Liason Committee, provides further insights into the significance of the 40th anniversary of the END Appeal in the modern context.

Read the complete publication here.

Elie Ducommun: First Secretary-General

Few peace advocates know the name Elie Ducommun. For this reason, a two-day history seminar was held in Geneva to explore the life of the remarkable Swiss politician who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1902, together with IPB’s second Secretary-General, Albert Gobat. The ‘Ducommun Committee’ decided to invite specialists from several countries to offer analyses of Ducommun’s role in many fields.
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IPB Assembly and Council meetings, from 1990

Every year IPB organises an international conference, linked to our Council meeting. Every third year we hold the IPB Assembly, which is open to all members. Here you can find a list of all the meetings held since the end of the Cold War. The photo is from our conference in Oslo in 2010 – the centenary of our Nobel Peace Prize.
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Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

Baroness Bertha Felicie Sophie von Suttner (9 June 1843 – 21 June 1914), born Countess Kinsky in Prague, was the posthumous daughter of a field marshal. In 1891, she was responsible for the creation of the Permanent International Peace Bureau in Bern. In 1892 she promised to keep Alfred Nobel informed on the progress of the peace movement and, if possible, to convince him of its effectiveness. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905.

See graphic “Nobel laureates and Disarmament” published by UN Office of Disarmament Affairs for additional information and a broader overview.
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