The National Peace Essay Contest for high school students sponsored by the The Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, the education and training sector of the United States Institute of Peace, is a way to incentivize high school educators and students to include peace talks as part of curriculum especially for history, government and social studies content areas. According to the institute the goal of the contest is to “promote serious discussion among high school students, teachers, and national leaders about international peace and conflict resolution today and in the future.”
The incentives for educators include the fact that the activity complements existing curricula and other scholastic activities and meets National Contents Standards, which is the direction that most school districts, including the District of Columbia is heading in. Students’ incentives include skill building in the areas of research, writing, and reasoning skills. Additionally, first place state winners receive scholarships and are invited to Washington for a five-day awards program. The Institute pays for expenses related to the program, including travel, lodging, meals and entertainment. This unique five-day program promotes an understanding of the nature and process of international peacemaking by focusing on a region and/or theme related to the current essay contest.
Educators can incorporate this contest as part of a reframing history activity by having students analyze past national or world conflicts and reevaluate outcomes applying the concepts of peace studies such as exploring approaches to peace and how those past violent conflicts could have been transformed non-violently. Students will be exposed to a different way to view conflict in the world and begin to generate ideas about how to resolve those conflicts while maintaining peace, justice, human rights and security in the world, as well as begin to examine what their personal roles are as global citizens in the effort for peace.
Check out contest information at: http://www.usip.org/npec