Our History

Our History

Following the devastation of World War II, many people were focusing on initiatives to build and maintain peace. One particular idea caught the attention of child psychologist, Dr. Doris Allen. It was a proposal for a UNESCO peace education institute for postgraduates from many disciplines. The idea for Children's International Summer Villages (today known as CISV International) was conceived by Dr. Allen in 1946. As a specialist in growth and development, Dr. Allen, could not agree that the focus for peace education should be in the field of adult learning. She firmly believed that “the ultimate source for peace, long range, lay with the children.”

From this conviction came her vision of bringing together children from all over the globe to learn to respect different and common values. In 1951, she realised her dream when delegates from eight countries gathered in Cincinnati, USA for the first Children’s International Summer Village (CISV). Over the decades, the organization grew in numbers, countries and activities. In 1979, Doris Allen was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize - the recipient that year was Mother Teresa.

Over 65 years after the first Village, this programme remains the cornerstone of our international educational activities.

Today, CISV is present in 65 countries and 212 cities and towns around the world – and we’re still growing. Our range of seven peace education Programmes are now for people of all ages, starting with our flagship Village Programme for children aged eleven. In 60 years our volunteers have organized over 6000 Programmes for over 240.000 participants.

The first traces of CISV in Belgium go back to 1961. It is only in 1969 that CISV Belgium asbl has been founded. Since then we have been organising activities of all kind and sending delegations and participants all over the world.

In 2004 our two chapters (CISV België and CISV Belgique) were founded. We work very much together to achieve a good running CISV in Belgium.

Read more about dr. Doris Twitchell Allen