ATLANTA, SEATTLE (Sept. 21, 2017) —Today, on International Day of Peace, Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that mobilizes young people to take action on some of the world’s most critical problems, announced a new partnership with CARE, Search for Common Ground, and Global Nomads Group to launch the Facing Difference Challenge. The Challenge is designed to help educators empower young people to reflect and take action toward building understanding, empathy, and peace.
There are over 7.5 billion people in the world with unique backgrounds, personalities, and experiences. What we wear, what we eat, and what we believe are often not the same. When we choose to avoid or ignore our differences, understanding can be replaced by division. This is happening in ways big and small, from bullying in our schools and clashes in our communities, to civil wars around the globe.
“Differences help define who we are and are something to celebrate. In our rapidly changing world, young people need meaningful opportunities to engage with individuals different from themselves, learn about each other’s experiences, and broaden their perspectives,” said Jackie Bezos, President of the Bezos Family Foundation. “Students Rebuild is founded on the belief that young people have the power and passion to make positive and lasting change and contribute to a more informed and equitable world.”
“Building understanding among youth is necessary for peacebuilding in communities with long histories of conflict and civil war,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE. “Through support from the Facing Difference Challenge, CARE will create community youth clubs and conferences where young people from different ethnic backgrounds have the opportunity to learn from one another and cross lines of division.”
“When we work together, our differences can galvanize new ideas to solve our most pressing problems. Youth can play a key role in building safer, more productive societies – not just for tomorrow, but for today,” said Shamil Idriss, President and CEO of Search for Common Ground. “We look forward to working with Students Rebuild to empower Nigeria’s youth with the skills and confidence to enact meaningful peace projects in their communities.”
Students participating in the Facing Difference Challenge will support two peacebuilding CARE programs in the South Caucasus region and in Sri Lanka that help young people overcome conflict and embrace differences. A third program in Nigeria is through the organization Search for Common Ground.
South Caucasus: In the South Caucasus region of Eastern Europe, CARE is working to build understanding among youth that are living in a communities with a long history of conflict and civil war. Through this Challenge, CARE will create community youth clubs and youth conferences where boys and girls from different ethnic backgrounds will have the opportunity to learn from one another and cross lines of division. Youth will also be able to receive small scale grants for peacebuilding initiatives in their neighborhoods.
Sri Lanka: After a 30-year civil war, there is a need in Sri Lanka to help youth from post-war communities move past the divisions that still remain between different religious and ethnic groups. The Challenge will enable CARE to bring together boys and girls who are separated by ethnicity & geography to participate in the YOUth Create program where performing & visual arts are used to heal post-war divisions, promote diversity and build understanding. You can watch a video about this project here.
Participation in the Facing Difference Challenge is simple and meaningful: Reflect on your unique experiences, culture, ethnicity, language, and personality, and how they make you special by creating a self-portrait that reflects your sense of identity. Each portrait submitted generates funding from the Bezos Family Foundation—up to $600,000—to support programs run by CARE and Search for Common Ground, helping youth on different sides of conflict build peace and understanding.
Additional information about the Facing Difference Challenge can be found here.
About Students Rebuild
Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Created in January 2010 in response to the devastating Haiti earthquake, Students Rebuild has mobilized thousands of young people in nearly 80 countries and all 50 United States and raised more than $4 million in matching funds for projects like rebuilding schools in Haiti, aiding disaster recovery efforts in Asia, supporting livelihoods in Africa, helping Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis, and supporting empowerment opportunities for youth impacted by poverty. Through our Challenges, we tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems, issues that one cannot solve alone. We believe every young person should have an opportunity to help others—but not everyone has the ability to fundraise. Our Challenges require young people to create a simple, symbolic object, which the Foundation matches with funding. This approach allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and in countries around the world to take action and see change on global concerns. http://studentsrebuild.org
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org.
Nicole Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-735-0871