An Era of Hope
It was the era of Esperanto, women's suffrage campaigns, tenement reform, and, thanks to Andrew Carnegie, a lending library for every town, or at least every town that requested one. It was the start of the 20th century, and advanced travel and communications—railroads, transatlantic shipping, the telegraph—had made the world much smaller.
Who could doubt that a new and improved world was dawning?
This timeline is based on the book Toward Peace with Justice: One Hundred Years of the Carnegie Council by Kate Hallgren.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
The wealthiest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie was perhaps the first to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes.
His 1889 work The Gospel of Wealth asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one's family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.
During his lifetime, Carnegie gave away over $350 million.
Andrew Carnegie's Vision of World Peace
The most important cause of Andrew Carnegie's later years was international peace, which he believed would be achieved through arbitration treaties, an international court, and disarmament.
He expected to witness this in his lifetime. But it was not to be.
February 10, 1914
Founding of the Church Peace Union (CPU)
"This is an adventure such as has never been tried before," announced Andrew Carnegie. He was addressing 29 of America's greatest religious leaders from 12 religious sects, an interfaith initative that was a first for its time.
Carnegie had called them together to found his last philanthropic venture, the Church Peace Union. (Read the complete text of the Resolutions passed that day.)
He told his new organization that theirs was a "divine mission" to end war. Once that goal was achieved—which he had no doubt would be soon—they should disband and give the CPU's funds to the poor.
William P. Merrill
Rev. William P. Merrill was a Presbyterian minister, author, and renowned composer of hymns, some of which are still sung today.
Andrew Carnegie personally chose Merrill to be one of the original Church Peace Union trustees, a post he held until 1953. He was also the CPU's first president.
By the time of his death, Merrill was one of America’s best-known clergymen.
Today, one of Carnegie Council’s twin buildings—Merrill House—is named after him.
World War I Breaks Out
For its inaugural international event, the Church Peace Union sponsored a conference to be held on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany on August 1, 1914.
It was the eve of the German invasion of Belgium. Trains carrying delegates were turned back; other delegates were imprisoned by the Germans and detained for several weeks.
Despite its inauspicious beginning, the CPU thrived. In 1915 and 1916, it launched an ambitious nationwide peace education program in the churches and Sunday schools. The CPU also campaigned for issues such as decreased defense spending and the elimination of military training in public schools.
The Church Peace Union and the Great War: Embracing War to Achieve Peace
Like many contemporary peace groups, the Church Peace Union faced difficult internal divisions over President Wilson's declaration of war.
The stalemate broke by December 1917, when the organization’s leadership issued a report on its new goals, allying itself wholeheartedly with the Wilson administration and the war effort.
Henry A. Atkinson, Church Peace Union General Secretary, 1918-1955
Rev. Henry Atkinson was an academic, minister, author, and peace activist. He spent much time in Europe on behalf of the CPU and in the 1920s he visited India, China, and Japan to survey religions in Asia.
Atkinson served on the boards of numerous organizations that worked to promote the rights of religious minorities, and denounced the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany early on in the 1930s. Following World War II, he was a strong advocate for, and subsequently a supporter of, the state of Israel.
The League of Nations
In the Church Peace Union's most significant policy move during World War I, and in a commitment that would shape the group's work for decades, the board agreed to promote a "world organization for lasting peace" to American ministers and the public through the churches, cooperating closely with President Woodrow Wilson.
In this way, the organization was able to seize the opportunity to help shape the design of the League of Nations, which was established at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The League was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.
January 25, 1919
The Versailles Peace Treaty, 1919
As a U.S. League to Enforce Peace delegate, the CPU's education secretary, Frederick Lynch, attended the 1919 proceedings of the Versailles Peace Conference, in which members voted to create the League of Nations.
Lynch viewed the proceedings with great optimism. He was part of an informal working group formulating "the things which the Americans would like to see written into the Covenant."
Working to Stop the Naval Arms Race
Under the Five-Power Treaty, from 1921-1922 the UK, the U.S., Japan, Italy, and France agreed to maintain a set ratio of naval tonnage. To support this initiative, the Church Peace Union sent postcards to priests, ministers, and rabbis, asking them to send them to the U.S. Senate, and some 14,000 did so.
But in the mid-1920s, anti-communist organizations focused on America’s "preparedness" for war. In 1928, the American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution attacked the CPU's disarmament efforts in a battle over a naval spending bill. The bill passed, though it was smaller than originally proposed, allowing for 15 new cruisers rather than 25.
Sidney Gulick and his Crusade to Help Japanese-Americans
Dr. Sidney Gulick was a well-known minister, author, missionary, and scholar. He worked closely with the Church Peace Union from its very beginnings and played a crucial role in shaping its policies on Asia.
Gulick campaigned tirelessly to improve the treatment of Japanese-Americans, who faced severe discrimination.
One of his most well-known initiatives was a program that sent thousands of American "friendship dolls" to Japanese schools. Many reciprocated, and to this day one can still find Japanese friendship dolls on display in some American libraries.
The Great Depression
In the early 1930s the CPU focused on domestic politics as much as international relations. Trustees expressed both compassion and pragmatism as they worked to blunt the effects of the economic collapse—and the political dangers created by widespread poverty and unemployment.
Within a year of the 1929 stock market crash, CPU trustees began to promote a greater federal role in the depressed economy.
"Win the War--Win the Peace" The CPU Mobilizes to Defeat War and Fascism
World War II was a terrible blow for all those in the peace movement. Yet Church Peace Union leaders carried on, sure that the cause of peace would eventually win the day.
For Atkinson, leader of the CPU for two decades at this point, two key victories were necessary to win the peace: first, the creation of international structures to prevent future wars; and, second, the defeat of the intellectual theories and social practices of racial hierarchy that had been the basis for Nazism.
Carl H. Voss, CPU Extension Secretary
Congregationalist minister Carl H. Voss was the founder of the American Christian Palestine Committee. The group called for a Jewish national state to give refuge to survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.
He became extension secretary of the Church Peace Union in 1943, and traveled extensively on behalf of the CPU and the World Alliance.
Although he began CPU activities by campaigning for the UN, with CPU General Secretary Atkinson’s support he soon turned most of his efforts to campaigning for the establishment of Israel—work that brought opposition from CPU trustee Charles P. Taft, II (son of President Taft), who later resigned.
June 26, 1945
The Signing of the UN Charter
The Church Peace Union's greatest contribution of the 1940s lay in its strong support for U.S. leadership and commitment to the formation of a United Nations.
As soon as the United States joined the war, the CPU turned its long experience in educating and organizing faith leaders, congregations, and civic organizations to a "Win the War—Win the Peace" campaign centered on the creation of international institutions to promote post-war cooperation.
A. William Loos, Organization Head, 1955-1974
William Loos was a Congregationalist minister. He joined the Church Peace Union in 1946 as education secretary, rose to executive director in 1955 (making him its de facto chief), and was named president in 1963.
Under his leadership, in 1961 the CPU changed its name to Council on Religion and International Affairs (CRIA).
Loos also launched Worldview magazine and two lecture/discussion series: CRIA Consultations and CRIA Conversations.
For almost three decades, political philosophers, scholars, churchmen, statesmen, and writers from across the political spectrum tackled international issues in Worldview's pages.
Unlike the articles in many political affairs journals, however, they also attempted to frame the discussion in ethical terms.
The entire archive is available on Carnegie Council's website.
CPU Changes its Name to Council on Religion in International Affairs (CRIA)Under the leadership of A. William Loos, in 1961 the Church Peace Union changed its name to Council on Religion and International Affairs (CRIA), reflecting a wider focus on a range of ethical issues in international affairs.
CRIA Consultations and CRIA Conversations
From 1958-73, Washington-based seminars known as CRIA Consultations regularly raised ethical issues for government personnel, religious leaders, and academics. The weekend gatherings for 30-35 people became sought-after invitations within Washington's foreign policy community.
Started in the late 1960s, CRIA Conversations, held in CRIA's New York office, were monthly off-the record presentations by well-known speakers on international affairs. These quickly became a great success and evolved into today’s Public Affairs Program, whose events are open to the public and are recorded for a worldwide audience.
CRIA and the Civil Rights Movement
The organization had long been sympathetic to the plight of African-Americans and throughout the turbulent 1960s and '70s, it strongly supported the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
As the United States became more integrated, so too did CRIA, with increasing numbers of women and African-Americans invited to contribute to Council events and publications, as well as to join the staff and board.
In 1973, African-American lawyer Jewel LaFontant, the first female deputy solicitor general, was a CRIA board member. A Republican, she was a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality, and an officer in the Chicago NAACP.
CRIA at the Crossroads: The Vietnam War
Controversies surrounding the Vietnam War dominated CRIA's work from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s; and while the organization focused its publications and programming on many other issues, discussion of these topics frequently circled back to the war.
Indeed, discussions became so heated, as military officers and peace activists debated, that CRIA officers scrambled to institute new rules to be sure that all sides could be heard.
While President Loos himself remained carefully neutral in public, both CRIA's publications and its trustees' statements of this period hint that many within the organization disapproved of the war.
Hans J. Morgenthau, Trustee
Hans Morgenthau served for many years as an advisor and trustee to the Council. Author of the classic Politics Among Nations, he was a leading proponent of political realism while remaining deeply interested in ethics.
As one later Council member noted, his contributions brought "realist thinking into the earlier idealism of the CPU."
Morgenthau wrote frequently for the Council's Worldview magazine and at one point served as its editorial board chairman. He also helped guide the content of a seminar series in the late 1960s—conferences held in regional centers that brought experts together with local leaders from business, education, churches, and synagogues.
Robert J. Myers, President, 1980-1995
Robert Myers was a senior-level intelligence officer turned journalist, academic, publisher, and author.
In 1944, he was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services—a precursor to the CIA, which he joined in 1949. For the next ten years he served the agency in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Indonesia.
Soon after leaving the CIA, he co-founded Washingtonian Magazine, and in 1968 he became publisher of The New Republic.
During Myers' tenure as president of the Council, he oversaw the launch of the quarterly peer-reviewed journal, Ethics & International Affairs and the renaming of the Council to the more encompassing Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.
Carnegie Council supported the Sullivan Principles, which demanded that U.S. corporations working in South Africa advocate for racial justice and equal treatment for their employees. The Principles contributed to the eventual dismantling of the apartheid state.
In 1988, the Council held a one-day conference on South Africa, with South African opposition leader Denis Worrall as one of the speakers.
And in 1991, the Council's Audna England took part in a fact-finding mission to South Africa, where the group met with representatives of various political and social groups, including members of the African National Congress.
January 23, 1986
Council on Religion and International Affairs (CRIA) is renamed Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA)
In an effort both to honor founder Andrew Carnegie and to expand the focus of the organization further, in 1986 President Robert Myers and the board renamed the organization Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA).
Launch of Ethics & International Affairs Journal
In 1987, the Council launched its acclaimed peer-reviewed journal, Ethics & International Affairs. It began as an annual and then became biannual and later quarterly.
The journal is an interdisciplinary resource for scholars, students, and policy analysts concerned with the moral dimensions of global issues.
Known for its original and often provocative writing, it addresses issues of global justice, civil society, democratization, international law, military intervention, climate change, sanctions, and other vital topics.
1990s and 2000s
The Council started featuring programs on environmental policies and bioethics in the 1980s, and in 1991 it launched an ambitious multi-year project on comparative environmental values.
Led by Studies Director Joanne Bauer, it consisted of a Track II dialogue between Japanese and Americans involved with meetings leading up to the 1992 Earth Summit; and an international study examining values and their role in environmental policy-making in China, India, Japan, and the United States.
Bauer was also the editor of Forging Environmental Values: Livelihood, and Contested Environments, which drew on this study.
Human Rights Initiative Program, 1994-2005
This program explored the ethical dilemmas that occur when human rights ideals confront realities on the ground. Through meetings, seminars, and workshops, the project looked for ways to define the parameters of this broad, interdisciplinary area of study.
The magazine Human Rights Dialogue was part of this initiative. It presented firsthand accounts of issues in real-life contexts, and many of its articles are still used in syllabi today. Topics included cultural rights, violence against women, and integrating human rights and peace work.
Read the entire magazine archive online.
Joel H. Rosenthal, Carnegie Council President, 1995-Present
Prof. Joel Rosenthal is an author, ethicist, and educator. He is also adjunct professor, New York University and chairman of the Bard College Globalization and International Affairs program.
Rosenthal's work focuses on ethics in U.S. foreign policy, with special emphasis on issues of war and peace, human rights, and pluralism.
Under his leadership, the Council developed the Carnegie Ethics Studio, established the Global Ethics Network, and focused on making a broader impact through providing free, accessible educational programs to a global audience. Also, in 2005, the Council changed its name to Carnegie Council FOR Ethics IN International Affairs.
History and the Politics of Reconciliation
Responding to the Rwandan and Balkan ethnic violence, as well as to the legacies of racism and sectarianism in the U.S., South Africa, Central Europe, and Iraq, the Council created the History and the Politics of Reconciliation program in 2000. It examined the role of history education in high schools and museums, the work of truth commissions and tribunals, and the challenges of overcoming religious divisions.
The result was a series of case studies and conferences that encouraged cutting-edge interdisciplinary work in the field of historical memory, as well as a volume edited by Elizabeth (Lili) Cole: Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation.
Working Against Cruel Treatment and Torture
The Council, a true venue for open discussion, never took specific policy positions. But the staff used their choice of speakers and topics to call attention to what they considered the most vital ethical issues. Torture was one of these, particularly in the years following 9/11.
Once Mora learned of the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, he challenged the legality of such measures. Unable to persuade his superiors to change their policies, he resigned in January 2006, one of the highest-ranking officials to publicly break ranks over this issue.
Launch of Carnegie Ethics Studio
A professional audio and video production facility with state-of-the-art cameras, lighting facilities, and recording devices, the in-house Carnegie Ethics Studio films and edits all of the Council's dozens of annual events, interviews, and other original content.
The Studio distributes the resulting multimedia products to online, TV, and radio outlets.
These resources are based on the work of scholars and authors representing a multitude of perspectives and every part of the world, and are available to all, free of charge.
A Global Reach: Embracing Technology and Expanding Audiences
Under Joel Rosenthal's leadership, the Council is continually embracing new communications technologies.
The Council's educational mission and its reputation for integrity attract the highest caliber of speakers and authors, ranging from Nobel laureates and scholars, to investigative journalists, to generals and White House advisors.
Celebrating 25 Years, Ethics & International Affairs Moves Forward
In 2011, the Council's journal, Ethics & International Affairs, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In the same year, it moved to Cambridge University Press.
In 2012, the journal launched its own website, www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/.
Archives for 1987-Winter 2011 (with excerpts from later years) can be accessed here.
Ethics for a Connected World
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Carnegie Council undertook an ambitious, multi-faceted, three-year project called Ethics for a Connected World.
Led by Centennial Chair Michael Ignatieff, this project includes:
Global Ethics Network
Global Ethics Network provides a platform for educational institutions and individuals around the world to create and share interactive multimedia resources that explore the ethical dimensions of international affairs.
The Global Ethics Fellows and their home institutions form the heart of the Network. They are developing multimedia production facilities that will allow Network partners to record original content created by students and educators
Join the Council's international community of students, teachers, and professionals interested in global affairs. Sign up for free at www.globalethicsnetwork.org.
Global Ethical Dialogues
Part of the Council's Centennial project, Global Ethical Dialogues is a multi-year project that engages societies across the world in the quest for a global ethic—shared values with which to tackle problems that transcend national boundaries.
To learn more, read Dr. Ignatieff's concept paper.
Global Ethical Dialogues began in June 2013 with visits to Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. In 2013, there were visits to Los Angeles, Queens (New York City) and the Balkans. There are plans for site visits to Japan, Burma, and Indonesia in 2015.
The Next Hundred Years
What institutions will speak for ethics a hundred years from now? It is our intention that the Carnegie Council will still be a global forum for voices promoting ethics in international affairs.
One of Andrew Carnegie's favorite phrases was, "My heart is in the work." For all that has been accomplished over the past hundred years and all that there is to come, there is no substitute for the spirit of the enterprise as captured in that phrase.
In the face of so many challenges, the Council continues to be a place where we can keep imagining a better future.
---Joel Rosenthal, Carnegie Council President