Make it Muscatine: The Stanley Center for Peace and Security

MUSCATINE, Iowa–In 1956, notable Muscatine residents Max and Betty Stanley created the Stanley Foundation, now known as the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. A successful engineer, business owner, and a champion for the arts, education, and the environment respectively, Max and Betty Stanley wanted to create an organization that could bring positive changes to the world. “They both had a deep interest in world peace and believed that collaboration and dialogue—through formal, country-to-country means, such as the relatively new United Nations, and through informal, person-to-person relationships—were key to solving global challenges,” explained Stanley Center Vice President and Director of Communications Mark Seaman.

65 years later, the Stanley Center continues to work towards its vision, “for all people to share and sustain a secure and enduring peace with freedom, justice, and dignity.” Specifically, Seaman detailed that the Stanley Center works to develop meaningful initiatives, both locally and internationally, to promote human rights through equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to remove the threats of climate change, mass violence, and nuclear war for people everywhere.

In Muscatine County, the Stanley Center offers many learning opportunities for educators, non-profits, and school groups through Global Education at the Stanley Center. Through their Global Education Institute for Teachers, featured speakers in the Inclusive Dialogue series, travel opportunities via the Catherine Miller Explorer Awards, and youth outreach through their Investigation U day camp, the Stanley Center hopes to help people in their home community increase their global awareness and to inspire them to work for a more peaceful and accepting world.

Members of the Stanley Center’s staff and governance.

Across the globe, the Stanley Center brings together people from numerous countries and with different experiences to find sustainable ways to stop climate change, prevent violence, and avert the use of nuclear weapons. Seaman elaborated, “one of the key ways we conduct that work is to bring people from different countries, sectors, and backgrounds together for dialogue to explore new solutions.”

In all of their efforts at home and abroad, the Stanley Center has found collaboration with other partners essential to their success. To continue reaching new people and to bring in the voices of others in the community, they chose to join the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “In our local and global work, we place tremendous value on partnerships, with and among governments, non-profits, the private sector, educational institutions, and so on, because diverse perspectives create better solutions,” emphasized Seaman. “The Chamber understands that value as well and we want to join in that mutually supportive network.”

As the Stanley Center continues to work with people everywhere to make the world a better place for the next generation, they cherish the opportunity to stay in and nurture the connections they have made right here in Muscatine. “Our location offers a valuable vantage point from which we do our global work, meeting communities and stakeholders where they are, while allowing us to maintain our local commitment to the next generation of global problem solvers,” Seaman shared.