Youth Peacebuilding Summit
University of Duhok, Iraq
October 20, 2016
Approximately 400 young people came together for the first-ever Youth Peacebuilding Summit at the University of Duhok (UoD). IPE worked in partnership with UoD Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies to organize the summit.
Youth who had participated in the Community Peace Education program in 2015 and 2016 came from 18 high schools and 16 displacement camps in and around Duhok to participate in the summit. UoD facilitator Adnan Mzori led the group in an Open Space process that enabled participants to organize and conduct discussions around peacebuilding topics of their choosing. Participants ran 13 individual sessions that included subjects such as Spreading Peace Education Through Books, Bridge Building to Build Community, and Spreading Peace Through Social Media.
IPE director Thomas Hill offered encouragement to participants at the start of the summit, which occured three days after military operations began to remove the Islamic State from Mosul (located just 45 miles south of Duhok). He drew a parallel between 2016 and 2003, when the US conducted military operations in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein's government from power. "There is one difference between 2003 and now, however, and that difference is you," Hill said. "In 2003, there was no group of young people prepared to work for change rather than to wait for change ... But now, here you are."