From soccer games to theatre productions to entrepreneurial investments, young people are mobilizing to promote peace, according to participants in a September 16 Twitter chat on youth and peacebuilding. The chat showed the important role youth play as a force for peace in a world dominated by violent headlines.

20140916_TOB_Twitter-Chat.png
Global Peacebuilding Center staff members participate in the #PeaceDayChat. From left: Megan Chabalowski, Ann-Louise Colgan, Denson Staples.

According to the World Bank, almost half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, making this largest generation a key player in resolving conflicts. The Global Peacebuilding Center (GPC) at the U.S. Institute of Peace organized the Twitter chat as part of an effort to affirm the power of young people to build a more peaceful world. The effort marks the International Day of Peace on September 21, when people around the world show their support for the ideals of peace and take action to end violent conflict.

In Tuesday’s chat, the GPC (@buildingpeace on Twitter) asked participants to discuss why the International Day of Peace matters to them, and why young people are key partners in building peace. One participant responded: 

Other participants highlighted that the day simultaneously glorifies peace while making it a “practical reality” by showcasing real people taking simple actions. For example, participants in the chat have created campaigns encouraging youth to sign pledges to end violent conflict or to commit acts of kindness, posted videos about how investing in youth can contribute to sustainable peace, and raised funds to aid those affected by Ebola in Liberia.

Youth bring particular qualities to peacebuilding, including energy, creativity, and divergent thinking. Research shows that we lose creativity as we grow older, and peacebuilding requires thinking outside of the box. Youth have big ideas about how to change their own communities and the world, and the capacity to implement them.

Participants in the chat shared examples of the young peacebuilders who inspire them: 

While youth have a remarkable capacity to contribute to peacebuilding and to manage conflicts, they also face challenges, such as lack of access to education, resources, decision-making processes, and other sources of empowerment. They also need specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes to build peace year-round:

As the International Day of Peace approaches and the world remains in turmoil, with violent conflicts dominating the news, it is important to remember the work that does not make the headlines. Young people around the world – even in places of conflict – are taking action to shape a more peaceful future. Join us in affirming the power of youth as peacebuilders. 

Read the entire conversation on Twitter.

Learn more about the Global Peacebuilding Center.

Related Publications

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Monday, November 23, 2020

By: Knox Thames

Persecution on account of religion or belief confronts every community somewhere around the world—and it is an increasing trend. Challenges range from terrorist violence against minorities, such as ISIS’ depravations against Yazidis, to persecution by authoritarian governments, with China’s targeting of all faiths a prime example. To organize a defense of freedom of conscience and belief, the United States convened the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2018 and 2019, bringing together a virtual congress of nations and civil society activists from around the world. The third ministerial, organized by Poland, was held virtually in mid-November. Discussions identified challenges but also solutions. One consistent answer to the vexing problem of persecution was proffered: educating youth about human rights and pluralism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion; Education & Training

Measuring Collective Impact: Creating a Framework for Assessing Multiple Peacebuilding Projects in Colombia

Measuring Collective Impact: Creating a Framework for Assessing Multiple Peacebuilding Projects in Colombia

Thursday, July 30, 2020

By: Diego Benitez

USIP implemented its Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict (IMPACT) program first in the Central African Republic and later in Colombia, where it worked directly with peacebuilding organizations to gauge their collective impact on fostering reconciliation in the wake of the 2016 peace accord between the government and FARC rebels. Drawing on the challenges encountered and lessons learned, this report provides suggestions for how future iterations of the IMPACT approach can help policymakers, donors, and practitioners achieve greater and more cost-effective results from the peacebuilding projects they support.

Type: Special Report

Education & Training

Amid the Pandemic, Teaching Peace Remains Vital

Amid the Pandemic, Teaching Peace Remains Vital

Thursday, June 18, 2020

By: Matt Cone; Emily Philpott

USIP’s Peace Teachers Program is a year-long professional development opportunity for middle and high school educators in the United States. Launched in 2015, it offers a select group of educators the opportunity to work closely with USIP and with each other over the course of a school year as they incorporate global peacebuilding themes and skills into their classrooms. In this article, one of USIP’s current Peace Teachers, Emily Philpott, and one of the program’s alumni, Matt Cone, reflect on their experiences teaching peace amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Type: Blog

Education & Training; Global Health

USIP Marks Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

USIP Marks Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020

By: Megan Chabalowski; Ann-Louise Colgan

Every May, the U.S. Institute of Peace celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week by honoring the important role teachers play as peacebuilders. This year, Teacher Appreciation Week and its message hold special resonance, as the coronavirus pandemic has upended education not just in the U.S., but around the world. In the face of this unprecedented challenge, teachers across the country are still delivering education from their homes. USIP and alumni of the Institute’s Peace Teachers Program have joined together to thank educators for all they are doing during this pandemic and for showing why it’s so vital to continue teaching about peace during this crisis.

Type: Blog

Education & Training

View All Publications