The International Peace Bureau (IPB)
The heart and brains of the peace societies
After 1870, a popular peace movement grew up and spread in Europe and the USA. In a number of countries men and women of the bourgeoisie took initiatives to establish peace societies. They would work for the cause of peace in their local communities. They campaigned for disarmament and for the use of mediation and arbitration in the solution of international disputes.
In due course a need was felt for an office that could coordinate and direct these activities. On the initiative of the Dane Fredrik Bajer (Peace Prize Laureate in 1908), the International Peace Bureau was opened in 1891, located in Berne, Switzerland. The Swiss Élie Ducommun (Peace Prize Laureate in 1902) was the Peace Bureau's first secretary-general. The Bureau published a journal and held annual peace congresses. In 2005 the IPB had over 170 member organizations. Its headquarters is in Geneva.