Mary Jean Eisenhower was born in Washington, D.C. during her grandfather, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s, first term in office as President of the United States. She was christened in the Blue Room of the White House and grew up in nearby Gettysburg, PA, in a home with property abutting the Eisenhower Farm, where President Eisenhower eventually retired.
She attended several schools in Pennsylvania until her father, John, was named as US Ambassador to Belgium. She lived in Brussels with her family from shortly after her grandfather’s death in 1969 through 1972.
Mary Jean Eisenhower is President and Chairman Emeritus of People to People International, which was founded September 11, 1956 by her grandfather, then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mary says that she joined PTPI hoping to carry on her grandfather’s dream, but that now it has become a dream of her own. In 1961, President Eisenhower brought PTPI into the private sector, with the financial backing of his friend Joyce Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards.
Following September 11, 2001, Mary’s focus intensified toward getting young people from around the world together to learn about each other and conflict management. Her vision resulted in “Peace Camp 2003: An Evolution of Thought and Action” and “The Global Peace Initiative.” Both efforts have brought people from diverse areas, more than 30 nationalities, together in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, to discuss issues, how each is affected and reach a better understanding of their unique and individual cultures. The program remains active today. In total, Mary Jean has visited or established programming in over 80 countries, many multiple times.