History & Vision
The founding idea that now serves as the root of the mission at People to People International was imagined by, then, General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s heart as he liberated Concentration Camps after World War II. After becoming President Eisenhower, the idea of “Peace through Understanding” continued to grow during the unstable and turbulent Cold War. With nations on the break of another war, President Eisenhower decided to take the bold step of founding People to People on September 11th, 1956 under the U.S. Information Agency as a “Personal Diplomacy” Program.
President Eisenhower believed that everyday citizens wanted a more peaceful world and could achieve it more effectively without government interference. However, in order for People to People to truly succeed, President Eisenhower knew that this organization could not be run by the government and instead needed to be run by the people themselves. President Eisenhower recognized that this would be a monumental undertaking and asked his good friend, Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc for help. Together, they brought “People to People” into the private sector as a not-for-profit organization in the State of Missouri on October 31st, 1961 and moved the World Headquarters from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, Missouri.
Today, People to People International continues this legacy through three main pillars: humanitarian work, cultural exchange and global education. The organization is responsible for the immersive cultural travel, the education of all age groups in global enrichment and the relevant humanitarian assistance for thousands of people every year.