US Youth Rising

 US Youth Rising:
An Initiative for Young Leaders in Peacebuilding

GYR TheaOnBLM cropAt GYR16: US youth Thea Matthews at a panel on global change movements

Young people, while not always recognized, are often on the leading edge of creating positive transformations in our world. For example, the newest iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement was created by three young, queer, black women, the COP22 gathering held in Morocco included a delegation of 13 young people, and the #MeToo movement began with a young woman of color.

In July 2016, the National Peace Academy met many of these leaders at an international peacebuilding program in Romania for young adults: Global Youth Rising. This innovative program brought together over 70 young peacebuilders from over 20 countries, in collaboration with peacebuilding professionals, to share skills and resources, network, and support each other in this life-long work.

We were so inspired to partner in this way that we immediately knew we wanted to give similar opportunities to those young peacebuilders here in the U.S. working for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice and peaceful communities. In 2018, as part of a multifaceted initiative to support young peacebuilders, NPA, in partnership with many others, is excited to kick-off U.S. Youth Rising.

Informed by our experience at Global Youth Rising, and built on the learnings of our past programs and those of our partners, the U.S. Youth Rising Initiative will offer opportunities for bridging our nation’s political and cultural divisions in order to transform systems of white supremacy, sexism, and all forms of hate- and fear-based ‘other’ism.

  • groupchainOfferings will be focused on youth and young adults – ages 16 to 24
  • Programs will seek to be made accessible and affordable to as many young leaders as possible
  • Workshops, events, webinars, and more will be co-led by youth, young adults, and seasoned professional peacebuilders

The U.S. Youth Rising Initiative reinforces NPA’s long-term commitment to the transformational work needed in our country. As such, programming is offered to young leaders looking to enhance their skills, resources, and practices for the grounding, relationship building, and learning needed to become effective peacebuilders in their communities and workplaces.


We envision young leaders attending who are engaged in work for such transformative movements and causes as Black Lives Matter, civil and human rights, LGBTQ rights, global climate change, gender equity, and more – and who understand and find imperative the intersectionality of these issues towards building cultures of peace.

I came to the [NPA peacebuilding program] a bit unsure of my voice, thinking of all those in the world who seemed more qualified to be peacebuilders. What I discovered was an incredibly supportive community in which I could articulate my dream and specific passion as a peacebuilder and receive the support needed to courageously plan the steps to walk towards this vision. Because of [this program], I have a newfound courage for the transformation I can nourish in my own community.

–past Peacebuilding Program participant