Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson shared a meal and sparklers with more than a dozen young people this Fourth of July. (Photo: AOKDC.org)

The Power of a Dinner Table

David Brooks, in a recent NY Times Op Ed, shares a powerful model of non-formal community/family-based peace education.
Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson have a son named Santi, who went to Washington, D.C., public schools. Santi had a friend who sometimes went to school hungry. So Santi invited him to occasionally eat and sleep at his house. That friend had a friend and that friend had a friend, and now when you go to dinner at Kathy and David’s house on Thursday night there might be 15 to 20 teenagers crammed around the table. The kids who show up at Kathy and David’s have endured the ordeals of modern poverty: homelessness, hunger, abuse, sexual assault. Almost all have seen death firsthand — to a sibling, friend or parent.

Youth delegates presenting at the final plenary session.

Inspiring Youth demand more space in the Peace Movement

At the IPB Disarmament Congress in Berlin the first weekend in October around 40 young people from 15 different nations met during a Youth Gathering. Pressenza interviewed three of them: Marie Cucurella from France, Emma Pritchard from England and Simon Ott from Germany.

When asked to constructively criticize the Congress, all three become rather lively: “They always say: Engage the Youth! But then they do not give us space.” Emma says that the Youth had an important perspective to contribute, a perspective that is also valuable. “The goal would be that we no longer have Youth Gatherings in the future but that we participate on equal terms”, Marie says.

UNICEF Consultancy assignment: Voices of Youth Engagement Coordinator

UNICEF, the world’s leading organization working for the rights of children, seeks a consultant (Voices of Youth Engagement Coordinator), Social Media Team, Digital Strategy Section, responsible for the development and growth in engagement of the Voices of Youth (VOY) community and presence. Application deadline: October 12.

Militarism and the Young: Youth Gathering at the Disarmament Congress in Berlin

“In many ways the world we live in is unjust and inhumane, especially towards young people. Our social model is established on unlimited economic growth, the extensive use of natural resources, the predominance of capital, domination structures, patriarchy, competition, violence, confrontation, conflict and war. Capitalism and militarism reinforce themselves, destroying the livelihoods of all beings.” That’s how the draft of the Declaration for Demilitarization and Youth begins, which was developed in the preparation meetings for the Youth Gathering of the Disarmament Congress that starts in Berlin end of September 2016.

Forest Whitaker announces launch of the Domestic Harmonizer program at Andrew Carnegie Middle School. (Photo: CSUDH news)

Forest Whitaker Partners with Cal State Dominguez Hills to Teach Middle School Students Peace and Conflict Resolution

At a school-wide assembly at Andrew Carnegie Middle School artist and social activist Forest Whitaker officially launched the Domestic Harmonizer Program with California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). All 915 6-8th grade students will participate in the program. The program is an innovative initiative designed by WPDI and CSUDH specifically for middle schools, with the aim of nurturing a new generation of youth leaders committed to peaceful conflict resolution. The program integrates Conflict Resolution Education with Common Core State Standards in math, science, social studies, and English.

Millennium Campus Network, Site Director Positions, NY, Boston and Miami

The Millennium Campus Network (MCN) is a non-profit network of undergraduate student leaders, student organizations, and higher education institutions cultivating an ecosystem of ethical, effective, and engaged social impact leaders. The MCN convenes students working to end extreme poverty and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through campus-based organizing. The MCN is hiring Hub Site Directors in NY, Boston and Miami. Application deadline for all three positions is September 4, 2016.

Tavon and Samaria Rice lean on each other, both wearing pins with pictures of Tamir. (Photo: Liz Schlemmer, St. Louis Public Radio)

A Truth Hearing: Siblings of those killed by police or community violence share stories

Youth Speak Truth brought together the narratives of people who have lost a loved one to what they see as racialized violence. The event was organized by the Truth Telling Project and Michael Brown’s family foundation, Chosen for Change. It opened a four-day weekend designed to celebrate Brown’s life. Aug. 9 will mark two years since the 18-year-old was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Peace Boat US participants paint a mural about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the Kuna indigenous community in Panama.

Peace Education & the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America – Summer Program Report

On June 24, a group of youth from New York City joined Peace Boat US as part of a two week study program through Central America focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and peacebuilding efforts in the region. The team of 24 included participants from Global Kids, an NYC-based organization that works for global learning and youth development, and interns with Peace Boat US.

Broadcasting Peace: Case Study on Education for Peace Through Radio

This case study portrays a Learning for Peace intervention carried out in partnership with Straight Talk Foundation to promote awareness about conflict drivers, strengthen peacebuilding competencies and the capacity of youth and communities to mitigate and manage conflicts in and around education. The intervention is informed by a 2014-15 conflict analysis of the education sector in Uganda and has utilized a Communication for Development approach comprising media-based, school-based and community dialogue activities.

Francois Ruharamirindi , the headteacher of Groupe Scolaire Cyabagarura in Musanze District, speaks to the youth at the exhibition in Kigali, yesterday. (Photo: Nadege Imbabazi)

Rwanda: Youth Challenged to Be Peacemakers

A three-day mobile art exhibition depicting poetry, paintings and featuring stories of peacemakers is currently underway in Kigali. The exhibition was organised to inspire and challenge the youth to become peacemakers in their communities. Didier Rutagungira, the communications officer at Aegis Trust, said the aim of the exhibition is to showcase peace stories and messages from different people from across Rwanda. “The stories primarily focus on individuals who initiated projects that fostered peace after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and still continue to do so,” he said.

Invitation for Youth to Submit Videos to the United Nations for the International Day of Peace

The Education Outreach Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information invites young people from around the world between the ages of 15 and 24 to submit 10- to 15-second videos in English on how the Sustainable Development Goals can build peace. Submissions will be accepted from now until 1 September.

Call for Submissions: The Education Youth Video Challenge

The Education Youth Video Challenge, coordinated by the The Education Commission and organized with support from A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors and MTV Voices, invites young people ages 13-30 to create a video of 30 seconds or less answering one or both of these questions: How can education best prepare you for your future? What would your ideal school of the future look like? Submission deadline: June 30, 2016.

TWO GIRLS, BOTH AGED 12, TACKLE A MATHS QUESTION AT A TEMPORARY SCHOOL IN NORTHERN LEBANON, SET UP BY UNICEF AND LEBANESE NGO BEYOND ASSOCIATION WITH THE HELP OF UK AID. (PHOTO: FLICKR, RUSSELL WATKINS/DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT)

Working Toward Peace in Syria with Education

Education could be the most powerful change agent for a lasting peace in war-torn Syria. Of the 4.9 million Syrian refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), over half of them are children, and one of the most important things stripped from them in this conflict is their access to schooling. It is imperative to reverse this trend, as education is crucial not only for the wellbeing of individuals, but as a tool for peace as well. While the prospect of solving many aspects of the conflict in Syria may seem impossible in the near future, improving access to education is a tangible, positive change that is within grasp.