PeaceJam UK Youth Conference 2016 with
Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Inspired, excited and enthused – that’s how 200 young people left the second PeaceJam UK Conference to be held at The University of Winchester. These Peace Jammers will be ambassadors for peace for years to come and give us all more hope for the future of our World.
The Nobel Peace Laureate in attendance, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Quiché Indian from Guatemala and one of thirteen Nobel Peace Prize winners who work with PeaceJam, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1992 for her work for the rights of native people everywhere. As well as giving truly inspiring messages during her talks, Rigoberta took plenty of time to answer questions, chat with everyone and be photographed with everyone!
Following the recent murder of activist Berta Cáceres, students showed their support for indigenous peoples by holding up placards and banners which they had written in Spanish to greet Rigoberta. As a gesture of solidarity, the message ‘Justicia para Berta Cáceres’ meaning ‘Justice for Berta Cáceres’ was displayed on the placards. Berta Cáceres, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, was instrumental in leading a movement to stop a hydro-electric dam being built without consulting the indigenous Lenca population in Honduras before her assassination.
Throughout the weekend, the PeaceJam conference discussed Nobel Peace Prize winners and various themes including identity, difference, power, privilege, peace and non-violence in an increasingly complicated world. Discussions were held in small “Family Groups” of Secondary School students from all over the UK, who agreed their own group boundaries and were mentored by University students from Winchester, York, Cardiff and Bradford.
Service projects were undertaken on the Saturday afternoon, including visits to local elderly residential homes, packing clothing for refugees, helping preserve river wildlife and learning about the provision of clean water. And Sunday afternoon’s programme included a wide variety of workshops, such as highlighting violence against women and girls through photography; peer mediation skills; hip hop dance; how to disagree.
Peace Jammers were also given the opportunity to present their local community projects to Rigoberta and the audience, as part of the One Billion Acts of Peace movement – a fundamental element of the academic PeaceJam programme. Their reward – lots of applause and a photograph with a Nobel Peace Laureate!
PeaceJam UK is part of an international youth movement led by Nobel Peace Prize winners.
The mission of the PeaceJam Foundation is to create young leaders committed to bringing about positive change through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.
PeaceJam is an international educational programme for young people aged 7-18. The participating Nobel Peace Laureates are directly involved in developing the PeaceJam curriculum and the programme itself. PeaceJam is the only organisation in the world that has so many Nobel Peace Laureates working together long-term for a common cause – developing leadership in young people.
PeaceJam inspires young people and gives them skills to:
• become a new generation of peacemakers
• transform themselves, their local communities, and the world.
• be active global citizens
• choose non-violent solutions to their problems
More than one million young people worldwide have participated in PeaceJam educational activities and community projects through the One Billion Acts of Peace (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015).
Hundreds of Youth Conferences have been held worldwide, connecting young people with Nobel Peace Laureates.
Nearly two million new community services projects have been developed by PeaceJam participants.
PeaceJam has created thousands of new leadership and volunteer opportunities for young people.
Evaluations have shown that young people who participate in PeaceJam programmes show statistically significant gains in academic skills and knowledge, as well as increased school and community engagement.
Incidents of violence also decrease in schools and community-based organisations where PeaceJam programmes are implemented.
2015 Youth Conference at the University of Winchester with Laureate Jody Williams
Young people support human rights with Laureate Jody Williams