On March 5, 2012, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) was pleased to host 110 members of “Kids for Peace,” an organization based in southern California, which seeks to cultivate the ability of young people to foster peace in their communities and globally.
The group included young people––ages 5 through 18––and their parents from California and several other states; Kids for Peace has chapters in 28 states and 11 countries.
Their program at USIP included an introduction to the work of the Institute around the world; an exploration of key themes in conflict management; and peacebuilding activities and resources from the Institute’s Global Peacebuilding Center.
The highlight of the visit was the kids’ recitation of their peace pledge to USIP President Dr. Richard Solomon, and their presentation of a Heart Tree Banner they had created before coming to Washington, DC.
Kids for Peace participants present their Heart Tree Banner to USIP President Dr. Richard H. Solomon (first from right) and to Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of the Global Peacebuilding Center (second from left in back).
Dr. Solomon hears the Peace Pledge from the Kids for Peace participants.
The visit to USIP was initially requested in a letter written by a 5th grade member of the group, who asked if they might come to USIP as part of their four-day visit to key sites in Washington, DC. Immediately prior to visiting USIP on March 5, the group presented their peace pledge in Congress, and other stops included monuments and memorials on the National Mall, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Working with young people is the major focus of USIP’s Global Peacebuilding Center, which extends the Institute’s longstanding educational work to students and educators. Its resources include:
- The Peacebuilding Toolkits for Educators, which provides exercises and lesson plans for the middle and high school classroom
- A Virtual Passport experience, through which young people can learn about peacebuilding while earning stamps through online activities
- A series of short video pieces on “Witnesses to Peacebuilding,” available online.
The “Kids for Peace” group experienced a pilot educational program that included many of these resources and activities. Several of the kids commented that their visit to USIP was the highlight of their time in Washington, DC!
The Kids for Peace participants