For more than 50 years, Elise Boulding has helped to create networks of peace. Her work is founded in her Quaker faith and a spirituality that is grounded in listening and sharing. She has a special gift for envisioning a peaceful future and teaching others how to use envisioning to create peace. Elise cofounded the International Peace Research Association with her husband and served as its secretary general. Since its beginning, the organization has held 17 conferences in 16 countries. Elise is also former president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
Norway was Elise's "safe place". Although she had grown up in the United States since the age of three, her bilingual parents spoke often of the beauty and peace of their home country. She was a college student when Norway was invaded during World War II, and was deeply affected. Elise's safe place was gone. Her profound understanding that peace was not a place, but a process, led her to join the Quaker faith, which is committed to dealing with violence by "reaching that of God in every human being". Her years of organization and scholarship (she was chair of the sociology department at Dartmouth College) were also spent mothering five children. Her holistic approach to peace is grounded in everyday experiences. The conflict resolution skills she observed in her children's backyard sand play were the same ones required for international treaty negotiation at its best: listening, dialoguing, and sharing. Central to Elise's uniqueness is her feeling and description of the "we-ness" of a world society and citizenship on planet earth. She brought the study of peace to academic stature through her development of courses at Dartmouth, and is recognized for her ability to write about nonviolence as both a philosophy and a practice. Through their organization, the International Peace Research Association, Elise and her husband have connected scholars and activists around the world in a quest for nonviolent conflict resolution. Elise served on the Board of Advisers of the Quaker UN Office and worked with Unesco's department of social science. A prolific author, she has written numerous books and helped launch newsletters for organizations such as Women Strike Peace. She was appointed by president Carter to the US Commission on Proposals for a National Academy of Peace and Conflict (now the US Institute of Peace) and was a 1990 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
International Peace Research Association Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) US Institute of Peace