Change beings at home. And for many of the 2021 Seeds, there was no better place to begin.
“I felt like there was a big issue revolving around where I live my entire life, and I couldn’t just sit and do nothing,” said Amalia, a 2021 Israeli Seed. “I had to do something, I wanted to talk about it.”
Amalia was one of more than 300 youth who earned the title of “Seed” during the past year, and one of 178 who did so through joining the Core Leadership Program—intensive leadership trainings that debuted last fall, implementing proven Seeds of Peace methodologies with youth around the world.
While the programs are tailored to fit the needs of the local communities where they’re held, each requires at least 50 hours of participation and explores divides within societies (like race, religion, politics, and class) while giving participants the fundamentals of dialogue and taking action to create change.
“The essence—the core—of Seeds of Peace is an integrated experience of dialogue, community, leadership skill development, and action taking, and we learned we can teach that in a variety of shorter and scalable—but still deep and intensive—experiences,” said Seeds of Peace Executive Director Josh Thomas. “The divides within each of our national societies run deep, and there are more than enough issues of conflict and injustice around which to engage.”
With a common set of tools in hand, participants will now be better equipped to have meaningful, productive encounters across lines of difference as they progress to more advanced programs—as well as to begin making immediate change at home.
“Eventually, we are going to be the ones who will educate the next generation, so we have to start somewhere, we have to do something, and what I learned here is preparing me to do that,” said Amalia.
The 2022 Core Leadership Program launched in June with the virtual edition of the U.S. version. Program directors are learning from what worked well last year, and what could improve, with adjustments being made for elements like program duration and group size. At its heart, the programs will all still aim to empower youth to lead lasting change in their communities.
“Before the program, leadership meant just a lot of work and responsibility for me,” said Ibrahim, a 2021 Indian Seed. “But after going through CLP, the word ‘leader’ took on a whole new meaning. It had a huge impact on me.”