Growing global connection
Early Monday afternoon, PeaceJam FSU leaders joined a Global Youth Zoom that brought PeaceJam Foundation executives together with youth ambassadors from affiliates around the world to reflect, connect and make a plan for moving forward in this isolating time.
I have to admit that going into the call my spirits were somewhat down, with more concerning news coming out each hour about COVID-19. As soon as I hopped on the call, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and comfort. I saw familiar and new faces from all parts of the world: the UK, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala ... and all over the United States! Even though we were all experiencing isolation, more than 75 of us coming together on this call connected PeaceJam in a way we have never been before. To my knowledge, that was the first time youth leaders representing so many branches of PeaceJam connected for one global purpose — without being in the same physical space.
We grounded ourselves, set norms and brainstormed ways to keep the PeaceJam momentum going and how to continue our social justice work while maintaining healthy practices and distancing from others.
Ideas generated in collaborative groups ranged from unbridled aspirations to practical solutions for equity and access; some of the most popular ideas to keep youth engaged (from kindergarten through college) involved moving content like workshops and small group discussions online, drawing inspiration from our laureates, providing guidance on self-care and mental health, and connecting through social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and our own Billion Acts platform to initiate campaigns for social action and support our communities in during and after this crisis.
Concluding the call, we were all feeling more connected to one another and inspired to continue the youth led social justice that defines us.
— Maria Flores, PeaceJam Southeast intern
PeaceJam is an international education program built around Nobel Peace Prize laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to inspire a new generation of leaders who will transform themselves, their local communities and the world. To date, 69.297 million Acts of Peace created across 171 countries have been documented through Billion Acts. The Center for Leadership & Social Change at Florida State University serves as the headquarters for PeaceJam’s Southeast affiliate.