The genesis and purposes of the WPI are intertwined with that of the United Nations. The INITIATIVE has served as a vehicle for bringing forward the previously unseen and unheard voices working towards Peace since 1983. It also serves to unite the strengths of existing organizations to build Cultures of Peace for succeeding generations.

One of the primary programmes of Pathways To Peace (PTP) is the "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE (WPI), a United Nations-designated "Peace Messenger Initiative", with more than 225 Participating Organizations in all the world’s regions. PTP serves as the International Secretariat of WPI. The "WE THE PEOPLES" INITIATIVE originated in 1983 as a programme of Pathways To Peace by Avon Mattison, founder and President, and by Robert Muller, then Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. The annual highlight of this Initiative is the International Day of Peace, established by a United Nations Resolution in 1981.

In the spirit of the original vision that brought forth the Charter of the UN in 1989, the UN Peace Studies Unit asked Pathways To Peace (PTP) to expand the project and granted it Peace Messenger Initiative status. It was then renamed “WE THE PEOPLES” honoring the opening phrase of the UN Charter. Its purpose is to build Cultures of Peace in the 21st century, uniting the strengths of international non-governmental organizations, in order to make Peace a practical reality for the children of this and future generations. Its annual highlight day is the International Day of Peace, 21 September. This annual Peace Day marks our personal and planetary progress toward Peace. Peace Day also serves to remind us that our commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to Peace.

The current Roster includes over 225 international organizations. PTP serves as the International Secretariat. The Annual Report of the “WE THE PEOPLES” INITIATIVE is dedicated to the United Nations and to UNESCO’s International Year for the Culture of Peace and Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).