The institution was founded in 1988 as European University Center for Peace Studies (EPU) by Gerald Mader in his capacity as president of the ASPR, with the support of European UNESCO commissions, and is affiliated to the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), also located at Stadtschlaining.
The original curriculum of EPU was designed along the lines of Johan Galtungs Plan for a Master of Peace and Conflict Resolution which he developed for the University of Hawaii.
The EPU has been offering postgraduate programs in Peace Studies since 1990. In 1995, EPU was co-winner of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.
The EPUs UNESCO Chair on Peace, Human Rights and Democracy was established in 1996.
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By official notification of the Council of 22 February 2010 the EPU has received accreditation as a recognized private university ("Private Universität") according to the University Accreditation Act (UniAkkG) of the year 2000 and the European Bologna Process.
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