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Stanley Foundation Becomes Stanley Center

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Stanley Center for Peace and Security
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Hoping to reflect its mission more accurately, the Stanley Foundation in Muscatine has changed its name to Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

The foundation was founded in 1956 by Max and Betty Stanley, according to President Keith Porter. 

"I think of Max and Betty as two people who had lived through a couple of world wars, the second one ending with the use of atomic weapons, and the real belief that we had to avoid a third world war. And they believed that nations of the world needed to work together to create the conditions for a secure peace with freedom and justice. And that's really why they started the Stanley Foundation, and we carry on that work today as we go through our name change to become the Stanley Center for Peace and Security."

Stanley also believed the key to solving the major problems of the world was international cooperation.

"Max said that the problems facing the world were too big for any one country to fix on their own - you have to work together. So when you think about things like climate change or nuclear weapons or infectious disease or the problems we see from globalization - there's no one country that can make a big enough change to fix those issues."

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Porter says the Stanley Center now focuses on three main issues: climate change, nuclear weapons, and the prevention of mass violence and actrocities.

"You know in the time that I've been here at the Stanley Foundation we've drastically reduced the number of nuclear weapons that are in the world. But all of that is really at risk at this point - we are abandoning treaties that led to drastic reductions in nuclear weapons around the world. And we also face some challenges from emerging technologies - artificial intelligence, 3-d printing, geo-spatial imaging - all of these things that may undermine our ability to control nuclear weapons and to control the proliferation of those weapons."

One area where the center has worked extensively, is Latin America.

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Credit Stanley Center for Peace and Security
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a Stanley Center roundtable discussion

"The one that I'm really proud of is the Latin American Network for Mass Violence and Genocide Prevention. That network involves 18 different governments that appointed their government focal point for our network. I think they just held their 10th meeting last month and they've been working together to share best practices to hold each other accountable, to serve as an early warning network in case they see signs of political violence anywhere in the region." 

And the reason for the name change ? the word “foundation.” 

"You know the name "foundation," what we found through research, talking with our collaborators, our partners, and our staff, we found that that name really does imply to folks that we are a grant-making institution, that we give out funds. But the truth is that's not what we do - we drive policy progress by collaborating with others, by running all of our own programming either on our own or in collaboration with others. So we are really able to take our endowment here, the money that we spend each year, and leverage it in partnership with all these other organizations around the world." 

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Most recently, the Stanley Center sponsored a conference in Paris, on preventing political violence, working with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. And the annual "international day" event for middle school students, with the University of Iowa.  

"The organization still has deep family involvement - the Stanley family is still very much involved - you know Max and Betty's son, Dick Stanley, was chairman of the board and president of the organization for many years, our current chair, Brian Hanson, is a great nephew of Max and Betty Stanley, we still have grandchildren, and now we even have great grandchildren of Max and Betty involved."

Along with the foundation, now the Stanley Center, Max Stanley is the founder of the international engineering firm Stanley Consultants, and the Muscatine-based maker of office furniture, Hon Industries.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.