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Our History

In 1956, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sought diplomatic alternatives to the wars he had witnessed as a soldier, general and Allied Commander. On September 11, 1956, he called a White House conference of 100 top American leaders, who joined him in creating the People to People initiative, focused on creating cultural exchange programs.  Participants in this conference included Joyce Hall, comedian Bob Hope, and Walt Disney, who became one of the founding directors of People to People and later drew inspiration from the initiative to create the “It’s a Small World” attraction in 1964.
Mary Jean Eisenhower
 After President Eisenhower left the office of President in 1961, he arranged to have the organization privatized as a non-governmental organization and arranged for People to People to become a not-for-profit Missouri corporation now known as People to People International. President Eisenhower was Chairman of the Board of Trustees and recognized as the founder of the not-for-profit organization. Today, his grand-daughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, serves as  Board Chairman of People to People International.


Our Mission is to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures.

PtPDE-SUSi Scholars-b-2018
Above: University of Delaware’s Global Studies Staff with SUSI  Scholars from Around the World Visiting Delaware.
Winter Session. 2018. 


Our vision is that a cross-cultural network of engaged and knowledgeable everyday citizen leaders will be an active force in creating and sustaining a more peaceful world.  People International’s participation knows no boundaries as members work together to foster cross-cultural understanding.

Below: Circles of Understanding: Viet Nam: Quoc Ahn Nyugen, Kim Burdick, Sydney Nyugen & Jimmy. Spring 2017. Kirkwood Public Library.

Circles of Understanding: Armenia. Peter Jam and Arda Aghazarian.

Student Ambassadors

photos by Michael Lynch.

For many years American students have traveled abroad on visits arranged by the People to People Student Ambassador National Office. At the beginning of the school year, a representative from the National Office speaks to students to introduce the idea of travel with People to People International. Individual interviews with local delegation leaders who travel with the students also take place. Orientation meetings acquaint the students with the geography, history, government, and culture of the places they will visit. This helps them develop civic awareness, citizenship, and other skills to prepare them to become proud Student Ambassadors.
The student travel program is currently being restructured by National. Parents and teachers wishing more information should visit this link: www. https://www.peopletopeople.com/ or contact ECE International directly. See below:
ECE International – Licensed Operator of People to People International Student Travel Programs worldwide, 821 West Second Avenue Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
US phone number: 1.844.359.2020 US-Toll Free