Chad: Ouaddai Youth Debate on Culture of Peace and Civic Engagement


An article by Hambali Nassour/Abba Issa in Al Wihda

The awareness-raising project on the culture of peace and civic and electoral engagement, led by the Youth Star Association for Culture and Development, organized on September 4 a forum for discussion on the culture of peace.

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

The one-day event brought together representatives of young people from the city of Abéché. Placed under the theme of “the engagement of a culture of peace among youth”, the meeting allowed young people to share their ideas.

Panelist Saleh Souloum invited young people to have a spirit of national unity, to show love and social cohesion in order to build a better Chad.

He explained that civic and electoral engagement is not just the business of leaders but that it is up to each young person to get involved to make their contribution.

The president of the Abéché Youth Star Association, Hassan Abdoulaye Hassan, gave a brief overview of the achievements of his organization, before discussing the merits of the culture of peace.

(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Involving the African Youth in the Biennale of Luanda


An article from UNESCO

From 4 to 8 October 2021, UNESCO, the African Union and the Government of Angola are co-organizing the second edition of the Biennale of Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace”. The afternoon of the first day shall host the Intergenerational Dialogue of leaders and young people, whose central theme to be discussed will be “Cultural and Heritage Diversity of Africa and its Diasporas: Fires of Conflict or Ground of Peace?”

150 young participants from all over the world – particularly focused on the AU countries and the Diaspora – will join the Intergenerational Dialogue online and 10 people shall be participating physically with Ministers in charge of Youth and Culture to debate on the importance of cultural and heritage diversity of Africa and its Diasporas to promote the culture of peace in the continent. 

The youth and leaders shall discuss about the national appropriation of the Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (October 2003), the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (October 2005) and their positive impact on encouraging peaceful. coexistence and interaction of different cultural identities and heritage across  Africa; and, secondly, to question the relationship of young people with their culture and how they build their cultural identity in their relationship to otherness.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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In addition to the Intergenerational Dialogue, the 150 youth shall be following and actively participating to the Thematic and Good Practices Forums, focused on the following official themes:

– The contribution of arts, culture and heritage to peace

– Engaging young people as actors of social transformations for conflict prevention and sustainable development
Africa in the face of conflicts, crises, and inequalities

– Harnessing the potential of oceans for sustainable development and peace

An Online Dialogue!

These young people will be selected from among members of National Youth Councils, National Coordinating Bodies of the Pan-African Youth Network for a Culture of Peace (PAYNCOP), The African Union Youth Volunteer Corps, the ICESCO Youth Networks and other youth leaders and organizations, through a call for applications launched on 30 June and completed July 20.

In addition to the 150 selected ones, other young people will also be able to join the activities virtually from wherever they are, as well as trough decentralized participation and by scaling up efforts through digital platforms such as social networks. These are to be facilitated by UNESCO Field Offices, AU Youth Division and  Liaison Offices, National Commissions for UNESCO, ICESCO, ideally in partnership with Universities and Schools, digital campuses of the University Agency of the Francophonie, French Institutes and any other interested structure or entity. 

Congo and UNESCO to Cultivate Peace in Youth


An article by Don Verdon Bayeni in Vox

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Civic Education, Employment and Qualifying Training, Hugues Ngouélondélé indicated on August 12 in Brazzaville a capacity building workshop for leaders of juvenile associations will be held to cultivate the culture of peace and non-violence among young people.

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“Those who choose to be beneficiaries of this training as agents of awareness of the culture of peace and social cohesion, thus realize their responsibility as citizens to help young people to turn away from negative values, violence and identity withdrawal, ”explained Hugues Ngouélondélé.

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The capacity building workshop on the culture of peace organized by UNESCO and the Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, in collaboration with the ministry in charge of youth, intends to equip and empower the leaders of youth associations.

“This training should be a moment of strengthening the patriotic spirit at all levels of Congolese society. For the trainees, it will be a question of ensuring the transmission of the lessons received to propote the culture of peace, social cohesion and living together as the theme of all young people”, said Fatoumata Barry Marega, the UNESCO representative in Congo.

After this workshop, the beneficiaries are called upon to pass on the information received to their respective associations as well as to other youth circles and through outreach and media campaigns.

(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Benin: Traditional kings and religious leaders pray for peace in Parakou


An article from l’Agence Benin Presse

The Ecumenical Foundation for Peace in Africa (EFPA), initiated this Saturday in Parakou, a session, during which the traditional kings and religious leaders of several countries of Benin, prayed for peace in Benin and Africa, in the presence political and administrative authorities.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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“What can we do if we don’t make peace?” Asked Gildas Aïzannon, president of the organizing committee, before inviting everyone to cultivate peace. “Our responsibility is immense in maintaining peace in Benin,” he said.

Inoussa Chabi Zimé and Gilbert Dakè Djokess, respectively mayor of Parakou and president of EFPA, reminded everyone that peace is not an empty word but rather behavior.

“The unfortunate events that occurred during the last presidential election challenge us all,” recalled the mayor of Parakou, before inviting all social groups to promote a culture of lasting peace.

The traditional kings and religious leaders or their representatives have said prayers for the safeguard of peace in Africa in general and in Benin in particular. In their different invocations, they exhorted each other to the sense of forgiveness, of love for one’s neighbor. To do this, they especially invited everyone to have the fear of God.

The arrival of the first peace fellows at the new peace center in Kampala, Uganda, heralds the beginning of a new era for Rotary and the continent


Excerpts from an article by Jeff Ruby on the website of Rotary (abridged)

In the last week of February, in Kampala, Uganda, 15 Rotary Peace Fellows gathered at Makerere University for the inaugural session of Rotary International’s new peace center. Among them, the peace center’s first cohort represented 11 countries and spoke, in addition to English, a dozen African languages, including Luganda, Swahili, and Zulu. “Coming from diverse backgrounds, and yet with a shared desire for peace in Africa, they are the epitome of unity in diversity,” said Anne Nkutu, a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala Naalya and the host area coordinator for the Makerere University peace center.

Photography by Tobin Jones

With an average age of 40 when they were admitted to the program, the fellows are not novice peacemakers. These are established professionals with a minimum of five years of experience in peace and development. They arrived at Makerere University — home to an established program in peace and conflict studies — already working on an initiative, or with an idea for one, that promotes peace or social change within their workplace or community. “The fellows are more interested in the practical side of peacebuilding,” said Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, the director of the peace center. “They want to see how things are done, as opposed to our regular students, who are more interested in the theoretical aspects. So the fellows come off as, and indeed are, change agents.”

Prior to arriving at Makerere, the peace fellows began their studies with a two-week online session, the first stage in Rotary’s new yearlong certificate program in peacebuilding, conflict transformation, and development. (The peace center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, which previously offered a three-month version of the certificate program, has also adopted this new model.) Following the 10-week session in Kampala, they will return home to begin implementing their social change initiatives, checking in periodically with their instructors and fellow students. They will return to Makerere in early 2022 to complete the program.

Earlier this year, as they prepared to depart for Kampala, Rotary magazine spoke with six of the peace fellows via Zoom and WhatsApp. The conversations were a crash course in African history and politics. They were also an inspiration, offering a glimpse of the possibilities that lie ahead for Africa once these peace fellows — and those to follow in the years ahead — complete their studies at Makerere and disperse across the continent to share what they have learned.

The 10-week session in Kampala “enabled the peace fellows to network and share experiences in and out of class,” says Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, the peace center’s director.

Patience Rusare

. . . . As a journalist in Zimbabwe, Patience Rusare used her reporting to help shape public policy toward just and equitable ends . . . . Rusare is an editor and a senior political journalist for The Patriot, a newspaper based in Harare. In 2013, after years of writing business stories, she changed her focus. She began covering conflicts, whether political crises in Lesotho and Mali in 2014 and 2015, hostile Ugandan elections in 2016, or a coup d’état in her native Zimbabwe in 2017, often tracing underlying issues back decades to explain the current climate.

“People were not making informed decisions,” Rusare says. “And that lack of information can make people desperate and easy to manipulate.” As she wrote in an unbiased manner, she began to see a direct correlation between the information in her stories and public policy. In Lesotho, Rusare says, mediation from a Botswana-based intragovernmental organization called the Southern African Development Community led to a resolution that was influenced by a story that she had written for The Patriot. “I feel like I really made positive change in the world there,” she says. “They have some lasting peace in Lesotho.”

I want my children to grow up in an environment where all people love each other regardless of the ethnic groups they belong to. They will know that we are all diverse, but we are all one. . . .

Peter Pal

. . . .As a community educator for the Victorian Electoral Commission in southeastern Australia, Pal is trained in peacebuilding and diplomacy. “The electoral process is critical for good government, for choosing the right leadership and learning to exercise democracy,” he says. “People have the right to make the final decision about what’s right for them.” When he heard about the Rotary Peace Fellowship, he recognized an opportunity to use his skill set on a global level — and take it back to his home country nearly 8,000 miles away.

Now living in Australia, Peter Pal plans to return to South Sudan on a peacebuilding mission. . . .

As part of his social change initiative, Pal plans to engage with professional peacebuilders to explore alternative dispute resolution. Of particular focus is the need to restore dignity for the most vulnerable victims of South Sudan’s continued crisis: mothers and children. “Ignorance continues to dehumanize them in Africa,” Pal says. “Women continue to give birth to children who don’t really flourish. And though they’re not part of the politics, they are the ones who suffer when people die in a reckless war.”

Despite all that Pal has experienced, he remains hopeful. And why not? Twenty years ago, he escaped a violent civil war in Africa, and now he has returned on a peacebuilding mission. “If we are not optimistic, we will all be stuck focusing on what’s in our own hand rather than looking into alternatives that can be applied for the betterment of all society,” he says. “Not just in South Sudan, but for Africa and the world.”

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Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Jew Moonde

. . . . For nearly half his life, the Lusaka native has been a consultant with the Zambia Center for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID); working with this Lusaka-based NGO, he’s dedicated to building an infrastructure to ensure free and fair elections, whether by meeting with politicians to sensitize them to the gender imbalance or training people on how to manage conflict in the electoral process. After two decades, many of ZCID’s legal reform proposals have been passed into law by parliament.

But getting women involved in the political process is only part of Moonde’s mission. He wants to get the younger generation on board, too. “Politics is predominantly for old folks in Zambia,” says Moonde, who has degrees in psychology and peace and conflict studies. “Unemployed youths are the implementers of violence, and they’re also the victims.” To engage them, ZCID focuses on social media outreach and youth-oriented community radio stations; it also helps young people develop skills that might one day help them find a rewarding career. “If you want change to come, empower people with the knowledge that they have the right to something,” says Moonde.

If all goes as planned during his peace fellowship, Moonde wants to acquire the knowledge to help transform ZCID into a statutory body: a permanent peace structure that provides an official platform for dialogue and mediation in Zambian politics. “I start hearing politicians talking and youths talking, exercising their rights to expression,” says Moonde. “It shows us that what we do has an impact on people. No one will help Zambians unless they do it themselves.”

Paul Mushaho

. . . . After establishing an enterprising Rotaract club in a refugee camp in Uganda, Paul Mushaho now envisions using the skills acquired at Makerere to accomplish even greater things.

Soon, with an assist from the American Refugee Committee (known today as Alight) and Rotary clubs in Uganda and Minnesota, Mushaho was launching his own Rotaract Club in Nakivale. Its members have taught farming and masonry skills, planted trees, established a women’s community center, and delivered blankets and mattresses to people who have taken in orphaned children. “I tell them: All we have given you is a sign of appreciation for all you do in the community,” Mushaho says.

A charismatic 29-year-old, Mushaho has an almost supernatural ability to find ways to help. When he saw that the camp’s elderly population found themselves marginalized, he organized lunches where they could share their experiences as former diplomats, engineers, teachers, and doctors. When he noticed that young refugees of different nationalities weren’t interacting, he helped organize a soccer tournament. More recently, Mushaho’s team made and delivered 14,000 masks and 8,000 bars of soap to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Nakivale. “I see people who are happy, simply by receiving what they are supposed to get,” says Mushaho. “We are creating hope in people who have lost their hope. . . .”

Catherine Baine-Omugisha

. . . . A Kampala attorney specializing in conflict resolution, Catherine Baine-Omugisha wants to focus on the prevention of domestic violence.

With her composed demeanor and pragmatic approach, Baine-Omugisha rose through the male-dominated world of law in Uganda, serving as a magistrate, a lecturer, a technical adviser in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and, currently, a private practitioner with her own consulting firm in Kampala.

. . . .In 2000, while serving as a magistrate at Masaka Chief Magistrate Court in southern Uganda, Baine-Omugisha joined a pilot program called the Chain Linked Initiative; to enhance access to criminal justice, it encouraged collaboration among police, prosecutors, prisons, probation officers, welfare agencies, and the judiciary. The program worked so well that it was rolled out nationwide. . . . .
Now she is hoping her fellowship will enable her to apply that spirit of cooperation on a larger scale. . . . .

Fikiri Nzoyisenga

. . . . . Nzoyisenga survived an unstable childhood that included civil wars in Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo (where he lived for five years), went on to study law, and began volunteering for women’s empowerment organizations. It was only a matter of time before he became a community organizer. Through Spark MicroGrants, he led programs that empowered nearly 3,000 households from more than two dozen villages across Burundi. With Semerera, a team of 14 has assisted more than 8,200 women and girls through socioeconomic initiatives, leadership empowerment, and free legal support to victims of abuse and discrimination. . . . .

After completing his Rotary fellowship, Nzoyisenga plans to expand his work to two more provinces of Burundi, where he will mentor other young people through campaigns around peaceful cohabitation, cohesion, and human rights. “My father taught me tolerance and acceptance, and respecting others no matter their differences,” he says. “In time, we hope more men and women in Burundi will come to understand that things need to change. . . .”

Meet the other Makerere Peace Fellows

Olusina Ajao
Nigeria; security and crisis management

Eleanor Curl
United Kingdom; psychosocial support and trauma treatment

Sunny Dada
Nigeria; conflict transformation and violence prevention

Ronald Kasule
Uganda; disability rights and inclusion advocacy

Pinkie Mothibedi
Botswana; community empowerment and social justice

Stephen Sempande
Uganda; youth protection and social service development

Thomas Sithole
Zimbabwe; media and information literacy

Nobantu Taylor
Liberia; civil society engagement and skill-building

Amina Warsame
Somalia; gender equality and human rights policy

Different religions come together to pray for peace in Peru


An article in El Comercio (translation by CPNN)

The Interreligious Council of Peru has released a video where representatives of various faiths share a prayer for peace in the country. The participants asked for harmony and a favorable future for all Peruvians.

the video – click to play

Raquel Gago, deputy executive secretary of the Interreligious Council of Peru, pointed out that this organization is a space for meeting, dialogue and fraternity among the religious communities of Peru.

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article).

Question related to this article:

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

“This union of creeds encourages and promotes action for justice, peace, solidarity and care for creation,” she mentions at the beginning of the video.

“May this prayer serve to reflect on the importance of developing a culture of peace, justice and integrity,” she adds.

This prayer was attended by high representatives of the Brahma Kumaris Spiritual Organization, the Soto Zen Peru Buddhist Community, the Islamic Association of Peru, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Orthodox Church of Antioquia, the Interfaith Network of Women of Faith and Spirituality .

Also participating were the Evangelical Presbyteran and Reformed Church in Peru, the Lutheran Church of Peru, the Anglican Church of Peru, the National Union of Evangelical Christian Churches of Peru, the Jewish Association of Peru and the Archbishop of Arequipa, Monsignor Piñeiro, among others.

Council of Europe: Youth, peace and security today: successes and challenges


An article from the Council of Europe

On 8 June 2021, on the initiative of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ)  organised a thematic debate to mark the recent fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, a text which Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth (pre-recorded message),explained has its origins in a youth-led movement.

Across Europe and elsewhere, for many young people in Europe, protracted conflicts have become a part of normal life, a situation which, according to Inka Hopsu, Third Vice-Chairperson, Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, can be a barrier for the implementation of Resolution 2250.

Miriam Teuma, Chair of the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ), spoke of the more restrictive lifestyle; limited access to education, work and services; self-isolation and social distancing which have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of which has been felt across the world. Miriam described her own country, Malta, as a doorway to Europe, and reflected on how the incoming migration as a result of conflict is symbolic of deeper and more pervasive problems.

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(Click here for a French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Youth participation and an enabling youth civil society are paramount to combating the democratic deficit that children and young people are being raised into according to Rosaline Marbinah, Special Representative on Youth & Security, OSCE. Issues which were also touched on by Andrea Ugrinoska, Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) and of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ).

For her part, Paulína Jalakšová, Board Member, European Youth Forum, underlined the valuable role of young people and their organisations who contribute to a culture of peace through peace dialogue, reconciliation processes, and intercultural understanding within Europe and across the world.

Pia Šlogar, Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), spoke of the necessity to hear diverse voices. Excluding minority youth from decision and policymaking in the youth, peace and security agenda has a disproportionate impact, both direct and indirect, on minority groups.

Reminding the participants that the large multilateral organisations were created mainly to protect peace, Antje Rothemund, Head of the Youth Department, distinguished each one by its mandate: the UN is a forum for dialogue, meeting and exchange; the EU was created to safeguard peace through economic co-operation; the OSCE through dialogue and negotiation between East and West. For its part, the Council of Europe is founded on three pillars, without which peace cannot be protected, those of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Finally, Graziano Tullio explained how the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre  has been working on the youth, peace and security agenda since 2018 through confidence-building measures, intercultural dialogue and human rights education.

This thematic debate will now inform the Advisory Council on Youth’s further work on the youth, peace and security field.

Gabon: Youth for the Culture of Peace


An article by Jerry Bibang, special to CPNN

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) recently launched, in Libreville, a project to promote the culture of peace and fight against violence in schools.

(Click on image to enlarge)

In Gabon, violence in schools has reached worrying proportions, according to a recent study conducted by UNICEF in partnership with the Gabonese government. Approximately, 79% of the actors of the education system are victims of verbal or psychological violence; 59% are victims of physical violence and 50% are victims of sexual violence. Aware of this state of affairs, the Government has drawn up a national strategy to strengthen the response to violence in schools.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The project to promote the culture of peace and fight against violence in schools, initiated by PAYNCoP Gabon and supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) is part of this national strategy to strengthen response to violence in schools.

The initiative will sensitize key actors (supervisory staff, students, parents of students) on the effects of violence in schools, train them on the culture of peace and peaceful conflict resolution. In order to engage students in the continued promotion of the culture of peace within the school, the project also plans to create a club of young peacemakers within the school.

For Jerry Bibang, the coordinator of this initiative, “this is a pilot experience that is part of our activities to promote the culture of peace, in connection with government action. If the experience is positive, we plan to extend this project to other establishments in the capital but also to the interior of the country ”

The project involves several key players, including supervisory staff, students, teachers and parents, in an inclusive and participatory process.

Involving the African Youth in the Biennale of Luanda!


An article from UNESCO

An Intergenerational Dialogue will open the second edition of the Biennale of Luanda on October 4, and will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the following theme: “Cultural and heritage diversity of Africa and its Diasporas: firebrand of conflicts or breeding ground for peace?.” 

© Emily Pinna

An Intergenerational Dialogue

150 young people (from all AU countries and the Diaspora) will be invited to take part in this Dialogue. These young people will be selected from among members of National Youth Councils, National Coordinating Bodies of the Pan-African Youth Network for a Culture of Peace (PAYNCOP) and other youth leaders and organizations, through a call for applications. 

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Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The young participants will discuss with Heads of State and Government, Ministers in charge of Youth / Culture, Commissioners of the AU and Regional Economic Communities in charge of Youth, representatives of the United Nations, international organizations and technical and financial partners invited to the Biennale. 

An Online Dialogue!

In addition to these 150 selected young people, other young people will also participate virtually from their respective countries; decentralized participation, scaled up through digital platforms such as social networks, will be facilitated by UNESCO Field Offices, AU Liaison Offices, National Commissions for UNESCO, in partnership with Universities and Schools, digital campuses of the University Agency of the Francophonie, French Institutes and any other interested structure or entity. 
In connection with the Theme of the year of the African Union, the participants will assess the state of peace and security through the prism of the coexistence of multiple cultural identities of Africa; and, secondly, to question the relationship of young people to their culture and how they build their cultural identity in their relationship to otherness.  

The selection campaign of the candidates will open on 30 June 2021!

United States: #ListenFirst Coalition


Excerpts from the website of the Listen First Project

The #ListenFirst Coalition is a network of 300+ organizations focused on bringing Americans together across differences. This interpersonal bridge building field includes national, state, and local organizations. Click here for a listing of the organizations.

The purpose of the #ListenFirst Coalition is to catalyze a mainstream, collaborative social movement to transform division and contempt into connection and understanding by aggregating, aligning, and amplifying all efforts to mend our frayed social fabric. The Coalition fosters collaborative synergies, showcases uniquely impactful work, develops shared resources, and scales collective impact. Members support one another in sharing insight, best practices, new ideas, and opportunities for collaboration.

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Questions related to this article:

The struggle for human rights and tolerance, is it gathering force in the USA?

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Monthly Coalition Calls provide opportunities to connect with one another, explore key questions, get briefed on the latest movement building activity, learn about new partner initiatives primed for amplification, and activate toward upcoming collaborative opportunities. Interested in joining a call? Email!

Together, the #ListenFirst Coalition built and powers National Conversation Project, an overarching, collaborative movement platform to reach farther and impact greater than any one organization, to mainstream conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. Check out the early impact of National Conversation Project, including annual National Weeks of Conversation and weekly #ListenFirst Fridays! In 2020, over 130 Coalition members powered #WeavingCommunity, a national campaign aimed to build relationships in local communities, which reached 20 million people.

The #ListenFirst Coalition welcomes any organization focused on bringing Americans together across differences. There are no membership obligations. The #ListenFirst Coalition and its collective national campaigns are managed by Listen First Project, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

To join the #ListenFirst Coalition, contact us at 

[Editor’s note: Some of the virtual events on June 14, 16 and 17 are listed on the CPNN page for virtual events.]