What-About-Peace-art-contesAs the world gets more and more complicated and peace seems more elusive, new voices, ideas and commitments are needed. Youth art contest “What About Peace” is looking to hear from you if you are 14 -20 years old.  What is your answer?

Prize money is available for the winners of the contest for 14 – 20 year old youth who want to answer the question: What About Peace?

 Grand Prize is $1000!

Sponsor/Teacher’s prizes are available too.

Want to enter? Visit our information page.

But don’t delay, the deadline is February 15th and we don’t want to miss your creativity.

Paint a picture, take a photograph or write a poem- the world needs you to think about and act for peace.

What do you believe? Tell us in an essay or short story or cool new graphic – your creativity is the limit.  But don’t let the clock run out on this opportunity.

February 15th will be the last day we can accept your submission, so don’t put it off!

Young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow, they’re our leaders today, as we work for peace around the world.

What-About-Peace-Facebook-PP.S. Check our Facebook page to see a gallery of last year’s beautiful work.




“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.

Grand Prize, “Peace is in Our Hands” by Amanda Mckenna of Sacramento, CA

What About Peace?, the art contest that asks youth ages 14–20 to answer this question creatively is pleased to announce the 2012 winners.

Hundreds submitted entries, and after months of jurying, judging and photographing we are ready to reveal the inspiring work of  this year’s contestants, as they think about what peace means in 2012.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Below is a list of winners; our grand prize winner along with the first and second place winners for each category, plus honorable mentions in each category.

Check out the What About Peace Facebook page for a peek at some of this years colorful, thought-provoking visual entries.

We will continue to showcase the creative entries through the end of the school year on our What About Peace website. You can go there now to see the first installment of all of our amazing and inspiring entries. Then keep checking back for future entries!

In the meantime, without further ado, here this year’s winners:

2012 Grand Prize Winner:

Amanda McKenna 17 years old, from Sacramento, California: “Peace is in Our Hands” sponsored by Deborah George of Sheldon High School.

First Prize Visual Arts: Paisley Hiefield, 16 years old

First Prize Visual Arts:

Paisley Hiefield, 16 years old from Portland, Oregon: “Release More Peace” sponsored by Annarose Pandey of West View High School

Second Prize Visual Arts: Jessica Tilley, 16 years old from Battle Creek Michigan: “Peace Has No Limit” sponsored by Rebecca Gardner of Harper Creek.

First Prize Written:

Emily Council, 17 years old from Wiliamsburg, VA: “Reality Check” sponsored by Moncia Schauffler of Lafayette High School.

Second Prize Written:

Simran Khanal, 15 years old from Bennington, NE: “A New Kind of Peace”, sponsored by Deborah Ward of Burke High School.

Honorable Mentions Visual Arts:

  • Dana Ser, 16, Levittown, NY “Breathe in War, Breathe out Peace”
  • Alayna Miller, 17 Battle Creek, MI “Take Time to Converse about Peace”
  • Nhi Nguyen, 15 San Diego, CA “The Letter of Peace”
  • Baylee Kentner,, 15 Levittown, NY “Represent Peace”
  • Camille Mason, 16 Chattanooga TN “Peace on Earth”
  • Ashley Hand, 16 Chattanooga, TN “Heartbeat?”
  • Mary Hare, 17 Portland, OR “We Stand For Peace”
  • Angeleena Tiaokhiao, 14 San Diego, CA “We Are Peace”
  • Katie Lober, 17 Odenville, AL “Share the Peace”
  • Alexander Setzer, 16 Baltimore, MD “A Piece on Peace”
  • Jacob Reynolds, 16, Concord, CA “Peace is in our Reach”
  • Allie Witham, 17, Portland, OR “Peace Comes from Within”
  • Veronica Stamp, 17 Oneonta, NY “It isn’t Enough..”
  • Brenna Rathbone, 16 Oneonta, NY “Holding the World Together, One Hand at a Time”
  • Ansley Pearson, 14 Chatttanooga, TN “Let Peace Fly Free”
  • David Vieira, 16 Parlin, NJ “Why Not Try Peace”
  • Rausan Bonijerai, 18 , Locust Valley, NY “Peace, love, peace, love”
  • Emma Black, 17, South Abington, PA “Together we Can find the Missing Peace”
  • Mallory Hiefield, 16 Portland, OR “It Starts with You”

Honorable Mentions Written:


  • David Arellano, 15 Ooltewah, TN “What About Peace”
  • Changwoo Hong, 16, Winona, MN “ Promoting Peace”
  • Hyuntuek Huang, 16, Winona, MN “Peace Sign (V sign)”
  • Lynzee Matousek, 18 Omaha, NE “My Peace”
  • Jacqueline Naganuma, 17 Beaverton, OR “Peace, What About It?”
  • Amelia Nichols, 15, Winona, MN “Peace is Possible”
  • Nicolo Odorizzi, 17 Omaha NE, “Peace”
  • Cecilia Perez, 17, Salinas, CA “Give Peace a Chance”
  • Alexander Peterson, 16 Omaha, NE “Peace and War”
  • Nick Thurber,16 Omaha, NE “A Piece of Mind”
  • Joseph Tlougan, 16, Winona,MN “Untitled”
  • Michael Yoon, 16, Winona, MN “Untitled”


  • Samantha Adams, 16, Baltimore, MD “One World Peace”
  • Emily Banat, 17 Omaha NE, “The Implications of ‘Peace”
  • Rachel Chuang, 17 Great Falls, VA “Perched on the Window”
  • Lauren Cooper, 17 Omaha, NE “The First One Home”
  • Eric Keisling, 18 Omaha, NE “Something to Fight For”

Short Story:

  • Erin Brown, 16 Omaha, NE “That One Person”
  • Hannah Combs, 15 Chattanooga, TN “Why Can’t There Be Peace?”
  • Kathryn Gunderson, 16 Seaford, NY “City of Peace”
  • Stephen Skelly, 16, Levittown, NY “Stockholm Syndrome”

Blog Author Debra Weistar

This guest blog was written by Debra Weistar, co-director of Finding the Good Traveling Semester Program.

“This was the most amazing day ever.  I learned more today than in all the years of my education.”

–Wyatt Maniarrez, Oct. 6, 2011, after attending a court hearing between the Western Shoshone and the Bureau of Land Management arguing for the protection of water on Mt. Denaho in Nevada, where the largest mining corporation in the world is mining for gold on public lands.

Wyatt is 16 years old.

I should mention that the education Wyatt received on that day included a crash course on Rights of Nature and rights-based governance.  As a prospective student in Finding the Good Traveling Semester Program, Wyatt joined us for a day.  When he is enrolled in the full semester on January 2012, he will take a block course on community rights, Rights of Nature, corporate personhood, the regulatory system, the history of the Constitution of the United States, and social movements.  Did I mention this is for high school?

Students with Chief Almir, Surui people of Brazilian Rainforest

Without the crash course in Rights of Nature and rights-based governance, Wyatt would likely have come away from the day in despair, instead of with his eyes wide and his head full of new thoughts. The hearing was, in his words, “stacked heavily in favor of the BLM and Barrick Gold Corporation” and we witnessed the lawyer for the tribes argue within the regulatory “script” to try to save the waters of Mt. Denabo. The argument was not about rights – the right of Mt Denabo to “exist, flourish and evolve”, nor of the Western Shoshone’s ancient rights to the land and water. Instead, the argument was, as it most often is, about an interpretation of a possible flaw in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) carrying the slim chance that the waters of Mt. Denabo – a sacred site to the Western Shoshone – might be partially protected. Opposition to the mine itself years ago was not successful and the open pit at the base of Mt. Denabo is well over a mile across.

Not an encouraging picture, to be sure, in an all-too-familiar scenario in the fight to protect and preserve the fragile ecosystems on which we all depend. The difference, to Wyatt and the other students who are learning about corporate personhood and community rights, is that they are also learning about rights-based governance, and what that might mean to them as citizens and young leaders.  They can participate in action that is based on standing up and saying “no” to corporate destruction, instead of begging for lesser harms. So even though the picture is bleak, frustrating, and frightening, they are no longer bound by a myth and controlled by a fiction in their own minds. The truth can be hard, but knowing the truth is essential to an authentic education.  Authentic education is essential for social change.

Students interviewing Thomas Linzey

Youth need to learn from community organizers doing rights-based work. At Finding the Good (FtG) they learn from Shannon Biggs, Rights Based Campaigner for Global Exchange, and Ben Price from CELDF, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. They interview people like Thomas Linzey, co-founder of CELDF, to learn about communities that are claiming their right to self-governance, drafting and passing ordinances that keep destructive corporate activity out. FtG is currently working with Shannon Biggs and others to create a Youth Summit for Rights of Nature and Rights Based Organizing.

In front of the courthouse on the day of the hearing, Wyatt along with Skye, media intern for Finding the Good, shot footage of the water ceremony and speeches with tribal members. They interviewed Shoshone grandmothers who spoke about the sacredness of water, and how water has a right to flow unimpeded and pure. “That’s what we believe”, said Mary McCloud, “that’s the Indigenous way.” They heard the lawyers for Barrick Gold and the lawyers for the government make statements like, “There can be degradation, just no “undue” degradation”, when speaking of the water. When the issue of Shoshone religious and cultural values was brought up, they argued that those cannot be “quantified” and therefore do not fit into the established analytical model. As such, they cannot be considered. Wyatt and Skye can consider them, though. They can also consider that humans and Nature have inherent rights and that those rights must be protected.

Wyatt and Skye will take the footage they shot and the interviews they recorded and produce news pieces for our local radio station and online news source, as well as the Finding the Good blog. While they may not yet be prepared to draft a new constitution recognizing the rights of Nature, they are learning to educate others on issues and solutions that can lead to a just and sustainable world.

Finding the Good Traveling Semester Program is open to all high school juniors and seniors, and gap year students. Please visit the Finding the Good student blog at www.blog.findingthegood.org

To donate to Global Exchange’s ongoing Community Rights Program, please click here.

In 2 weeks, the Global Exchange Michigan team will embark on our second Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT) program.  GELT is a 9 week training program that brings together residents from the community of Detroit & Highland Park together with youth from communities throughout Michigan and the U.S. for technical trainings in the green economy and community organizing.

Since last summer’s bootstrapped project with 5 participants and no funding, our dream has grown from a start-up concept project to a full-fledged program.  Now we are anticipating the arrival of 25 young entrepreneurs from all over the country who will descend upon Detroit in 2 and half weeks to kick off the program on June 6th 

When we started out, our concept was simple: create a training program in Detroit  on renewable energy, energy efficiency and urban agriculture and directly apply the training to the community in Detroit.

We worked with our long-time ally, Pastor David Bullock, of Greater St. Matthews Church in Highland Park to find vacant property to use as our training grounds.  As a majority of Detroit’s once vibrant infrastructure is abandoned and in decay, the decision for where to start was mainly based on how we could most effectively deploy our energy and resources for a deep impact in the green economy. From there a localized training program, combined with direct application of what is taught, became the most logical move.

While most people may look at Detroit and see problems, when you look at the resources needed to build a clean economy, there really is no better place to start than Detroit.

After developing the initial concept and building foundational partnerships we then partnered with Energy Action Coalition and Grand Aspirations to recruit people to come be part of our training program.  Low and behold, 10 people showed up to participate when we launched the training.  We were ecstatic, but not everyone was able to stay with the program.  A few people took jobs for economic needs, and a few others had to move on to other opportunities.  But at the end of the summer 5 GELTers stuck it out for the entire program and over 20 people participated in some aspect of the training program.

GELTers received permaculture design certificates, weatherized over 50 homes in Highland Park, built community gardens, and mentored the neighborhood kids.  GELT was recognized as a cutting edge organizing strategy that was featured on the Huffington Post and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 (watch the segment below!) We felt like we were on to something.

Coming out of last summer we knew we were ready to take the program to the next level.  In January we bought an apartment building in Highland Park within walking distance of last year’s project and started recruiting people to come to Highland Park to start working with us.  Former organizers with the D.C. Project, the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network moved into the house.  We turned one apartment into an office and we started working full time on pulling together the best green economy training program the world has ever seen.

This summer we are adding trainings on installing solar panels, building economical greenhouses for 4 season urban agriculture, social justice classes and entrepreneurship.  Students in GELT will lead projects in the community that apply the technical skills they learn toward tangible business ideas relevant to Detroit, which will start to create economic opportunities and eventually jobs.  Students will also be mentored as they start their own project or business during and after the 9 weeks and will be plugged into a long-term support system to push their ideas into reality.

As with any program that is attempting something new and to break down the barriers of traditional activism, we are relying on supporters of all walks of life to lend us a hand as we get our program off the ground this year; this is where you come in.

We are reaching out to our community and network to help us build this program.  Right now we are looking to build a full-scale kitchen to cook and feed 40 people this summer for 9 weeks.  We put together this wish list to see if you may have resources you can contribute to help us build GELT from the ground up. This list is not comprehensive, if you have items you think would be useful to our program, or would like to arrange an in-kind donation, please contact Sarah Murphy:  gelt.sarah@gmail.com or 716-562-8211


Kitchen Equipment:

  • Refrigerators
  • Ovens
  • Shelves for food storage
  • Clothes washing machine
  • Toasters, Microwaves, Blender / food processor(s)
  • Large cooking pots & pans
  • Large plastic storage containers (approx 18 gallon capacity)
  • Knives for chopping
  • Colanders, large mixing bowls, cutting boards, etc.
  • Large stirring spoons, tongs, ladles, veggie peelers, can openers
  • Plates, bowls, mugs, cups, flatware
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ice cube trays
  • Stereo
  • Very large coffee maker

Food & Consumables:

  • Toilet paper
  • Fresh produce
  • Dry food, specifically:
    • rice
    • flour, white & whole wheat
    • sugar, honey
    • dried beans, lentils
    • spices, baking powder AND soda
    • pasta, lots of pasta
    • nuts, all kinds
    • cooking oil (veggie, canola, olive)
    • coffee and teas
    • canned vegetables and beans
  • Bleach
  • Hand-dishwashing soap
  • Sponges, scrubbies, Dish towels, rags
  • Rubber gloves for kitchen food prep

Other Equipment:

  • Bed frames – bunkbeds are ideal
  • General cleaning supplies (mops, brooms, soap, bleach, sponges, etc)
  • Dressers / drawers / shelves for clothing storage
  • Tables for dining
  • Chairs
  • Soil for raised bed gardens
  • Gardening supplies

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 GELT Segment:

Every year, Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative recognizes six youth from around North America who have shown outstanding activism and leadership on a project or a campaign in the fields of environmental and environmental justice advocacy with a Brower Youth Award.

Last week, the Brower Youth Awards presented a new set of awardees at the 2010 ceremony and one of the inspiring individuals was one of our own: De’Anthony Jones.

De’Anthony Jones, a recent graduate of Mission High School in San Francisco, was one of the motivated students involved in our Environmental Service Learning Initiative (ESLI) Program. It was through ESLI that De’Anthony cultivated his passion for environmental and social justice work.

De’Anthony’s engages youth of color in the environmental movement through integrating community learning, environmental service, teacher-student partnerships, collaboration with community-based organizations, and hands-on learning. He is helping to create a new youth culture that takes environmental stewardship as a given.

Seeing De’Anthony around the office and talking to him, you could just sense a real leader in him. His willingness to learn from everything around him, especially from the community and from the environment, his positive attitude is infectious and motivating. Upon returning from the US Social Forum earlier this year, he gave a report back of his powerful experience in Detroit. He spoke of the connections made with people and also the earth. He shared words about the importance of environmental justice and the need to educate and collaborate. A reverse industrial revolution was needed he said, a human revolution, and we know that with De’Anthony as one of the leaders, he can make it happen.

A former SF youth commission chairperson, Black Student Union president, ESLI youth advisory co-president, Global Exchange youth board member, and now a Sacramento State student with a double focus on Government & Sociology, watch and hear De’Anthony speak about his work and the impact ESLI has made on him and the impact he has made on his fellow youth and the rest of his community.

Global Exchange is proud, honored and inspired by De’Anthony. Congratulations to him and to the rest of the 2010 Brower Youth Award winners.

Mosswood Park in Oakland is about to get hit with a heavy dose of youth driven freshness at this Saturday’s FreshFest 2010. Said to be a Green Festival for the people, the event is set to bring eco-sustainability and environmental awareness into an urban, community-oriented context.

A collaboration between Grind for the Green, Youth Movement Records, Livity Outernational Clothing, Global Exchange, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland Green Youth Media Arts Center, and others, FreshFest is billed to be the largest youth led eco-music festival in the nation.

The FreshFest is the kick off event of the Get Fresh campaign which uses the hip-hop culture to inspire the next generation of leaders to reconnect to the earth, gain knowledge and take action to address environmental issues in their communities. The FreshFest is a unique eco-festival because it speaks directly to groups who have been traditionally left out of the mainstream eco-movement — the youth and communities of color.

According to Zakiya Harris, one of the main drivers behind Get Fresh, change begins with young people.

“Urban youth can benefit from awareness of their environment and education around sustainability issues. Get Fresh is about giving the youth access to information and knowledge about the best sustainable practices. We are lifting up solutionaries and highlighting the work of people of color across the country who are using culturally-relevant approaches to environmentalism.”

By using the ‘fresh’ aesthetic of hip-hop culture for awareness and action, and hip-hop to get the message across the youth have a new way to play an active role in creating change and being part of the solution in the environmental movement.

“We’re bringing back the old-school hip-hop concept of ‘fresh’ and adding an environmental, conscious twist to it. We’re basically saying, it’s fresh to be informed about environmental issues. Conscious lyrics are fresh, and so is organic, locally-grown produce and green fashion.”

And trust me folks, this kick off event is going to be FRESH. There’s going to be a fresh food pavilion featuring locally-grown organic produce, hands-on demonstrations, health and wellness activities, a kids zone, a hip hop competition, and a booth run by the youth of Global Exchange’s Environmental Service Learning Initiative (ESLI) which will showcase solar cooking, bike-powered smoothies and guerrilla gardening tips to green up your ‘hood.

Oh. It doesn’t stop there. There are special guests including NY hip-hop legend Pete Rock who will perform a solar-powered two hour DJ set, and West Oakland resident Boots Riley of the Coup will be hosting the show. Other beats and rhymes will be provided by local artists Erk Da Jerk, Nu Dekades, Do D.A.T., and Holly Saucy. Say word!

So, the only place to be this Saturday August 14th is at the FreshFest in Mosswood Park in Oakland from 12-6pm. Why? Because it’s fresh! And, most importantly because we are reminded that social and environmental justice begins with awareness of one’s environment. By combining eco-sustainability with conscious hip-hop, Zakiya says it

“…brings together the green world and the hip-hop world into one organic, progressive cultural movement. The hip-hop community is telling us, we’re ready to go green, and we’re not only listening, we’re helping them get there with FreshFest.”

My peoples. Believe it. Ain’t no festival as dope as this, it’s just so fresh, so green.

What: FreshFest 2010
When: August 14, 2010 12pm-6pm
Where: Mosswood Park, Oakland (MacArthur and Broadway)
$$$?: FREE

Hear Zakiya Harris speak to OaklandSeen about Grind for the Green.