About Us

The Institute of War and Peace Studies was founded in 1951 under the sponsorship of Dwight D. Eisenhower during his tenure as president of Columbia University.  Eisenhower created the Institute to promote an understanding of the "disastrous consequences of war upon man's spiritual, intellectual, and material progress."  Under its first director, William T.R. Fox, the Institute became one of the foremost research centers on international relations in the country.  For Fox, Institute scholarship would "narrow the gap between a preferred future after study and what we would otherwise get."

“ [The Institute was created to promote an understanding of the] disastrous consequences of war upon man’s spiritual, intellectual, and material progress. ”

– Former Columbia University President Dwight D. Eisenhower

In March 2003, the Institute of War and Peace Studies (IWPS) was renamed the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies (SIWPS) in honor of Ambassador Arnold A. Saltzman.  Today, the Institute is directed by Richard K. Betts.  Says Betts, "War and peace are two sides of a coin; neither is fully understandable apart from its alternative.  The Saltzman Institute is committed to building and integrating the stock of knowledge on both sides of the coin."

“ War and peace are two sides of a coin; neither is fully understandable apart from its alternative. The Saltzman Institute is committed to building and integrating the stock of knowledge on both sides of the coin. ”

– Institute Director Richard K. Betts

From the beginning, the Institute has interpreted its role broadly.  Over the years, researchers have probed the political, military, historical, legal, economic, moral, psychological, and philosophical dimensions of international relations.  Although the Institute does not take an official position on any public policy issues, its members contribute to this discourse by authoring books and articles, discussing current issues with officials and journalists, serving as consultants to government departments and agencies, and testifying before Congressional committees.

“ [Institute scholarship should] narrow the gap between a preferred future... and what we would otherwise get. ”

– Former Institute Director William T.R. Fox

The Institute itself has no formal teaching program; rather, its members conduct a wide variety of instructional activities through the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.  Members of the Institute offer courses on American foreign policy, national security, international politics, political economy, environmental policy, and international organizations.

Click here to learn more about Ambassador Arnold A. Saltzman. 

Click here to read a history of the first 35 years of the Institute of War and Peace Studies, written by Senior Research Scholar Annette Baker Fox in 2001.

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Séverine Autesserre for the Washington Post
june 27, 2014

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june 24, 2014

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