Tomorrow's Peacebuilders

Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders are the global awards for local peacebuilding. Awarded annually, they offer international recognition for grassroots peace activists in conflict-affected countries worldwide. These are inspiring individuals who are building a better tomorrow for their communities, in the world’s most fragile and needy places.

The 2015 winners

The winners of the Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders awards were announced at London’s Frontline Club, the home of international news journalism. Each will receive $10,000 in prize money to progress their life-saving peace work with local communities. The Guardian has profiled the three winners, read the article here.

Youth and peacebuilding: Combatants for Peace, Israel-Palestine

Combatants for Peace was founded by Israeli and Palestinian fighters who had renounced violence. It runs guided tours for Israelis to see Palestinian areas, encounters between Israeli and Palestinian youth, and peace workshops in each community. Storytelling and commemoration days are key to its awareness work. CFP also undertakes humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian villages such as laying water pipelines, planting gardens and playgrounds in villages, renovating schools and protecting workers’ rights.

Inter-religious peacebuilding: Genesis, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Genesis helps children and teenagers in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina to overcome ethnic segregation and the psychological legacy of war. It is the only organisation working long-term in Bosnia’s segregated schools to bring together children from different ethnic groups in projects and workshops that combat prejudice and promote tolerance. In primary schools it provides peace education classes, and puppet shows on the dangers of landmines and other unexploded ordinance. For teenagers it offers training in film-making to youths from all sides, creating a vehicle for collaboration and the exploration of identities. Genesis was set up in 1997 to help children still living in refugee camps. It was featured in Michal Palin’s TV series ‘New Europe’.

Women and peacebuilding: Rural Women Peace Link, Kenya

Rural Women Peace Link is a grassroots network that stands up for women’s rights and works against gender based violence (GBV). It teaches on FGM in schools, provides trauma counselling for women, and trains police in handling GBV cases. RWPL also sets up local ‘women parliaments’, lobbies local government for women’s rights, and runs peacebuilding forums in Kenya’s most conflict-affected areas.


The 2015 shortlist

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Lebanon: Adyan Foundation

Adyan Foundation counters the rise of violent extremism among young people in Lebanon by running peace education in school clubs, training camps and universities. It has designed curriculum modules for the government on religious tolerance and inclusive citizenship, which have been included in school textbooks and teacher training. It has reached 45,000 people with its message of peaceful co-existence.

X

Sierra Leone: B-Gifted

B-Gifted helps the worst victims of Sierra Leone’s civil war – including former child soldiers and amputees – to adjust to civilian life. Amputation was widely used as a weapon of war. B-Gifted gives its beneficiaries psychological healing, job training and emotional support to help them rebuild their lives and move past the effects of war. It also works on a wider scale to promote reconciliation through schools peace clubs and community arts projects.

X

Israel-Palestine: Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace was founded by Israeli and Palestinian fighters who had renounced violence. It runs guided tours for Israelis to see Palestinian areas, encounters between Israeli and Palestinian youth, and peace workshops in each community. Storytelling and commemoration days are key to its awareness work. CFP also undertakes humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian villages such as laying water pipelines, planting gardens and playgrounds in villages, renovating schools and protecting workers' rights.

X

Colombia: FUNDAMIL

Fundación Mujer del Nuevo Milenio (FUNDAMIL) New Millennium Woman Foundation aims to empoFUNDAMIL helps women in the poorest areas of Bogota who have been affected by Colombia’s armed conflict or domestic violence, or are single mothers. It combats violence and discrimination against women, through healthcare brigades, psychotherapeutic support and legal committees. It helps mothers take care and educate their children, while receiving job training and leadership seminars to increase their earning power and self-esteem. It is run by women.

X

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Genesis

Genesis helps children and teenagers in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina to overcome ethnic segregation and the psychological legacy of war. It is the only organisation working long-term in Bosnia’s segregated schools to bring together children from different ethnic groups in projects and workshops that combat prejudice and promote tolerance. In primary schools it provides peace education classes, and puppet shows on the dangers of landmines and other unexploded ordinance. For teenagers it offers training in film-making to youths from all sides, creating a vehicle for collaboration and the exploration of identities. Genesis was set up in 1997 to help children still living in refugee camps. It was featured in Michal Palin’s TV series ‘New Europe’.

X

Israel-Palestine: Jerusalem Intercultural Center

Jerusalem Intercultural Center bridges the divides between hostile communities in the city of Jerusalem, helping them to understand each other and work together on urban projects. Its ‘Speaking In The Square’ project engages extremists in outdoor debates and enables hundreds to exercise their freedom of speech respectfully. Its website ‘0202 A View from East Jerusalem’ translates Palestinian media items into Hebrew so that Jewish residents can understand their perspectives, and receives 50,000 views a week. Its Emergency Readiness Desks train and deploy Palestinian residents to respond to natural and other emergencies in co-ordination with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Its East Jerusalem Community Development Desk gives Palestinian women and youth the confidence and knowledge to become involved in urban services and planning.

X

Turkey: Karakutu Blackbox Association

Karakutu creates ‘Memory Walks’ in Istanbul to tell the hidden stories of persecuted minorities. It focuses on educating young people through these walks, so that future generations understand the truths of their society’s past – for example in the treatment of Armenians, Jews and women. Hidden histories that have been ignored in official narratives are illuminated through walks in the city, training in recovering the past, and ‘critical thinking’ on how to resolve conflicts that have been ignored.

X

Syria/Lebanon: Nuon

Nuon works in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon to prevent children aged 8-16 from becoming radicalised into joining violent groups. It does this through children’s projects using art or agriculture, also through workshops on topics such as the dangers of small arms, and through publishing pamphlets for use in schools.

X

Pakistan: Paiman

Paiman prevents violent extremism in Pakistan. Its activities include helping mothers of extremists to deradicalise their children; peace education in madrassas and schools; training for leaders such as clergy, government officials and female MPs; TV and theatre shows on countering extremism. They are expanding this programme to Yemen and Somalia. “We are leading the fight against extremism by challenging its root causes. We walk into extremists’ homes, schools and workplaces. We speak to those who feel they have no alternative.”

X

Kenya: Rural Women Peace Link

Rural Women Peace Link is a grassroots network that stands up for women’s rights and works against gender based violence (GBV). It teaches on FGM in schools, provides trauma counselling for women, and trains police in handling GBV cases. RWPL also sets up local ‘women parliaments’, lobbies local government for women’s rights, and runs peacebuilding forums in Kenya’s most conflict-affected areas.

Adyan Foundation
Prevents violent extremism among young people in Lebanon and across the Middle East, using social media and school programmes.
Find out more about this group
B-Gifted
Helps former child soldiers, amputees and others affected by Sierra Leone’s civil war to overcome trauma and stigma.
Find out more about this group
Combatants for Peace
Deploys former combatants from both sides to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Find out more about this group

Lebanon: Adyan Foundation

Adyan Foundation counters the rise of violent extremism among young people in Lebanon by running peace education in school clubs, training camps and universities. It has designed curriculum modules for the government on religious tolerance and inclusive citizenship, which have been included in school textbooks and teacher training. It has reached 45,000 people with its message of peaceful co-existence.

Sierra Leone: B-Gifted

B-Gifted helps the worst victims of Sierra Leone’s civil war – including former child soldiers and amputees – to adjust to civilian life. Amputation was widely used as a weapon of war. B-Gifted gives its beneficiaries psychological healing, job training and emotional support to help them rebuild their lives and move past the effects of war. It also works on a wider scale to promote reconciliation through schools peace clubs and community arts projects.

Israel-Palestine: Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace was founded by Israeli and Palestinian fighters who had renounced violence. It runs guided tours for Israelis to see Palestinian areas, encounters between Israeli and Palestinian youth, and peace workshops in each community. Storytelling and commemoration days are key to its awareness work. CFP also undertakes humanitarian aid projects in Palestinian villages such as laying water pipelines, planting gardens and playgrounds in villages, renovating schools and protecting workers' rights.

FUNDAMIL
Helps at-risk women in the poorest areas of Bogota through education, job training and leadership training.
Find out more about this group
Genesis
Helps children in post-war Bosnia to overcome ethnic segregation, the psychological legacy of war, and the risk of landmines.
Find out more about this group
Jerusalem Intercultural Center
Bridges the divides between hostile communities in the city of Jerusalem, helping them to work together on urban projects.
Find out more about this group

Colombia: FUNDAMIL

Fundación Mujer del Nuevo Milenio (FUNDAMIL) New Millennium Woman Foundation aims to empoFUNDAMIL helps women in the poorest areas of Bogota who have been affected by Colombia’s armed conflict or domestic violence, or are single mothers. It combats violence and discrimination against women, through healthcare brigades, psychotherapeutic support and legal committees. It helps mothers take care and educate their children, while receiving job training and leadership seminars to increase their earning power and self-esteem. It is run by women.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Genesis

Genesis helps children and teenagers in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina to overcome ethnic segregation and the psychological legacy of war. It is the only organisation working long-term in Bosnia’s segregated schools to bring together children from different ethnic groups in projects and workshops that combat prejudice and promote tolerance. In primary schools it provides peace education classes, and puppet shows on the dangers of landmines and other unexploded ordinance. For teenagers it offers training in film-making to youths from all sides, creating a vehicle for collaboration and the exploration of identities. Genesis was set up in 1997 to help children still living in refugee camps. It was featured in Michal Palin’s TV series ‘New Europe’.

Israel-Palestine: Jerusalem Intercultural Center

Jerusalem Intercultural Center bridges the divides between hostile communities in the city of Jerusalem, helping them to understand each other and work together on urban projects. Its ‘Speaking In The Square’ project engages extremists in outdoor debates and enables hundreds to exercise their freedom of speech respectfully. Its website ‘0202 A View from East Jerusalem’ translates Palestinian media items into Hebrew so that Jewish residents can understand their perspectives, and receives 50,000 views a week. Its Emergency Readiness Desks train and deploy Palestinian residents to respond to natural and other emergencies in co-ordination with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Its East Jerusalem Community Development Desk gives Palestinian women and youth the confidence and knowledge to become involved in urban services and planning.

Karakutu
Creates ‘Memory Walks’ in Istanbul to tell the hidden stories of persecuted minorities including Armenians and Jews.
Find out more about this group
Nuon
Provides children in Syrian refugee camps with peace books and education so that do not become recruited into war.
Find out more about this group
Paiman
Prevents violent extremism in Pakistan by helping mothers of extremists, training local leaders and confronting extremists themselves.
Find out more about this group

Turkey: Karakutu Blackbox Association

Karakutu creates ‘Memory Walks’ in Istanbul to tell the hidden stories of persecuted minorities. It focuses on educating young people through these walks, so that future generations understand the truths of their society’s past – for example in the treatment of Armenians, Jews and women. Hidden histories that have been ignored in official narratives are illuminated through walks in the city, training in recovering the past, and ‘critical thinking’ on how to resolve conflicts that have been ignored.

Syria/Lebanon: Nuon

Nuon works in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon to prevent children aged 8-16 from becoming radicalised into joining violent groups. It does this through children’s projects using art or agriculture, also through workshops on topics such as the dangers of small arms, and through publishing pamphlets for use in schools.

Pakistan: Paiman

Paiman prevents violent extremism in Pakistan. Its activities include helping mothers of extremists to deradicalise their children; peace education in madrassas and schools; training for leaders such as clergy, government officials and female MPs; TV and theatre shows on countering extremism. They are expanding this programme to Yemen and Somalia. “We are leading the fight against extremism by challenging its root causes. We walk into extremists’ homes, schools and workplaces. We speak to those who feel they have no alternative.”

Rural Women Peace Link
Women’s network in Kenya working to stop sexual violence, promote women’s rights and prevent election-related conflict.
Find out more about this group

The awards

The Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders awards were launched in 2013 by Peace Direct. They are the only awards of their kind in the world.

The winners receive global publicity and cash prizes. They are chosen by an international panel of experts including distinguished practitioners, political figures and media.

In the first two years, 556 entries were received from 68 countries. The prize winners worked with ex-child soldiers in Uganda, young people in Israel-Palestine, villagers hit by drug wars in Colombia, tribal groups in Papua New Guinea and more.

2014 winner Vahidin Omanovic from Bosnia said: “It is a great honour for us to win a ‘Tomorrow’s Peacebuilder’ award. Ten years of hard work, influencing the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina to overcome their prejudices and hate, have been recognised and celebrated with the award. This is an enormous boost to our work.”

Sponsorship

For the first time, we are opening the awards to sponsorship, so that we can increase the prizes and publicity for peacebuilders. Further information »

Find out more

Download the awards flier. Download »

The prizes

Three winning organisations will each receive $10,000, an invitation to attend a winners’ event in London, and online promotion of their work. They will be chosen from one of the five categories below.
Women
Youth
Environment
Inter-religious
Arts

Technology and peacebuiding

Alongside the main prize and categories, the organisation that best makes use of technology in their work will receive a scholarship to attend the Build Peace 2016 conference in Zurich, Switzerland, and become a Build Peace Fellow, receiving additional support for their peacebuilding work.

Photography prize

In a addition to finding the best examples of local peacebuilders, Tomorrow's Peacebuilders is looking for photos that illustrate the theme of ‘local peacebuilding’. Prizes worth $1,000 are on offer. Find out more »


Partners and sponsors

The jury

The three winners of the Tomorrow's Peacebuilders awards will be selected by an international jury of peacebuilding experts.

Fergal Keane OBE

Fergal Keane OBEFergal Keane OBE is a Special Correspondent at BBC News. He has reported for the BBC since 1989, including from South Africa, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and Bosnia. He is the author of numerous books, including ‘Seasons of Blood: Rwandan Journey’, which won the Orwell Prize.

Lord Jack McConnell

Lord Jack McConnellLord McConnell is a former First Minister of Scotland and UK Special Representative for Peacebuilding. He was recently appointed as Vice President of UNICEF UK, and he is Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Landry Ninteretse

Landry NinteretseLandry Ninteretse is a founder member of the Burundian youth peacebuilding organisation Action for Peace and Democracy and member of the steering committee of the INAMA peacebuilding network in Burundi. He also works for the environmental campaigning organisation 350.org.

Ashima Kaul

Ashima KaulAshima Kaul is an Indian journalist and founder member of the Yakjah Peace and Reconciliation Network, a group of Kashmiri peacebuilders focused on empowering young people and women in Kashmir.

Melanie Greenberg

Melanie GreenbergMelanie Greenberg is President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. In her work on international conflict resolution, Melanie has helped design and facilitate peace processes in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Caucasus.

Previous winners

United Nuaro Gor
Preventing inter-tribal warfare in Papua New Guinea.
Find out more about this winner
Centar za Izgradnju Mira
Peace for the generation growing up after war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Find out more about this winner
Dagropass
‘Zero violence’ campaign in post-genocide, pre-election Burundi.
Find out more about this winner
War Affected Youth Association
Assisting former child soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.
Find out more about this winner
Heartbeat
Bringing young Israelis and Palestinians together through music.
Find out more about this winner
Kapamagagopa
Overcoming prejudice and religious divides in the Philipines.
Find out more about this winner
Community Network for Social Justice
Giving former child soldiers a life after war in Uganda.
Find out more about this winner
Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó
Showing coexistence is possible in Colombia.
Find out more about this winner
Peace Solutions International
Teaching people how to build peace in Uganda and DR Congo.
Find out more about this winner

Papua New Guinea: preventing inter-tribal warfare, United Nauro-Gor

For three decades Papua New Guinea has suffered from inter-tribal warfare that has claimed hundreds of lives, destroyed entire villages and hampered development.  This was halted in 2002 with inter-tribal peace talks which established United Nauro-Gor, an organisation that brings together all the tribes to work in partnership for peace and development. In 2003 the leaders came up with 22 community-based laws and introduced the concept of ‘community policing’. As well as agreeing codes of behaviour, United Nauro-Gor believes that violence can be reduced if people have greater opportunities to make a living, so it organises projects including farming and skills training.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: peace for the generation growing up after war, Centar za Izgradnju Mira

Twenty years after Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II, Bosnia continues to suffer from ethnic division which threatens the next generation growing up in the aftermath of hostilities. Founded in 2004, Centar za Izgradnju Mira (Centre for Peacebuilding) have worked with thousands of young people to combat ethnic tensions and mistrust. Founded by two Muslim men who survived war camps and displacement, it is based in Sanski Most, a town on the faultline left by war, on the troubled border between Bosnia-Herzegovenia and the Serb-dominated Republic of Srpska. This is a region tragically scarred by war crimes and past atrocities.

Centar za Izgradnju Mira bring together young people from hostile ethnic groups and religious faiths, to build understanding and tolerance. They host peace camps, provide non-violence education in primary schools and run an inter-faith choir. For the first time since the war, they encouraged a peaceful dialogue between the main imam of Sanski Most and two local Christian priests: as a result, local mosques delivered aid to churches during recent floods.

Burundi: ‘zero violence’ campaign in post-genocide, pre-election Burundi, Dagropass

Violence returned to Burundi earlier this year following a failed coup, 21 years after genocide. War has particularly shattered rural and vulnerable communities in the country and left many weapons circulating among the population. Since 2007, DAGROPASS has been disarming civilians in the remote province of Bubanza, which has seen large quantities of violence between five rebel groups. They have assisted government operations to collect and destroy weapons, signed up communities to observe International Arms Trade Treaty and provided education around this sensitive issue.

DAGROPASS also recognise that women’s empowerment, through social and economic rights, is critical to stability in the region. They run regular information sessions, informing rural women about their human rights and offer them small business training.

Uganda: assisting former child soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army, War Affected Youth Association

Former abductees of the Lord’s Resistance Army face stigmatisation and are often rejected by the villages they return home to. War Affected Youth Association was founded to support these former abducted children. It campaigns against child abuse and the stigmatisation of returning LRA child soldiers. The organisation has worked with some 10,000 villagers and abductees.

In Gulu, WAYA have organised radio talk shows to help the release of some children by the LRA, reduced stigmatisation of children through dance and musical activities in villages, and offered psychosocial support for the children. So far they have worked with over 10,000 villagers and abductees. Music, dance and drama are central activities, creating an opportunity for former returnees and community members to socialise and create together. Through a mixture of campaigns, education and support work, WAYA work to produce change, giving former combatants a better future back in communities.

Bringing young Israelis and Palestinians together through music, Heartbeat

The long-running conflict in Israel-Palestine continues to claim lives. In this deeply divided context, Heartbeat works to build trust from the ground up. Heartbeat brings together young musicians from across the area to make music, build understanding and promote peaceful social change. Working with Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Arab young people, it organises music-based workshops and camps, as well as developing performance ensembles in Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa-Tel Aviv.

Heartbeat’s staff are trained dialogue facilitators and professional musicians, and develop students’ skills in song-writing, music theory and improvisation. They also work on their communication and leadership abilities – helping them to engage with each other and the conflict issues that involve them, while quite literally amplifying their voices to help spread the message of peace.

Overcoming prejudice and religious divides in the Philipines, Kapamagogopa

For decades the Philippines has been victim to a bloody armed struggle between the government and Muslim separatists seeking an independent state in southern parts of the country. Kapamagogopa Incorporated (KI) is bringing the two communities back together in Mindanao, the region worst affected by the conflict. They counteract prejudice between Muslims and Christians by introducing Muslim volunteers into Christian--community organisations across the region. By empowering Muslim volunteers to apply their talents in other communities, Kapamagogopa bridge the deep-rooted religious divides between them.

This innovative approach to peacebuilding is having a powerful impact. By creating opportunities for Muslims and non-Muslims to work together towards a peaceful and prosperous Philippines, KI is transforming negative perceptions and encouraging interfaith harmony. To date, KI has supported 79 volunteers, who have contributed 180,000 volunteering hours, and impacted on the lives of as many as 700,000 people in Mindanao.

Giving former child soldiers a life after war, Community Network for Social Justice

Community Network for Social Justice (CNSJ) is working not only to rescue child soldiers kidnapped by Joseph Kony’s LRA but to ensure they have a meaningful place in communities they come home to. The legacy of conflict has left a generation bearing the physical and emotional scars of war. Many young people feel they have little hope for a better future, and risk falling into political or criminal violence. CNSJ gives them the skills and confidence to build a new life.

CNSJ has provided psychological support and offered economic opportunities, rehabilitating vulnerable people still suffering from conflict. As well as working to reconcile former child soldiers into civilian life, CNSJ has implemented a government-led agricultural programme, to teach modern goat rearing techniques to communities in Palukere, in the Attiak sub-county.

Showing coexistence is possible in Colombia, Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó

Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó (the ‘Peace Community’) is a community dedicated to showing the people of war-ravaged northern Colombia that peaceful cohabitation is possible even amidst the violence. For 15 years, the community has stood firm in their commitment to peace and non-violence, even when violence has been directed towards them. Unfortunately, the commitment to peace of the members of the community has not spared them from the violence of the conflict in Colombia, and they have been repeatedly targeted for attack by military, paramilitary and guerrilla forces. Since its founding, approximately 200 members of the Peace Community have been killed, including victims of 20 massacres by different armed groups, indicating the vital need for their work.

In the face of this challenge, the Community has rejected state, paramilitary and guerrilla powers and has adopted familiar concepts of international law which has gained them the recognition of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights via protection orders. The success and relative peace in the Community has led others around the country to emulate the model, adapted to suit their own distinct circumstances.

Teaching people how to build peace, Peace Solutions International

Uganda is struggling to deal with an unprecedented influx of refugees from neighbouring South Sudan and DR Congo. This has brought with it major challenges and further conflict within Uganda’s refugee community. Peace Solutions International (PSI), a peacebuilding organisation based in Kampala, works within the refugee community on issues of peacebuilding, human rights, and democracy largely through their performing arts and film projects. PSI’s work brings together refugees from different nationalities, tribes and communities to work together, and in doing so build friendships and understanding.

Their Unity Group for Movie Production recruits people from the disparate refugee communities and encourages them to collaborate in the production of films endorsing the themes of peacebuilding and human rights. Bringing these rival groups together on these productions helps to foster understanding and cross cultural relationships through the medium of acting and film production. These films have been shown both within Uganda, and in the countries in which many of the refugees originate, in order to help spread their influence further.