Basel Peace Office announces the nine finalists for the 2023 PACEY Youth Award


An article from the Basel Peace Office

Basel Peace Office is pleased to announce the nine finalists of the 2023 PACEY Youth Award. We invite anyone interested in youth initiatives for a better world to join us for the PACEY Award ceremony on January 21 to vote for the three winners, each of whom will receive a prize of €5000 plus organizational support for their initiatives.

“The PACEY Award supports innovative projects which empower youth to lead transformative actions in the fields of peace, climate security and disarmament”, says Ms Marzhan Nurzhan, Deputy-Director of Basel Peace Office and Co-founder of Youth Fusion, a global youth network for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “We received nominations of over 80 inspiring youth projects and project proposals from around the world. The nine finalists are just a sample of the quality and level of youth action on these important issues for humanity and the planet.”

“Young people in Europe and around the world are standing up to demand policy progress on the climate crisis, nuclear abolition and ending war,” says Prof (em) Andreas Nidecker MD, founder of the PACEY Award. ‘They clearly see the threats to current and future generations and are taking action.”

“Peace and security are the central starting points on the path to sustainable development,” says Dr Lukas Ott (lic. phil.), Head of Canton and Urban Development, Presidential Department of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. “Peace is the foundation that something good can grow out of it. Youth-led projects and activities that promote peace, climate-protection and disarmament are more important now than ever.”

According to Prof Lukas Kundert, Director of the Basel-Stadt Evangelical Reformed Church, the award highlights youth action that connects ethical ways of living with practical approaches to achieving peace. “Righteousness and Peace kiss each other” he says.

The PACEY Award will confer one prize for a project based in Europe and two prizes for projects based outside of Europe.


The three finalists in the European project category are:

* Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics (United Kingdom), a project to examine the unique aspects of climate litigation across the corporate world leading to the production of a toolbox for the effective implementation of climate law. With research from 17 different legal systems, the project will analyse and compare best practices from those jurisdictions and provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders in order to facilitate continuous improvement in the implementation of climate change law.

* Peace in our Schools (Georgia), a project to work with young Ukrainian refugees and Russian immigrants, who have fled the Russia-Ukraine war. The project, founded by Jewish and Muslim peacemakers from Georgia and Afghanistan, aims to provide emotional intelligence and conflict resolution training to Ukrainian and Russian youth, through programs in Georgian schools. The project is managed by the Network of Former Youth Delegates to the United Nations.

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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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* SAFNA Youth Forum Database Project (Switzerland), a project to create a database on nuclear disarmament and arms control, with commentaries on national legislation and jurisprudence. The project, being led by the Swiss Association of Lawyers for Nuclear Disarmament (SAFNA) Youth Forum, is inspired by the ICRC databases on international humanitarian law, and aims to assist, students and professionals in the fields of international law, international politics and international relations.

The six finalists for the Beyond Europe category are;

* Adopt a tree, not a weapon (Democratic Republic of Congo), a project to address the climate crisis and activism of local and foreign armed groups using children as soldiers to commit violence and destroy the biodiversity. The project, run by former child soldiers and other young volunteers from the Amani-Institute, uses a range of innovative approaches including inter-active theatre, to educate and engage other youth.

* Ertis Mektebi school (Kazakhstan), a project to provide mainstreamed education for children with special needs.  The school is being established in Semipalatinsk, where there are over 4000 children with neuropsychological and musculoskeletal disabilities, most of whom are likely to be third and fourth generation victims of Soviet nuclear tests, more than 450 of which were conducted in the Polygon/Semipalatinsk region Kazakhstan from 1949 -1989. The mainstreaming approach is to establish a school where both children with disabilities and children without health problems will study together.

* Nuclear Lives: Uranium Mining on Indigenous Communities of Meghalaya (India), an interview series documenting the testimonies of victims of uranium mining in Meghalaya. The uranium is used for both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The project uses a story-telling approach to complement academic research in order to elevate public knowledge and political attention regarding the negative impacts of uranium mining – the widespread acres of forest cleared, water bodies contaminated, soil rendered fruitless, stillborn births and death of local wildlife.

* Silence the Guns (Cameroon), a project led by Children for Peace to educate and engage children, especially girls, in Central Africa in non-violence and peace-building. The project works with  schools, university, mosques, churches & faith-based organizations, refugees, UN agencies and other organization in order to counter violent extremism, armed conflict and the illicit proliferation of weapons.

* Storytelling as a Catalyst of Action for Peace, Love, and Climate Justice in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), a project led by the MENA Youth Network which aims to establish an online media archive of stories and voices of youth in the MENA region most affected by the intersection of conflict and climate change, and run workshops and exhibitions in collaboration with civil society groups in communities across the region. The project will harness the power of storytelling to advance and highlight urgent needs, and empower and unite youth towards establishing peace, love, and climate justice in the region.

* Youth Peace Caravans (Sudan/Uganda), a peacebuilding program initiated and led by a former child soldier from South Sudan in the refugee settlements in northern Uganda to foster peace among the South Sudanese young Refugees. South Sudan is home to 64 tribes with long history of animosity. When the civil war broke out, those who fled the country were forced to live in shared refugee settlement areas where negative assumptions led to clashes, death and injuries. Through youth peace caravans, young people are unlearning the negative assumptions by engaging more with each other through community exchange visits, sharing stories, skills and ideas and doing community service together.

The PACEY (Peace, nuclear Abolition and Climate Engaged Youth Award) was established by Basel Peace Office in 2020 as a €5000 award for a European Youth Project. In 2021, the City of Basel (Switzerland) joined and added a prize of €5000 for Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project. And we are pleased to announce that from 2023, we are joined by the Reformed Evangelical Church of Basel-Stadt with support for another award of €5000 for a second Beyond Europe/Global Youth Project, making three awards in total.

Finalists in each category will present their projects/proposals at the PACEY Awards event which takes place online on January 21, in conjunction with Basel Peace Forum 2023 and the annual Basel Inter-generational Forum on Peace, Disarmament and Climate Action ( hybrid events). Participants at the PACEY Awards event will vote by secret ballot to determine the three winners.