Cross Community Engagement Stakeholder Convening I, New Jersey City University, NJ
On December 5, 2014, The Administration for Children and Families, Global Peace Foundation and Co-operation Ireland facilitated the co-convening and initial launch meeting of the pilot “cross community engagement” youth program with other New Jersey and New York- based nonprofit partners.
An initial meeting was held to begin the early planning stages of this pilot project. The “cross community engagement” model will engage youth, community and faith leaders in an established cross-community peacebuilding model in Jersey City, NJ. This model of youth engagement is an approach to build community cohesion in a challenging urban environment, and also inoculate youth against violence and extremism. The overarching purpose of this pilot work is to demonstrate a reduction in violence and to measure the empirical impact on related attitudes and behaviors.
ABOUT GLOBAL PEACE FOUNDATION
GPF draws lessons in peacebuilding from a strong global presence consisting of 15 Chapters around the world – including programming expertise in youth leadership, community service and conflict resolution. GPF’s approach to peacebuilding is to leverage faith as a basis for common values, instead of allowing differing religions to be a source of division. Our current peacebuilding work in Nigeria and Kenya is notable. For example, throughout 2014 we worked at the grassroots and top national levels to engage youth, as well as preminent Muslim, Christian and traditional tribal leaders from across the country to address the rising sectarian violence and social disorder. Our work in Kenya, including the Rift Valley Peace Initiative, was commended by the United Nations in 2013. In both Nigeria and Kenya, the peacebuilding work is part of permanent, Chapter programming. In all conflict work, we find lessons that are worthy of sharing, and wisdom from leaders who see similarities in geographically diverse conflicts.
ABOUT CO-OPERATION IRELAND
CI has more than 30 years of experience fostering cross- border and cross-community projects with a wide range of schools, youth groups, student journalists and community organizations in Belfast, Nothern Ireland. The basis of CI’s unique model is a series of reciprocal exchanges that guide a personal transformation process for participants who learn about differing cultures, religions and traditions with a respect for diversity. For example, CI has successfully helped youth address issues of sectarianism and racism while building project management skills for their own civic action projects, in a “learn while doing” approach. CI’s partners have included the European Union Programme for Peace and Reconciliation. Her Majesty The Queen of United Kingdom and Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins serve as CI’s joint patrons. They are well-known for their work in Belfast, Northern Ireland.