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People to People International History

people to people international billboard
People to People International moves to Kansas City, Missouri in 1961

Realizing the importance of uniting ordinary citizens from different countries to foster understanding and respect, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the President's People to People Program on September 11, 1956 as part of the U.S. Information Agency. The program, which emphasized personal diplomacy and nongovernmental contacts between people, was implemented by an assortment of committees, many of which have become programs that are still carried out today. 

After Eisenhower left the office of President, he arranged to have the program privatized as a nongovernmental organization that would enable people worldwide to continue on the path toward peace through people-to-people activities.  In 1961, the program was incorporated in the state of Missouri as a not-for-profit organization known as People to People International. President Eisenhower became Chairman of the Board of Trustees and was recognized as the organization's founder. 

Among the leaders who worked with President Eisenhower to advance his vision were Hallmark Cards founder J. C. Hall, Walt Disney, Bob Hope and approximately 100 other remarkable individuals from industry, academia and the arts. For more than five decades, PTPI has benefitted from the talents of countless individuals who have supported the ideals set forth by President Eisenhower.

>> View the article "PTPI Beginnings" 
>> Watch President Eisenhower's speech announcing the creation of People to People International 
>> Be a part of the PTPI story by joining our global family

"I have long believed, as have many before me, that peaceful relations between nations requires understanding and mutual respect between individuals."   - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Founder of People to People International

President Dwight D. Eisenhower with Bob Hope
Bob Hope with President Dwight D. Eisenhower
at an inaugural People to People International event

Walt Disney speaks at People to People International event
Walt Disney, an early supporter and friend
of People to People International