Experts from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) discuss the meaning of the term "rule...
Engaging Students & Educators at USIP
Many student and educator groups come to the nation’s capital to learn how our government works, how the U.S. relates to other countries, and to explore issues of global importance, including those dealing with war and peace.
The Global Peacebuilding Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace hosts groups of American and international students for a range of educational programs that continue USIP’s longstanding work with young people and with teachers.
These programs integrate two multimedia exhibits that help tell the story of the challenges and importance of peacebuilding, and they draw on the content of our Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators, which focuses on key skills and concepts in conflict management and peacebuilding. Educational programs also include briefings from USIP’s practitioners in the field. The Global Peacebuilding Center continues to expand USIP’s outreach to younger audiences through these onsite programs as well as the online activities and resources available here at www.buildingpeace.org.
Recent programs have included:
- In November and December 2012, the Global Peacebuilding Center at USIP welcomed several groups of students from Washington, DC-area high schools for onsite programs focused on peacebuilding themes.
- On November 16, the Foundation for International Understanding through Students (a State Department exchange program) brought a group of high school students and teachers from Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Global Peacebuilding Center at USIP for a workshop on peace and conflict.
- On October 16, Director of the Global Peacebuilding Center Ann-Louise Colgan gave a workshop to nearly 40 Montessori students from Ohio. The middle school students, who were interested in “learning about peace,” learned about conflict management and the United States Institute of Peace’s work abroad, and considered their own potential as peacebuilders.
- In September, the Global Peacebuilding Center welcomed high school students and teachers from Azerbaijan for a workshop on Defining Peace & Conflict. The workshop was part of the students’ orientation before spending a year in a U.S. high school. The students learned about concepts of conflict management and peacebuilding, and brought these concepts to life through the Global Peacebuilding Center’s multimedia exhibits.
- On July 5 and 19, the Global Peacebuilding Center hosted nearly 250 students from the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) International Diplomacy Program. USIP staff visited students at NSLC’s American University site on August 6. During the programs students engaged in peacebuilding activities and learned about USIP’s conflict management work. In addition, NSLC students heard from USIP’s President Richard H. Solomon on July 23 at American University. Dr. Solomon talked about USIP and his career in international diplomacy.
- On July 19, the Global Peacebuilding Center hosted 150 students from the UNESCO Center for Peace for a workshop on defining peace and conflict. The students participated in a two-week Model UN program and were from 11 countries - including Guinea, Brazil, Senegal, Tunisia, and the United States. This is the second year the UNESCO Center for Peace has visited USIP.
- On July 16, the Director of the Global Peacebuilding Center at USIP, Ann-Louise Colgan, traveled to Massachusetts to facilitate a workshop for more than 70 young people from around the world who are part of this summer’s “Project Common Bond” program. Project Common Bond is an initiative of Tuesday’s Children, and brings together young people who share in common the loss of a close family member to an act of terrorism.
- On July 11, David Smith of USIP’s Global Peacebuilding Center conducted a web chat on the Center and its resources for educators with educators around the world enrolled in an introduction to peace education course conducted by Teachers Without Borders and sponsored by the National Peace Academy. This conversation happened online, with participating educators from Canada, Colombia, Pakistan and the United States.
- The Seeds of Peace organization gathers young people from conflict zones in the Middle East, South Asia, Cyprus and the Balkans for a three-week camp in Maine that encourages dialogue and understanding and aims to help build the next generation of leaders who can contribute to resolving some of the most challenging international conflicts. On July 9, 43 second-year “Seeds” in their mid-to-late teens visited USIP for a briefing on the Institute's work and to experience some of the content of the Institute’s Global Peacebuilding Center. Representing the United States, Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, the teens are returning to the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine as Peer Supports (counselors) after first attending the camp two summers ago.
- Over the course of June, we hosted a series of groups of middle and high school students from across the U.S. visiting Washington as part of People to People Ambassador Programs. With the middle school students, we discussed defining peace and conflict. The high schoolers attended briefings here on “Conflict Management Challenges in Today’s World.”
- On June 26, 49 educators from across the country participating in the American Red Cross’ 2012 Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) Institute in Washington, DC attended a workshop hosted by the Global Peacebuilding Center at USIP titled “Bringing Peacebuilding Into the Classroom.” USIP has had a long relationship with the American Red Cross, having provided initial grant support for the development of the EHL Program more than two decades ago. Over the years, USIP has worked closely with the American Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross to advance international humanitarian law in the context of our peacebuilding work.
- On June 20, the Global Peacebuilding Center at USIP held a workshop for this year’s National Peace Essay Contest individual state winners. The program explored the many ways to be a peacebuilder and was part of a week of activities for the students that culminated in an Awards Ceremony for the overall winners.
- Also in June, we welcomed students from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. The program explored what it means to be a peacebuilder. Noor Kirdar, from USIP’s Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, talked about USIP’s online courses. Katherine Rowell, the faculty organizer and sociology professor at Sinclair Community College, attended USIP’s seminar for community colleges in 2006 and has been using USIP’s online courses with her students ever since. To date, approximately 500 Sinclair students have completed one or more of the Academy’s online courses.
- In late May, we hosted two groups of students visiting Washington from across the United States through the Virginia-based Close Up Foundation. The first group learned through interactive activities and our exhibits that there are many ways to be a peacebuilder. The second group discussed definitions of peace and conflict.
USIP’s Alexis Toriello (far left) talks to students of Ocean County College on May 17, 2012 about the work of USIP’s Center of Innovation: Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding, including Salam Shabab.
- In mid-May, we hosted students and faculty for the 11th consecutive year from Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey. Since 2002, the college has organized an annual student trip to Washington, DC that focuses on the work of international conflict management and peacebuilding. This year’s visit to USIP took place over two days - May 17 and 18. The first day centered on briefings from USIP experts Alexis Toriello talked about the work of the Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Center, and Kathleen Kuehnast briefed the group on the Gender and Peacebuilding Center. The second day focused on a peacebuilding workshop using the Global Peacebuilding Center’s multimedia exhibits: the Witnesses to Peacebuilding and the Peace Well.
- On May 9, 22 students who participate in Model UN at Godwin Middle School in Woodbridge, VA came to USIP’s Global Peacebuilding Center for an introduction to USIP’s work.
- In April and May, the Global Peacebuilding Center hosted several groups of students from an education program hosted by the Asper Foundation of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that brought Canadian students to Washington, DC to learn more about human rights and international issues. The groups were hosted at USIP by Jacki Wilson and David Smith.