Dr. Dianne (Dee) Aker is a trailblazer, founding three award-winning programs that connect local youth with global issues and leaders, and that raise awareness of and facilitate women's local, grassroots solutions for peace all over the world; these include the Women PeaceMakers Program, the WorldLink Program, and the Nepal Peace Initiative.
Aker has had a distinguished career in peacemaking and conflict resolution over the last 40 years. She has been the Deputy Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) for the last thirteen years and is presently the Interim Executive Director as well. Aker has been actively involved with the IPJ since its inception in 1998 and has created three of its most well-known and successful programs. The Women PeaceMakers Program is one of these programs, and it is successful largely because Aker prioritizes the voices, experiences, and strategies of women living through the conflict and peacemaking process, rather than imposing non-indigenous ideas.
Prior to her work at IPJ, Aker worked at the Center for Studies of the Person and the Carl Rogers Institute for Peace focusing on conflict resolution in Europe and Central America. Aker holds a B.A. degree in Biology and Sociology from Southwest Missouri University, an M.A. in International Affairs from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Psychology from The Union Institute and University.Aker serves on several national and international boards; lectures internationally; wrote numerous academic publications and reports, as well as newspaper and magazine articles; wrote and produced many documentary films and radio productions; and won several awards for her work in international peacemaking. Aker's distinguished role as a global peacemaker is instrumental to her induction into the San Diego Women's Hall of Fame in 2014.