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Peace First

Peace First

Violence is pervasive in our culture and impacts our young people every day, from guns on the streets to bullies in schools, intolerance, and our inability to connect with, respect, and be kind to each other. These experiences have a devastating effect on young people's healthy development, and contributes to a cycle that is at the root of so many other problems in our world.


Thankfully, over twenty years of experience working with young people has taught us that they can be powerful problem-solvers if they are called and prepared to do so. By teaching young people the skills of courage, compassion, and collaborative leadership, we can unleash their moral imagination. By investing in those ideas, we can help them address some of the most challenging issues in their communities.


Unfortunately, not enough young people are being called to act and supported to create powerful solutions. The narrative around our young people is as victims at best, and all too often they are seen as part of the problem. According to the Berkeley Media Studies Group, only 1% of media representations of young people are positive.


Now is the time to unleash this untapped resource by teaching young people the skills they need to solve the problems that matter most to them, and investing in the ideas that will help change our world for the better.

 

 

The Peace First Challenge

Building upon the success of our two decades of working with young people in all 50 states and 82 countries, we will launch the Peace First Challenge on September 21st, 2016, the International Day of Peace. The Challenge is a call to action for young people around the world to identify an injustice they care about and solve it using the tools of compassion, courage, and collaborative leadership, supported by a $1,000,000 venture fund to power their ideas. In choosing to act, young people will unleash their entrepreneurial spirits to create, share, and produce powerful solutions to the biggest problems in their communities.

 

The Challenge will be open to young people under the age of 25, anywhere in the world, with a particular focus on those between the ages of 13 and 18, and contains three complementary and parallel strategies:

  1. Issue the Invitation: Reach young people with stories that inspire action, through media, partner organizations in their communities, and champions they trust.

  2. Take the Journey: Young people who accept the challenge will address an injustice in their community and go on both an internal journey of personal growth, and an external journey to create powerful problem-solving projects in the world supported by a digital hub.

  3. Invest in Ideas: We will incentivize young people’s work and invest in their ideas through a $1M VC Fund for Peace that will provide mini-grants to encourage projects, and larger investments, through the Peace First Prize, to grow their impact.

 

Peace First Prize

 

The Peace First Prize is designed to showcase young people who have confronted injustice, crossed lines of difference, and had the courage and compassion to create lasting change. The goal is to share the daring work of our applicants far and wide, invest in their leadership, and inspire others to make peacemaking a part of their daily lives. Most importantly, we want to tell the stories of our applicants – incredible stories of young people leading powerful change.

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