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100th Anniversary of the Peace Palace in The Hague
an article by Dr. Peter van den Dungen, Peace Studies, University of Bradford

This year (2013) we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the very first building in the world dedicated to the pursuit of a culture of peace: the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The Peace Palace

click on photo to enlarge

Among the institutions it houses today is the International Court of Justice of the UN. The Palace was constructed to provide a worthy home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the main result of the first Hague Peace Conference (1899). The Scottish-American steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, paid for the building, and was present at the opening in August 1913. He was a great opponent of war, who believed that peaceful resolution of conflict between states, such as by arbitration, was about to put an end to organised mass murder.

Carnegie was the richest man in the world, and was famous for saying, ‘The man who dies rich, dies disgraced’. He gave away most of his fortune, much of it to promote world peace. Today, there are many philanthropists, some of whom have followed in his footsteps. But more are needed.

On 2 & 3 September 2013, an international conference entitled ‘Celebrating Peace Philanthropy and Furthering Peace Education – In the Footsteps of Andrew Carnegie’ will be held in the Peace Palace. The conference will highlight major instances of peace philanthropy today – such as the gift to the UN of $ 1 billion by CNN founder Ted Turner, and the World Peace Fellowship Programme established by Rotary International.

The conference will also address the need for global peace education programmes in order to strengthen the foundations for a culture of peace and nonviolence. Several large-scale peace education projects will be presented. For instance, the creation of Hiroshima-type peace museums in the capital cities of the nuclear weapons states. This would have a major impact on popular opinion, and greatly advance the cause of nuclear disarmament.

Likewise, the establishment of Martin Luther King’s centres (like the one in Atlanta, Georgia, USA) around the world to promote nonviolent social change would be highly beneficial to reduce violent conflict, both domestically and internationally.

These and many other imaginative peace education projects require financing – and thus philanthropists who continue Andrew Carnegie’s example. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: ‘The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded’. Today’s millionaires and billionaires can do something about this. The conference is being organised by the International Network of Museums for Peace (INMP), with secretariat in The Hague, in cooperation with the Peace Palace. For the full programme and registration details, please see


Question(s) related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?,

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For articles since 2016, click here .

This report was posted on July 3, 2013.