|Founded in 1919 in response to the
horrors of war in Europe, IFOR has taken a consistent stance against
war and its preparation throughout its history. Perceiving the need
for healing and reconciliation in the world, the founders of IFOR
formulated a vision of the human community based upon the belief that
love in action has the power to transform unjust political, social,
and economic structures.
Today IFOR has 85 branches, groups, and affiliates in 51 countries
on all continents. Although organized on a national and regional
basis, IFOR seeks to overcome the division of nation states which
are often the source of conflict and violence. Its membership includes
adherents of all the major spiritual traditions as well as those
who have other spiritual sources for their commitment to nonviolence.
Peace Prize Laureates
IFOR also has six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates among its former
and present members. Jane Addams (1931), Emily Green Balch (1946),
Chief Albert Luthuli (1960), Dr. Martin Luther King (1964), Mairead
Corrigan-Maguire (1976), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (1980) have all been
or are actively contributing to dissemination of the teaching of
The power of Nonviolence
IFOR members share a vision of a world where conflicts are resolved
through nonviolent means, where systems that foster fear and hatred
are dismantled, and where justice is sought as a basis for peace.
While coming from diverse religious backgrounds, we have a common
belief in the transforming power of nonviolence and reconciliation.
IFOR members carry out public education efforts, organize training
programs, and coordinate campaigns. We provide encouragement and
support to people throughout the world who are promoting nonviolence
in their home communities and nations.
IFOR members work together primarily through their local branches
and groups. Representatives from these organizations meet every
four years at an IFOR Council, to decide on policies and develop
international programs. An elected International Committee meets
regularly between Councils to oversee the implementation of these
The International Secretariat
The IFOR international secretariat in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, co-ordinates communication among IFOR members, links branches
to capacity-building resources (and through the WPP provides training
in gender awareness), and helps co-ordinate international campaigns,
delegations and urgent actions.
IFOR has extensive working relationships with like-minded non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and civil society initiatives around the world.
IFOR’s 90 years of expertise in active nonviolence is recognized
and respected by these NGOs and many others.
IFOR maintains permanent representatives at the United Nations
(UN) in New York, Geneva and Vienna who regularly participate in
conferences and meetings of UN bodies, providing testimony and expertise
from different regional perspectives, promoting non-violent alternatives
in the fields of human rights, development, and disarmament.
IFOR has observer and consultative status to the United Nations
ECOSOC and UNESCO organizations.
IFOR has identified six main areas of concern for continued
program development. Many branches and groups carry out local projects
on these issues.
Decade for a Culture of Nonviolence
Since the initiation of the United Nations Decade for a
Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World,
in 2001, IFOR members have been active in working for peace education
and in working to establish national coalitions to support the Decade.
Nonviolence Education and Training
IFOR assists groups and individuals to find ways in which
they can transform conflicts into positive and growth oriented interactions
that involve dialogue and lead to reconciliation. This is done through
various presentations and training programs, as well as through
the creation of resource materials and contact with trainers and
IFOR provides young people with the skills and opportunities
to become active peacemakers. This is done through nonviolence and
leadership training and through internships with IFOR branches and
groups, or with the International Secretariat.
Religion has on occasion played a central role in fomenting
conflict but can also be a source of inspiration and leadership
for peace. IFOR sponsors interfaith delegations to areas of conflict
and publishes material on nonviolence from different religious traditions.
Since our founding, IFOR has opposed war and preparations
for war. IFOR members support conscientious objectors, campaign
for a ban on land mines, and oppose nuclear weapons and all other
weapons of mass destruction.
IFOR commit themselves to active non-violence as a way of life and as a means of transformation. This commitment embraces all women and men who need to be ensured equal opportunities, participation, and justice in society.
In 2006 IFOR adopted a Gender Policy in which IFOR recognises that there is a continuum of violence that must be confronted, from family violence in the private sphere to armed conflict in the public sphere. Unequal power relations between women and men are one root of violence, conflict and militarization, where women are often severely abused. Gender justice means that women and men can equally contribute to and benefit from peace building, non-violent conflict resolution and reconciliation.
This gender policy recognizes that gender equality is an integral part of IFOR’s fundamental values and is a core spiritual value. A transformation of the power relations between women and men is a prerequisite for a culture of peace and non-violence, and must be promoted throughout IFOR.
The Women Peacemaker Program (WPP) is an IFOR program that works to ensure the possibility for women's access to peace negotiations and promotes the application of IFOR’s Gender Policy.