Following the devastation of World War II, many people were focusing on initiatives to build and maintain peace. One particular idea caught the attention of child psychologist, Dr. Doris Allen. It was a proposal for a UNESCO peace education institute for postgraduates from many disciplines. The idea for Children's International Summer Villages (today known as CISV International) was conceived by Dr. Allen in 1946. As a specialist in growth and development, Dr. Allen, could not agree that the focus for peace education should be in the field of adult learning. She firmly believed that “the ultimate source for peace, long range, lay with the children.”
From this conviction came her vision of bringing together children from all over the globe to learn to respect different and common values. In 1951, she realised her dream when delegates from eight countries gathered in Cincinnati, USA for the first Children’s International Summer Village (CISV). Over the decades, the organization grew in numbers, countries and activities. In 1979, Doris Allen was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize - the recipient that year was Mother Teresa.
Over 50 years after the first Village, this programme remains the cornerstone of our international educational activities. CISV's range of programmes has increased from one to six different types of international activities and from one village to around 180 international programmes a year.
Today CISV operates in over 60 countries and since 1951, more than 190,000 people have participated in more than 5000 international activities.
CISV provides a range of unique, educational group activities, which develop cross-cultural understanding in children, youth and adults from around the world. By encouraging respect for cultural differences and the development of self-awareness, CISV empowers each participant to incorporate these values into their lives as they become global citizens and strive for a more peaceful world.
Their work focuses on the following key areas:
They provide opportunities for individuals to learn by experience to live amicably with others irrespective of cultural background.
They contribute through research to a science of international relations and non-violent conflict resolution.
They cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes.
They inspire people of all ages to strive for a more just and peaceful world.