122 Maine, Syracuse teens tackle divides within their schools and communities
Second session of International Camp also bringing together 30 educators from conflict regions to examine ways to teach history that encourage peace
OTISFIELD, MAINE | On July 23, 99 teenagers from Maine and 23 from Syracuse, New York, will arrive at the Seeds of Peace International Camp to engage in dialogue, build leadership skills, and tackle intercommunal tensions.
Joining them will be 30 educators from regions of conflict around the world who are taking part in the Camp’s third annual Educators Program summer course.
Seeds of Peace adapted its internationally recognized conflict resolution and youth leadership program in 2000 to focus on tensions in Maine between the state’s growing refugee and asylum-seeker populations and their neighbors.
This summer marks the 14th year of Maine Seeds programming at Camp, with students attending from 13 schools across the state.
Seeds of Peace’s Syracuse Program, started in 2011, is generously supported by Say Yes to Education with additional assistance from another non-profit, InterFaith Works. Like cities in Maine, Syracuse experiences challenges within its school system due to tensions between American-born populations and communities from Somalia, Sudan, Vietnam, Iraq, Thailand, and other countries.
The Syracuse dialogue program at Camp will focus primarily on four topics: stereotypes and assumptions, white privilege, institutionalized racism, and the role of allies.
For both delegations, this two-week session at the International Camp is only a beginning; year-round local programs will enable them to continue developing strong relationships as well as the skills needed to engage others in their schools and communities in the effort to promote understanding.
The Seeds of Peace Educators’ Course, “Making History,” runs parallel to the Maine and Syracuse programs. Over the course of two weeks, participants explore how, by turning the “past” into history, people answer the question of who they are, where they come from and where they are going; participants explore how to learn and teach the past in ways that encourage a more humane and more peaceful future.
Graduates of the course will join a growing and unique global network of Seeds of Peace Educators committed to the values of respect, cross-cultural understanding, civic engagement, leadership and the peaceful transformation of conflict. The formal and informal educators in this network serve as a resource for others both in and beyond their own communities.
Say Yes to Education, Inc. is a national non-profit foundation dedicated to valuing and realizing the promise and extraordinary potential of economically disadvantaged youth and families; it is committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban youth in the United States.
After Camp, Say Yes as well as InterFaith Works will continue their partnerships with Seeds of Peace in order to create initiatives reducing tension and violence within Syracuse schools.