The International Peace Bureau (IPB) was founded as a result of the third Universal Peace Congress in Rome, 1891, with Fredrik Bajer one of its principal founders and its first president. Established at Bern as the central office and executive organ of the International Union of Peace Societies "to coordinate the activities of the various peace societies and promote the concept of peaceful settlement of international disputes", the Bureau was, in its early years, virtually synonymous with the popular peace movement of that time - that is to say, with all the peace organizations affiliated with it and with their then homogeneous ideology and program.
Figuring prominently in this program were such matters as arbitration procedures, bilateral peace treaties, the creation of a permanent court of international justice and of some kind of intergovernmental or even supranational body or bodies for cooperation and negotiation between nations. To disseminate and promote these ideas, the Bureau arranged the annual peace congresses, formulated their agenda, and implemented their decisions. It also provided a means of communication between the various individuals and organizations working for peace, and collected and issued information, often through its fortnightly publication Correspondance bimensuelle and its yearbook Annuaire du mouvement pacifiste. Until the Bureau received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910, its funds for these activities were limited (varying each year from 8,000 to 9,000 francs).
Along with the Interparliamentary Union, with which it had a close relationship, the International Peace Bureau was influential in bringing the concern for peace to the attention of both public opinion and politicians, being successful in promoting what eventually took form as the League of Nations.