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Founded in 1970 with the support of the university's Center for International Studies and the Program on Science, Technology and Society, the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies has evolved with changes in the world.

In addition to focusing on arms control issues, particularly nuclear proliferation, Insitute members are concerned with the emerging security issues in the new century. For example, the Reppy Institute has supported projects on biological and chemical weapons proliferation, on women in the military, on ethnicity and international conflict, and on human rights and law. At the same time, it continues to support more traditional investigations of peace, war, and diplomacy, in both contemporary and historical contexts, and with special attention to regional security.

The Reppy Institute is distinguished by its thoroughly interdisciplinary character and its emphasis on long-term policy issues. Both are essential for the Institute's objective of investigating the intellectual foundations of security and the preservation of peace. This commitment motivates the research and training activities of faculty and post-doctoral fellows as well as graduate and undergraduate students in the program.

After 40 years as Cornell University’s Peace Studies Program, the Institute became the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies as of July 1, 2010.