Experts from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) discuss the meaning of the term "rule...
Youth and Peacebuilding
Youth and Peacebuilding
Every day and all over the world, young people engage in peacebuilding––in big ways and in small ways.
As the Arab Spring movement unfolded across the Middle East and North Africa, we saw young people leading non-violent revolutions, using new technologies to mobilize societies to bring about change.
While the Arab Spring has caught the world’s attention, every day there are young people who are building bridges across communities unnoticed, working together, educating each other, and helping to manage conflict and promote peace.
Young people are vital stakeholders in conflict and in peacebuilding. In some cases, young people are directly involved in violent conflict, including as child soldiers. But young people also act as community leaders in peacebuilding, reconciliation and post conflict reconstruction, in establishing themselves as the next generation of leaders.
In war zones across the world, there is a new generation of peacebuilders, and they are raising their voices.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) works with young people in conflict zones all around the world. In Iraq, USIP supported a TV-special/documentary of 30 Iraqi youth (ages 14-18) from across the country, brought together to participate in activities aimed at supporting a new and growing community of young Iraqis committed to peacebuilding.
A teacher and his students in a classroom in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Educated young people are empowered to build peace in their communities.
In Afghanistan, USIP has supported a grant to the Bond Street Theater project in which trained actors from the international community use theater as an educational tool to show Afghan students ways to prevent low-level conflict within families or communities.
USIP also works with young people who are living in the U.S. but whose families are originally from conflict zones. In 2010, USIP’s Youth Diaspora Conference brought together young people from Iraq, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Haiti to talk about their experiences and how they might connect with their peers in their home countries to help them build a more peaceful community.
Recognizing young people as future leaders, USIP also has supported the Seeds of Peace organization, which 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.
USIP also sponsors the annual National Peace Essay Contest (NPEC) for high school students. NPEC winners receive a scholarship and participate in a weeklong program in Washington, DC that further explores peacebuilding and conflict management concepts.
USIP’s Global Peacebuilding Center seeks to engage and empower the next generation of peacebuilders. This website is full of resources, activities, and opportunities for young people to become engaged as peacebuilders.
It is important for young people to understand the world around them and their role within it. As technologies change and relationships between peoples grow ever more interconnected, it becomes increasingly clear that the world is much smaller than it seems. What happens in other places has an impact on all of us.
By learning about the world, by gaining knowledge and skills, and by using everyday tools to engage with others, we can all share, connect, and join a growing community of peacebuilders.
Additional USIP Resources:
- Global Peacebuilding Center For Students
- Virtual Passport
- National Peace Essay Contest
- Seeds of Peace: Building Peace at Summer Camp
- Seeds of Peace Campers Visit USIP
- Teaching About Conflict Through Theater
- New Media and Old: Using Social Media and Radio to Build Peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan
- From Peaceful Schools to Peaceful Communities in Pakistan
- Dowry and Division: Youth and State Building in South Sudan
- By the Book Video Trailer: Youth and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
- Youth at War, Youth Building Peace, Youth on the Margins
- Youth Diaspora Voices: Leaders of Today
- Youth and Students Work to Promote Security and Rule of Law in Nepal
- Strengthening the Capacity of Youth to Build Peace in Colombia
- Building South Sudan's First Peace Library
- Exchange 2.0
- 'B Some 1, Vote 4 Peace'