A New Community of Youth Peacebuilders

The Peace Fellowship was conceived as a setting for university students to take an in-depth look at peace and conflict. Since inception in January 2021, the Fellowship has placed the theoretical framework of peace and conflict in the context of everyday life and the community.

A New Community of Youth Peacebuilders

The most recent cohort of Peace Fellows came together at the turn of the year. Their first week together was packed with interactive workshops and meetings with civil society organisations dedicated to working with different segments of the community. Then, over successive weeks in the Peace Lab phase, the Fellows tested their learnings and ideas in self-made community projects.

The Fellows formed teams to create prototypes to address specific problems in the community:

  • The relationship between domestic workers and their employers in times of COVID;
  • Young people’s physical and emotional needs when living with family in sub-divided flats; and
  • Creating a sense of belonging in a district popularly known as “dormitory town”.

A New Community of Youth Peacebuilders

A significant - and possibly the most enduring - discovery is one another. One fellow’s response on the most important takeaway was ‘knowledge and friends’. Another fellow found ‘like-minded’ individuals and experienced ‘profound exchanges’.

The 11 Fellows were from as many disciplines at several universities – political science, performing arts, IT, real estate, law, creative arts, cultural studies, sports & health sciences etc.  Aside from their chosen areas of study, they also had different personalities, different experiences and different outlooks on life. 

A New Community of Youth Peacebuilders

What brought them together was a desire to make sense of social developments and to bring about change. ‘Although I occasionally encountered conflicting views with my team mates, I could feel deeply that we held the same beliefs. I am thankful to have met everyone, from different backgrounds, and to witness everyone’s concern and passion for society,’ one fellow said.

The bond among the Fellows brought into existence a new community of youth peacebuilders. This came about in part because the Peace Fellowship programme encouraged and empowered them to speak up without fear of being judged, to listen with empathy, to recognise their own and others’ tendencies and positions vs needs when facing conflict and to overcome differences. The Fellows, equipped with building blocks for peace, saw hope.

‘Hope lies where people can think critically, sincere communication occurs and close bonds grow.’

– Peace Fellow (January 2022)

Find out more about the Peace Lab projects of the Fellows here.