Violence is widely recognized as a problem in modern society.
Americans identify violent crime as a predominant concern,
and violent behavior is increasing among our young people.
Here and abroad hostility and competition among ethnic groups
have taken on a new prominence, and reports of wars from Russia
to Rwanda describe a new world order as volatile as ever before,
buffeted by animosities that are part of history as well as
by violent responses to contemporary inequities. In too many
cases, the tools of conflict resolution, therapy, and diplomacy
are not working, but the urgency of each situation seems to
demand immediate responses, even responses which experience
and good judgment tell us will not be effective. Tough crime
bills are passed, more prisons are built, high school classes
are devoted to role-playing conflict situations, orphanages
are proposed. The United Nations sends peacekeepers into impossible
situations where its legitimacy is challenged by all sides.
The results of these interventions are unpredictable, and
at those rare times when peace breaks out, no one is sure
why it happened.
Harry Guggenheim established this foundation to support research
on violence, aggression, and dominance because he was convinced
that solid, thoughtful, scholarly and scientific research,
experimentation, and analysis would in the end accomplish
more than the usual solutions impelled by urgency rather than
understanding. We do not yet hold the solution to violence,
but better analyses, more acute predictions, constructive
criticisms, and new, effective ideas will come in time from
investigations such as those supported by our grants.
The foundation places a priority on the study of urgent problems
of violence and aggression in the modern world and also encourages
related research projects in neuroscience, genetics, animal
behavior, the social sciences, history, criminology, and the
humanities which illuminate modern human problems. Grants
have been made to study aspects of violence related to youth,
family relationships, media effects, crime, biological factors,
intergroup conflict related to religion, ethnicity, and nationalism,
and political violence deployed in war and sub-state terrorism,
as well as processes of peace and the control of aggression.