US Institute of Peace Under Budget Cutting Scrutiny

Anthony Weiner (top) and Jason Chaffetz (second from top) both oppose funding for the Institute of Peace (left), while David Petraeus (second from bottom) and John McCain (bottom) are supporters. Photo: Courtesy of Moshe Safdie; Landov; AP Photo (3)HopeTracker| The little known Institute of Peace is fighting for its life, writes The Daily Beast. One of our readers recommended that Anne join the Institute days before she heard former National Security Adviser and Senior Adviser to the Institute of Peace Stephen J Hadley make the keynote address at the March 24 Philadelphia conference The Rapidly Changing Face of the Middle East and the Arab World.

Peace is also on the congressional budget chopping block, says Tara Sonenshine, citing ‘the four Ps’: Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, Pell Grants and the Institute of Peace.

In spite of dazzling support on the left and right, the Institute may lose a huge chunk — if not all — of its $40 million in funding. There is also the matter of its splashy new building in Washington designed by Moshe Safdie.

… to congressional budget-cutters, its nitty-gritty work of conflict resolution in far-flung places seems vague and doesn’t translate into votes back home. The institute does essential but mostly unheralded work in cross-cultural understanding and tribal reconciliation in places like Nigeria, Congo, and Yemen, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has offices in Baghdad and Kabul.

Its trainers operate in that fragile space between war and peace. During the height of the Iraq War, in 2007, the 10th Mountain Division called upon the institute to resolve a conflict with 40 sheiks. Success generally means preventing something from happening, or keeping a situation from getting worse, the kind of thing that doesn’t make a good press release.