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Initiative for Peace (IfP) is an action-based programme that offers UWCSEA students the opportunity to actively promote international understanding and reconciliation in areas of conflict. Since 2001, the IfP has empowered young people from Kashmir, Timor Leste and Sri Lanka to fulfill their potential as agents of change.

UWCSEA students and supporting staff supervisors spend a year planning these conferences, doing everything from sending applications out and selecting participants, to planning the conference programme and activities, to finding speakers and raising funds. They then facilitate and run the conferences, with the support of UWCSEA staff.

Our students explain it in their own words...

 

 

Part 1: Learning how to be peace makers

The first half of the IFP year is about training students to be facilitators. Participants have weekly sessions to discuss issues relating to peace and conflict, research the history of conflicts in the countries that the conferences will visit, and learn peace building skills. Students also have weekend training sessions with visiting experts from NGOs, the UN and UWC alumni, who lead sessions in team building, communication, negotiation and leadership.

Part 2: Focus on building deep understanding

The second half of the year is about focusing on a particular conflict and planning and facilitating a conference dedicated to the needs of that community or country. For our past conferences, students have focused on gaining a deep understanding about Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste while they plan their conference activities and programme.

Part 3: Running the conference

During the conference, participants engage in a variety of activities, building friendships across conflict lines as a first step in the search for ways to facilitate reconciliation. The conferences feature trust building activities, workshops and discussions facilitated by UWCSEA students, and lectures by visiting speakers. Topics covered include different portrayals of history, the role of the media, the plight of children and refugees, conflict management, youth leadership and effective advocacy.

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