The Peace Studies Program was established in 2004, when the Iowa Peace Institute, which had been based in the City of Grinnell since 1987, transferred its assets to Grinnell College to endow a new academic program that would continue and expand the institute's legacy of international peacemaking and interpersonal dispute resolution. The Peace Studies Program builds upon Grinnell College's long history of social commitment and civic engagement as it pursues its mission to promote understanding of the causes of conflict and creative strategies for its peaceful resolution on many levels.
Through a variety of campus presentations, curricular innovations, and experiential opportunities for students, the Peace Studies Program provides academic perspectives on conflict and peacemaking, as well as training in practical applications of conflict resolution, such as mediation training, meeting facilitation workshops, and internships. Events sponsored by the Peace Studies Program have included a symposium on "Divided Land, Divided Hearts: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East," a panel of state legislators discussing ways of "Building Consensus in the Iowa State Legislature," and talks by prominent mediators and experts on negotiation, such as Bernie Mayer and Jayne Seminare Docherty. Each summer, three peace studies-related internships are sponsored by the Peace Studies Program. Recent awards supported internships at the Center for Victims of Torture, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Minneapolis Safe Zone Collaborative, and Prevent Genocide.