For Immediate Release, June 7, 2012
Contact: Allison Sturma, 202-429-4725

(Washington) – The PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded “Salam Shabab”, an Iraqi youth media project supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace to teach Iraqi teens conflict management skills, with a Special Prize at the foundation’s biannual festival. One of eight prizes awarded, the UNESCO Special Prize recognizes youth television programming that promotes cultural understanding. Senior Program Officer Theo Dolan accepted the prize on behalf of the Institute and Iraqi partners.

Arabic for "peace youth," the first season of “Salam Shabab” highlighted the real life stories of 54 Iraqi youth from 6 different provinces as they produce their own short films, perform on stage and use teamwork to win sport and mental challenges. Structured around a curriculum developed by USIP in close collaboration with Iraqi educators and youth organizations, "Salam Shabab" strengthens the self-confidence, sense of shared community, awareness of civil rights and responsibilities and an open-minded respect for diversity of youth participants and viewers.

"The fact that ‘Salam Shabab’ won the UNESCO Special Prize at the PRIX JEUNESSE is a welcome recognition of the immense value that media can contribute to peacebuilding,” commented Sheldon Himelfarb, director of USIP's Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation. "This program managed to surpass hundreds of other programs, a feat which really highlights how powerful the show’s message actually is and how effectively it is portrayed."

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The United States Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC. To learn more visit www.usip.org.

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