About the Borah Foundation
In 1929 Chicago attorney Salmon O. Levinson established the William Edgar Borah Outlawry of War Foundation at the University of Idaho to honor and continue the work of Idaho Senator William Borah on behalf of peace. In 1931 the Borah Foundation was officially inaugurated at the University of Idaho by Senator Borah himself and by Dr. Manley Hudson, Professor of International Law at Harvard University. In 1938, the Borah Foundation sponsored its first program, an address by Eleanor Roosevelt, a well known advocate for peace and human rights. To commemorate her visit to the campus, she planted a Douglas fir tree which can still be seen across from the main entrance to the U of I Administration Building.
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Since 1948, the Foundation has sponsored an annual program devoted to understanding the causes of war and the conditions for establishing a lasting peace. Many well known speakers have addressed the annual symposium or conference over the years including: Frank Church, Les Aspin, Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin Spock, Philip Habib, Al Gore Sr., William Kuntsler, Eugene McCarthy, Frances Moore-Lappe, Betty Williams, Andrei Codrescu, Stephen Jay Gould, and Arun Gandhi.
Each symposium is planned by a faculty-student committee which determines each year's topic, with office, meeting space, and administrative support provided by the Martin School of International Studies & Conflict Resolution. Over the years the Borah Foundation has sponsored a variety of educational programs and activities.
In addition to the annual symposium, in recent years the Borah Committees have sponsored Borah mini-courses for University of Idaho students, established a special collection in the U of I library with books about peace and conflict as well as volumes related to each year’s specific topic, begun a Borah International Peace Grove within the U of I Arboretum with a tree planted each year, and in a number of years have sponsored an essay contest on peace and conflict resolution for both high school and college students.
Borah Foundation Library Collection
The Borah Foundation purchases and donates several books to the University of Idaho Library on an annual basis. The collection includes books about peace and conflict, as well as books related to the annual Borah Program, and books by and about each year's Nobel Peace Prize winners. Donations are also welcome to support the library project. All books are housed in the main University of Idaho Library and can be borrowed by anyone with a current University of Idaho library card.
The Borah International Peace Grove
In keeping with the tradition established by Eleanor Roosevelt during the first Borah Program in 1938, the Borah Foundation has proposed that a permanent peace grove be established on the grounds of the University of Idaho Arboretum. Each year, during the Borah Symposium, the university president and keynote speakers will dedicate and plant a new tree in the Peace Grove. The Borah International Peace Grove will be a permanent addition to the beauty of the University of Idaho campus and arboretum, and will benefit students, faculty, staff and community members.