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USIP’s public education program works with young people to educate them about conflict management and to engage them in peacebuilding. There are many ways for students to be active peacebuilders in their schools, communities and world: below are 10 ways to build peace and a selection of peacebuilding ideas for youth, developed by youth.

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Student workshop at USIP

10 Ways to Build Peace

  • Become an informed citizen: Keep up to date on global news and events related to international conflict management through the USIP Web site and other news sources. Learn about the role the U.S. government, U.S. organizations, and others play in building peace in conflict situations around the world, and share that knowledge with others.
  • Get inspired by young peacebuilders around the world: Learn about the impact of armed conflict on young people around the world, and about the ways in which young people are acting as peacebuilders (for instance, the teenagers who participate in the Seeds of Peace summer camp). Find ways to share this information with others, and explore how you can play a role as a peacebuilder, as an individual or with an organization.
  • Research famous peacebuilders: Interview your parents, grandparents or guardians and ask them who the famous peacebuilders of their generation were when they were growing up. Then research these individuals to learn about the role they played in managing conflict and building peace. One source for information is the Nobel Peace Prize Web site.
  • Use USIP’s educational resources: Ask your teacher to download the Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators and to use some of the lessons and activities in your classroom.
  • Visit USIP for an educational program: Organize a class trip to USIP to participate in a workshop on international conflict management that integrates multimedia exhibits and peacebuilding activities. To plan your visit, click here.
  • Raise peacebuilding issues at your school: At your school, initiate discussions in your classes about issues of international peacebuilding and conflict happening in the world. (Check out USIP’s blog for ideas.) Invite a speaker who has been in a conflict zone or who has worked in a conflict zone to address the students in your school. Contact your local World Affairs Council or the Peace Corps to find speakers in your area.
  • Follow peacebuilding organizations and people on social media: Research organizations or individuals that build peace and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Share relevant updates with your social networks.  You can also “like” USIP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on global issues in peacebuilding and conflict management.
  • Study Abroad: Explore options for studying abroad, as an opportunity to learn first-hand about other cultures and to gain or hone important cross-cultural communication skills. Find more information about study abroad on our site. Research opportunities for other forms of international exchange and present ideas to your school teachers and administrators.
  • Explore peacebuilding careers: Do some research of your own on careers in conflict management and peacebuilding field, and learn about all of the various ways in which peacebuilding takes places around the world every day.
  • Take the Peace Day Challenge: Join the global effort to turn the International Day of Peace (September 21 each year) into a day of global action, affirming peace as a real and practical alternative to the violence we see daily in the news.

Peacebuilding Ideas by Youth, for Youth

As part of our work, we encourage young people to share their own ideas about the role they can play in building peace as individuals and collectively. We have supplemented the list below with some other activities and resources that may be useful to young peacebuilders.

Things you can do as an individual in your daily life to build peace:

  • Help tone down an argument at home or at school
  • Say hi to people you wouldn't usually talk to
  • Put litter in the trash; recycle when you can
  • Share with your siblings and with your friends
  • Help people in the neighborhood with yard work or grocery shopping, if they need help
  • Watch or read the news to stay up-to-date on important issues
  • Talk to your family and to your classmates about global issues that matter to you
  • Write a letter of thanks/encouragement to those serving overseas in the U.S. armed forces
  • Write a letter of thanks/encouragement to other peacebuilders, for example Peace Corps volunteers, leaders at the U.S. Institute of Peace, leaders in our government, etc.
  • Share your culture and learn about different cultures
  • Practice cooperating by participating in team-building sports or projects
  • Challenge your own perceptions! Talk to someone with a different point of view
  • Tutor or mentor younger children
  • Watch documentaries and other films to learn more about important global issues

Things a class/club can do together to build peace (special projects):

  • Plant or tend a community garden
  • Hold a bake sale, carnival, walk-a-thon or other event to raise money for a charity that works on issues that are important to you
  • Raise awareness about an important global issue through a movie screening or a play or a display of art work at your school
  • Find volunteer opportunities in the local community, or projects that can have a global reach, like preparing care packages for troop’s overseas, collecting books for needy schools, etc.
  • Link up with Kids for Peace, iEarn, or other organizations that are also working with young peacebuilders around the U.S. and around the world
  • Connect with a school in another country to learn more about that culture and to help provide support if there's a need
  • Take part in a Model U.N. initiative, and learn about global issues and about negotiation skills that are important in peacebuilding
  • Host a series of guest speakers at the school and then write a short book (or a speech) about what you learned, and share it with others
  • Make a poster about peacebuilding and share it throughout the community
  • Initiate a project to research a range of peacebuilders from the present and the past, and have a "social" where each person dresses and acts like their selected peacebuilder, to learn about each other
  • Practice resolving conflict peacefully through role plays
  • Sponsor a Mine Detection Dog through the Marshall Legacy Institute