Global Exchange staff & founders "then"

Global Exchange staff & founders “then”

In 1988, four friends co-founded Global Exchange to fight a worldview based on greed, domination, and unvarnished worship of power. We envisioned building a robust U.S. movement capable of creating change from the grassroots, powered by people-to-people ties.

Now here we are celebrating our 25th year, sharing visions of peace with thousands of supporters, and revving up for a fresh new batch of What About Peace? art submissions.

With two big anniversaries coming up, there is no better time to get started on your submission for the 2014 What About Peace? contest:

  1. We celebrate International Human Rights Day this month. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. December 14th marks the anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings and all over the country groups will be marking the day with vigils, marches, and meetings calling for an End to Violence, more sensible gun legislation, and a weeklong “Acts of Kindness” program.  Coat and clothing drives, soup kitchens and “Buddy Benches” for lonely or alienated school kids are possible ways to get involved.

WAPeacedoveNow is the time to think about Peace. Whether you want to think about Peace in your school, on your community’s streets, or in the international arena we want to hear from you. You have just about two months to get your pieces ready!


Peace on Earth Action Kit

Or if you want to share peace this holiday season, you can order a Peace on Earth Holiday Action kit for you or a loved one to inspire more visions of peace.


What About Peace? is calling youth ages 14 – 20 to submit their work; painting, short story, photography, graphic, poetry or essay to  answer the question: ‘What about Peace?’ February 17th is the deadline for submitting your work.

Scott Graber, an inspired art teacher from Pennsylvania

Scott Graber, an inspired art teacher from Pennsylvania

After our winners were chosen for this year’s “What About Peace” contest, we discovered something very interesting about three of the top winning artists; though they used different styles and mediums, they shared one thing in common – their teacher: Scott Graber of West Lawn,Pennsylvania. 

Contest rules require that all What About Peace? contest participants must have a teacher/sponsor in order to participate in the contest. And this year out of hundreds of entries, our Grand, First, AND Second Prize Visual winners all came from artist teacher Scott Graber’s class (not to mention a substantial number of Honorable Mentions!)

Here are the winning pieces from Mr. Graber’s class:

2013 Grand Prize Winner "Untitled"; Kaitlyn Reber

2013 Grand Prize Winner
“Untitled”; Kaitlyn Reber

2013 First Prize Visual Winner "Untitled"; Tyler Reppert, 17 yrs

2013 First Prize Visual Winner “Untitled”; Tyler Reppert, 17 yrs

WAP2013Cristina Serban Second Prize_0

2013 Second Prize Visual Winner “Untitled”; Cristina Serban, 18 yrs

We wondered how this teacher inspired such thoughtful work and decided to give him a call. 

It turns out Scott Graber has been teaching art for 14 years and has one of the most dedicated and inspiring teaching styles. We asked him what he did to open his students up to the message of peace. Here’s what he did:

He started with a class discussion about peace – from inner peace to world peace and then showed a slide show of the vibrant, anti-war pop culture posters of

A Few of the classic pieces that art teacher Scott Graber shared with his students for inspiration

Peter Max to experience how to make art with a message. They listened to John Lennon’s “Imagine” and listed the emotions, moods, colors and images that came to their minds. The students loved to talk about Peace, Graber reported, exploring conspiracy theories, dream-like utopias and world affairs.

Then he had the students prepare three or more thumbnail sketches of their ideas, keeping to the question: Is my message evident?  They displayed their sketches and the whole class discussed which composition worked best. Then each student chose her or his medium, the size of the piece and got to work.  

As they worked Graber continued to encourage and ask if the students were working to their full potential – reminding them that their name would be on the finished piece and represents them, teaching strategies he learned from the biggest influence in his life – his own high school art teacher.

All in all the process lasted 3 weeks from start to finish, with lots of great conversations about peace and some really creative answers to the question: “What About Peace?”

Inspiration can be passed from teacher to student to the world in more ways than you always know.   Thank you Scott Graber for your inspiration!



“What About Peace?” Grand Judge David Hartsough

Thanks to the careful consideration by our Grand Judge, David Hartsough – We now have winners of the international “What About Peace?” contest!

Get to Know Grand Judge David Hartsough

David Hartsough, the co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce  and the director of Peaceworkers  has dedicated his life to non-violence since the day his father brought him to Montgomery Alabama when he was 15 years old and he got to meet Martin Luther King. He believes, as president Kennedy did, that “ those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable”.

When I asked David what message he had for 14- 20 year olds—he said that the most important lesson of his life was that 12 students with some courage and some training in non-violence can change history.

People all over the world are realizing that we don’t have to be victims, that it’s not the people with the guns and the weapons that have the power, we do.  We’ll share more of David’s stories right here on our People to People blog as we showcase some of the beautiful work of this year’s contestant.

David was attending a meeting at Global Exchange when all of the artwork was hung in the conference room and the written pieces laid out for reading pleasure.  He was so inspired by all of the creativity displayed and was honored when we asked him to be our grand judge!

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

The 2013 “What About Peace?” winners are (drum roll please):

GRAND PRIZE: Kaitlyn Reber, 17 years old of  Reading, Pennsylvania

What About Peace Grand Prize Winner

2013 Grand Prize Winner; Untitled; Kaitlyn Reber, 17 years old


  • First Prize Visual:  Tyler Reppert, 17 yrs of Wernersville, Pennsylvania
  • Second Prize Visual: Cristina Serban, 18 yrs of Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Third Prize Visual: “Closure” by Jonathan Xie, 16 yrs of San Francisco, California


  • First Prize Written “Africa, Land of Peace”, Victor Sichangala, 16 yrs of Kabwe, Zambia
  • Second Prize Written Winner “It’s You” Emma Nice, 18 yr  Omaha, Nebraska
  • Third Prize Written Winner “A Jump From the Cycle” Callie Lopshire-Bratt, 18 yrs Walnut Creek, California “So, Yeah, Peace” by Adriane Martinez, 17 yrs Omaha, Nebraska


See All the Winners for Yourself!

On our website: Would you like to read the written pieces and see all the beautiful visual pieces? Both written and visual winners are posted on the What About Peace? 2013 Winners webpage.

On Facebook: If you want to see all the visual winners in one album, check out the What About Peace? Facebook page, which has pictures of all the visual winners including Juror’s Awards and Honorable Mentions. We hope you “like” this page to keep the conversation about peace going.

To all who took part in this years’ contest…beautiful work letting us all know that peace is possible. Congratulations to all of you who participated!

A wall of beautiful art!

Wall of beautiful art!

154 poems
77 essays
30 short stories
77 paintings
66 graphics and
31 photos

It is going to be hard to select the winners of this year’s What About Peace contest  but the jury is hard at work doing just that.

Our jury consists of a book store owner, an author, a published essayist and a blogger, an artist from Cuba, an activist, a portrait painter, a landscape photographer, and muralist all dedicated to giving their full attention to all the work presented to the “What About Peace” contest by young people from around the world.

Pam Totah says " How are we going to choose?'

Pam Totah says “How are we going to choose?”

Every written piece is read by four people; evaluating them for craft and content. All of the visual pieces have been hung in the conference room to be seen by the jury next week.  What are the most compelling messages of peace? What are the most original?

For now, as the room is used for meetings of all sorts, everyone gets to view and enjoy the incredible talent of the 14 -20 year old students who know how they feel about peace.

The winners will be announced on the What About Peace? Facebook page on April 22th, so “like” our page  to see all of the fabulous winners!


Update on 2/18/2013: The call for submissions is now closed. Thanks to ALL who submitted entries. We are overwhelmed by the beauty and thoughtfulness of the pieces. Next, we move on to the most difficult part of this contest; choosing winners from among the hundreds of inspiring entries!

Believe it or not, the entry deadline for the 2013 What About Peace? youth art contest is less than a week away. (Where does the time go?!)

Now in its eighth year, an interesting shift has been happening this year…we’ve been receiving a much higher percentage of international entries than in years’ past. Word has spread globally about this art contest that challenges youth between 14-20 to creatively answer the question: ‘What About Peace?’

In addition to entries from all around the U.S. we’ve received artwork from Nepal, Uganda, Ukraine, and the list goes on!

Worth sharing is this excerpt from a sweet letter we received this week from a What About Peace? teacher sponsor named Olga:

Best wishes from far-away Ukraine! First, let me thank you for giving my pupils an excellent opportunity to express their thoughts about peace creatively. They, like other millions of teenagers, think about peace all over the world and try to share their ideas with others. They are sure “if you draw, if you write, if you take photos- it means you dream about it. And dreams, if they are pure, light, important for everybody, MUST COME TRUE”. You do VERY important thing by involving the youth to dream about peace, because those who dream about it, will NEVER be able to destroy; they will build, create our happy peaceful future.

Wow, thanks Olga for these eloquent words. Peace is certainly universal!

Take-ActionTAKE ACTION! For You Last-Minute Peace-Seekers…

What About Peace? Deadline: All entries must be received to our office by February 15th, 2013. Visit What About Peace? for entry details.

Prizes! Prizes will be given in two categories: written (essay, poem, short story) and visual (painting, collage, photography and graphic).

  • GRAND PRIZE is $1000 in any category
  • First Place –$300 each for the best written entry and $300 for best visual entry
  • Second Place– $150 in each category
  • Sponsor/Teacher’s prizes –$100 for Grand prize and first prize

Want to enter? Visit our information page.

Questions? Contact with questions.

And remember the wise words of Olga, “those who dream about it, will NEVER be able to destroy; they will build, create our happy peaceful future.”



2013 What About Peace? entries

Peace is Universal!

The deadline for this year’s What About Peace? contest is fast approaching and young people from all around the world are heeding the call to share their answers to the question: What About Peace?  We’ve welcomed questions from Colombia, Kenya, Haiti and Vietnam asking if the contest was open to international submissions.

Yes!  Peace is Universal. If you are 14 -20 years old tell us how YOU answer this question in your community.


2013 What About Peace? entries

Write a poem, tell a story, share your opinion in a perfectly crafted essay or try something visual with a photo, painting or graphic.  Your own creativity is the only limitation (that and the age and artwork size guidelines, of course!)

Yes, there are prizes!  Prizes will be given in two categories – written and visual with a grand prize of $1000 for the best over all.

February 15th will be the last day we can accept your submission so don’t wait. Enter today, and/or spread the word!

Our future depends on young people’s commitment to a peaceful world, what is yours?


“What About Peace?” by Christina Scheblein

Global Exchange has been a part of the What About Peace? youth art contest for six years, but this is the first year we’re offering notecards featuring some of the artwork. We’re quite excited about this, and hope you are too!

For this first run, we’re offering a collection of three beautiful designs, all past “Honorable Mention” winners.

The cards are available now for your holiday and New Year’s greetings!

The card designs reflect the urgent, dignified and playful call for peace envisioned by three talented young What About Peace? contestants.

A  set of 9 cards (3 of each design) is yours for a $10 donation to the project. The 4” by 5 ½” cards are blank inside with plenty of room for your personal holiday greeting (or any greeting for that matter, since peace is embraceable year-round.)

“Peace Comes From Within” by Allie Witham

Here’s more about the artists:

  • Christina Schebleim of New York has created a colorful watercolor grid of peace signs subtly including the words change and possibility in the pattern.
  • Alayna Miller from Michigan calls on us to “Take Time to Converse About Peace” with a playful circle of sneakers spelling out the word “Peace”.
  • Allie Whitham of Oregon’s peace dove, “Peace Comes from Within” is constructed of hundreds of black and white peace doves with a simple olive branch in its beak.

“Time to Converse about Peace” by Alayna Miller


  • Support the contest designed to give creative voice to youth who want to engage in the dialogue for peace: Order your Peace cards today!
  • What About Contest Seeking 2013 Entries Now! Do you know any 14 – 20 year olds? Send them this link to the contest guidelines. – The deadline is February 15. More than $2500 in prizes are offered to winners and their sponsors.
  • Keep up with the What About Peace? contest: “Like” What About Peace? on Facebook.

Artwork ready for the jury

What about Peace? The answer is on it’s way.

What About Peace? is the international arts contest for youth ages 14 – 20 to express ideas and thoughts about peace by responding to the question, “What About Peace?” through artistic expression, with $1500 in prize money to be given out.

"What About Peace?" submissions laid out by jurists

The deadline has passed to submit and the question “What about Peace?” has been answered by over 700 young people – using the medium of photography, painting, graphic, poetry, short story and essay.  The answers came from all over the country – Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Arizona, California and far off countries including the Philippines.

Last year I served as the “What About Peace?” Grand Judge and this is the first year that Global Exchange has been in charge of this contest that is designed to reward sustained thought about what we mean by peace and how we achieve it.  It was started by a visionary woman, Barbara Briggs-Letson who believes that having young people think about peace is a good thing and that their unleashed creativity can and will make it happen.

What About Peace? promotes an important inter-generational dialogue and the jurists were inspired by the carefully thought out essays, poems and beautiful paintings and collages.

Some of the "What About Peace" 2012 entries

For continuity this year I drove up to Sebastopol, CA where last year’s jury showed me how it was done. Four jurists – a museum curator, an artist and two art teachers helped me spread out all the visual pieces in the pews of large church that had donated space. Then came the difficult task of finding the truly unique answers, the creative responses and the artfully executed pieces. It wasn’t easy! There are some great entries this year.

Now the pieces have returned to San Francisco, where our Grand Judge Rae Abileah will pick the prize winners in the next two weeks and we will have the honor of announcing and posting the winners on April 20th on our What About Peace? website and right here on our People to People blog. Stay tuned!


What About Peace? is a Global Exchange international arts contest for youth ages 14 – 20 to express ideas and thoughts about peace by responding to the question, “What About Peace?” through artistic expression.

With the submission deadline just one day away, it is finally time to announce who this year’s What About Peace? Grand Judge is, and that person is….drum roll please…

Rae Abileah!!!

What About Peace 2012 Grand Judge Rae Abileah

Rae Abileah is the co-director of CODEPINK Women for Peace (  She is also a founding member of Young Jewish Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace. Rae is a contributing author to 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military; Sisters Singing: Incantations, Blessings, Chants, Prayers, Art and Sacred Stories by Women; Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Stories of Jewish Peace Activists; and Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution.  Her articles have been published on Mondoweiss, AlterNet, Common Dreams, Pink Tank, and she has guest blogged for Global Exchange.

Please join me in welcoming Rae as this year’s What About Peace? Grand Judge. Rae is a shining example of what it takes to be a truly dedicated activist, role model, and leader in the struggle for justice around the world! Last year Kirsten Moller served as the Grand Judge.

The "What About Peace?" art contest submission table

Submissions are pouring in as the deadline approaches. All entries must be received in our office on or before February 15th, 2012 to qualify. The Grand prize is $1000, but more than $2500 in total prizes will be awarded. Check out for all the contest details.

On my way to lunch this afternoon, I passed a big pile of incoming mail. The person watching the front desk area told me “Most of these are “What About Peace?” submissions. Crazy, huh?”

I picked one envelope up out of curiosity. The return address said Philippines.

“So cool,” I thought. Each one of these art submissions was created by a young person…poems and short stories, photographs and paintings. Graphic designs, essays and cartoons. Piles of submissions, all about peace. All by young people. From all over the world.

Yes, so cool. And now that we have a cool Grand Judge, we are gearing up for the big announcement. Who will be crowned this year’s What About Peace winner? Stay tuned.