The Center for International Policy (CIP) works to make a peaceful, just and sustainable world the central pursuit of U.S. foreign policy. We promote cooperation, transparency and accountability in the international relations of the United States. Through research and advocacy, our programs offer common sense solutions to address the most urgent threats to our planet: war, corruption, inequality and climate change.
The Center for International Policy is an independent nonprofit center for research, public education and advocacy on U.S. foreign policy. CIP's scholars, researchers, journalists, analysts and former government officials provide a unique mixture of issue-area expertise, access to high-level officials, media savvy and strategic vision. We work to inform the public and decision makers in the United States on policies to make the world more peaceful, just, and sustainable.
CIP was founded in 1975, in the wake of the Vietnam War, by former diplomats and peace activists who sought to reorient U.S. foreign policy to advance international cooperation as the primary vehicle for solving global challenges and promoting human rights
We bring diverse voices to bear on key foreign policy decisions and make the evidence-based case for why and how the United States must redefine the concept of national security in the 21st century.
CIP’s founders wanted to build on the massive grassroots roots movements that helped end the Vietnam War and to make sure the lessons of the war were not distorted or forgotten. CIP’s mix of experts from inside the government and those from outside by choice has shaped both our methodology and our agenda since our founding. Today, our programs continue to strive to achieve advances in U.S. foreign policy that fall in line with our mission.
CIP has led or played a vital role in an impressive number of citizens' initiatives. Working closely with allies in Congress, including two members who were to become co-chairs of CIP’s board, Tom Harkin and Don Fraser, CIP campaigned to make sure that a government's human rights record was a factor in allocating foreign aid.
CIP’s initial regional focus was on Asia. In the late 1970s, the Indochina program promoted the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
In the 1980s, CIP staff turned its focus to Central America. Program staff became the Washington advocates for Costa Rican president Oscar Arias's peace plan for Central America. Executive director Bill Goodfellow and research director Jim Morrell ran a U.S. campaign to publicize and build public support for first the Contadora and then President Arias’s peace plan, which ultimately silenced the guns in Central America.
In the 1990s, CIP attracted a number of senior diplomats to its staff and expanded its agenda to include reform of the nation's intelligence agencies. We continued to play an important role in Central America's post-conflict reconciliation, the effort to end the counter-productive isolation of Cuba, and efforts to condition military assistance to the Western Hemisphere on improvements in governance and increased respect for citizens’ human rights.
In the 2000s, this work, which continues today, has been augmented with various programs with an increasingly international focus—from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to illicit financial flows to the existential threat of climate change. Our programs have in common both their impact on human rights and national security as well as a research-based approach to public policy advocacy.