PeaceJam is an international education Program.
The mission of the PeaceJam Foundation is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.
What vision of heartbreaking misery, what manner of dire poverty, what degradation of the human spirit must we all see before we stand up and actually commit to doing something about it?
For Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff it took a very long time to realize that some kind of "call to action" was even possible. They are the children of Detroit factory workers, average and flawed people from very ordinary backgrounds. They say that "There is absolutely nothing fancy or outstanding about either one of us." Dawn financed her college education by waiting tables and applying for scholarships; Ivan worked on the line at Ford Motor Company and played in a rock and roll band. Dawn worked her way up the ladder as a policy maker in Washington, D.C; Ivan became a writer and an artist and a very accomplished busboy. Somehow they both ended up living in Colorado in the summer of 1993 (call it fate).
Watch Dawn and Ivan tell their story or read it below
That summer, in the rough and tumble barrios of Northwest Denver, gang activity hit a record high. There were so many drive-by shootings, so many young people dying, so many tragic cases of innocents caught in the cross-fire, that the media dubbed it ‘The Summer of Violence'. One day, as he was leaving his apartment to go to work, Ivan saw four young boys carrying guns. He called them over to talk and he discovered that these rough-and-tumble youth not only knew who Desmond Tutu was, they appreciated his nonviolent efforts toward change.
That encounter proved to be the genesis of PeaceJam. Ivan was on fire—if these guys could get excited about the idea of non-violent change, he thought, anyone could. He had a huge brainstorm—maybe what Denver needed was to put young people together with Nobel Peace Laureates like Tutu, to inspire young people to use their energy to work for positive change. Maybe this was what the world needed.
Suvanjeiff's vibe was infectious and he soon sold Dawn Engle on the concept. Engle, a former Washington politico and cofounder and chair of the Colorado Friends of Tibet, was granted an audience with the Dalai Lama. They had to borrow money from friends to fly to India but somehow made it, and the Dalai Lama liked the idea and he said yes, I will do this. But he also told them to involve some of his other Nobel Peace Laureate friends, so young people could study their lives and get many different perspectives on the world. They ended up back in Ivan’s unheated loft in Denver, cold-calling Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, so incredibly fired-up about the idea that they didn’t realize just how impossible it really was.
Before long, the PeaceJam program was launched, and to date over 600,000 young people have participated in the USA and around the world. PeaceJammers have created almost one million service projects designed to address problems in their own schools and communities. Archbishop Tutu recently commented on the creation of PeaceJam, saying, “It seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but it has gained an incredible kind of momentum and it has made a huge, huge difference in the lives of many young people by giving them hope and direction.” One person really can make a difference, and PeaceJam has proven it repeatedly by empowering young people to become agents of change, all over the world.
PeaceJam's program is built on three simple ideas: Education, Inspiration, and Action.
The purpose of the PeaceJam curriculum is to stimulate youths’ critical thinking skills, strengthen their research abilities, increase their knowledge of the role of nonviolence in conflict, and promote self growth and reflection. It includes specific content on the lives and work of the Nobel Peace Laureates, as well as engaging activities for analyzing root causes of issues that affect communities both locally and globally. Extensive resources in each chapter allow youth to participate in an in-depth exploration of topics such as violence, poverty, reconciliation, and an individual's power to make a difference. In this section of the site you will find more information on all PeaceJam Programs and how to Get Trained.
Through the PeaceJam program, youth explore the personal stories of 13 Nobel Peace Laureates-most of whom have overcome tremendous challenges. Each Laureate’s choice to stand up against negative forces and to solve problems in their own countries through nonviolence can serve as inspiration for youth as they work to address the issues they are most passionate about. Youth analyze the skills, knowledge, and attributes that allowed the Laureates to be successful in their work. Youth are also asked to explore their own beliefs, actions, and choices, and to explore how to put their talents, skills, and passion to work for positive change. In the Inspiration section of the site, youth can learn about the Nobel Laureates, find upcoming PeaceJam Events, share and look at pictures and videos from PeaceJammers all over the world in the Gallery, and talk to their fellow PeaceJammers on the Message Boards.
PeaceJam puts youth in the authentic position of being peacemakers and peacebuilders who address the most pressing issues of our time in both local and global communities. Youth will use the framework of PeaceJam's Global Call to Action to implement creative projects that address the root causes of such issues as extreme poverty, disease, racism, violence, environmental degradation, human rights, and the proliferation of weapons. PeaceJam offers all young people the opportunity to step into powerful leadership roles that will make a lasting and sustainable impact. This section will also give you specific ways to create and implement a Global Call to Action Project, and will be where you can register your project so that it can be counted toward the one billion project goal.
Each Laureate member of the PeaceJam Foundation appoints someone to serve on the PeaceJam board for a two-year term. Below are the current members of the PeaceJam Board.
Chair of the Board
Claudia Abate (representing Jose Ramos Horta)
Board of Directors
Lobsang Nyandak Zayul (Representing the Dalai Lama)
Monica Willard (Representing Betty Williams)
Aury Cuxe (Representing Rigoberta Menchú Tum)
Katherine Stanley Obando (Representing Oscar Arias)
Naomi Tutu (Representing Desmond Tutu)
Michele Bohana (Representing Aung San Suu Kyi)
Máiread Corrigan Maguire (Representing herself)
Ana Juanche Molina (Representing Adolfo Perez Esquivel)
Claudia Abate (Representing José Ramos Horta)
Liz Bernstein (Representing Jody Williams)
Sally Milne (Representing Sir Joseph Rotblat)
Ali Moiin (Representing Shirin Ebadi)
Anya Lewis (Representing Leymah Gbowee)
PeaceJam Foundation is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with no political or religious affiliations. PeaceJam Affiliate offices are hosted by nonprofit organizations located across the country and around the globe.
PeaceJam has received numerous prominent awards since our founding in 1996. These awards include:
The PeaceJam Foundation has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times since 2008.
2009 Charity of the Month for December 2009 – eBAY
2009 Included in the '150 Most Contributing Citizens to Jefferson County, 1859-2009', Dawn Engle & Ivan Suvanjieff – Jefferson County City & Mountain Views
2009 Certificate of Recognition, Dawn Engle – Southwest Region Women’s Club
2008 Women of Distinction Award, Dawn Engle – Girl Scouts of Colorado
2008 Celebrate Culture Civil Rights Award – NEWSED CDC
The 2008 Harris Woffard Service-Learning Award - National Youth Leadership Council
The 2008 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bill Roberts Outstanding Lifetime Contribution Award - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday Commission
2008 Declaration of February 29-March 6, 2008 as “PeaceJam Week” – Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
2007 Certificate of Merit, Dawn Engle – Volvo for Life Awards
2007 Outstanding Woman of Jefferson County, Dawn Engle – The West Chamber Serving Jefferson County
2006 Declaration of September 2006 as “PeaceJam Month” – City and County of Denver
2006 Best Denver Ambassadors "Best Of Denver" Award – Westword Magazine
2006 Ambassador of Peace Award – The Conflict Center
The 2005 Man of Peace Award for Achievement in Peace Education - presented by Mikhail Gorbachev Foundation at World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
2005 Outstanding Arvada Business Award – City of Arvada and Arvada Economic Development Association
2005 Outstanding Partners in Change Award – Earth Force
The 2002 Service-Learning Excellence Award - Learn & Serve, the Colorado Department of Education
2002 Outstanding Achievements and Exceptional Accomplishments Certificate – House of Representatives of the State of New Mexico
1999 Faith to Faith Award – Rotary International
1996 Award of Achievement Honorees, Dawn Engle & Ivan Suvanjieff – The Gleitsman Foundation
A large percentage of PeaceJam's funding comes from individual donors who make regular or one-time contributions to support our work. Almost 90% of funding goes directly to programming and PeaceJam relies on the generosity of over 1,000 volunteers each year to deliver its services to youth around the world.
The PeaceJam Foundation had also received funding from a variety of sources including the following:
|The Fetzer Institute|
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Corporation for National & Community Service
National Service Learning Partnership / Academy of Educational Development
The Gill Foundation / Gay and Lesbian Fund
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment / Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program
|The Daniels Fund|
The Denver Foundation
The Rose Community Foundation
The Colorado Department of Education
The El Pomar Foundation (EPYCS)