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In November and October of 2016, Paula Porras, of the Colombian non-profit Somos CaPAZes visited the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) – an initiative of the US State Department.  From the start, the similarities between Somos CaPAZes and the Center were obvious.  Both organizations are non-profits focused on peace education in cities grappling with issues of poverty, reconciliation, and violence. During her month-long visit, the Center and Somos CaPAZes were able to establish a strong relationship, share research methodologies, exchange ideas for developing and enhancing best practices for peace education curricula for youth, and, ultimately, apply for a Reverse Exchange opportunity through YLAI and, by extension, the US State Department.

Both organizations are non-profits focused on peace education in cities grappling with issues of poverty, reconciliation, and violence.

Out of nearly 400 applicants, the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and Somos CaPAZes were awarded the YLAI Reverse Exchange grant to implement a joint project to strengthen and enhance the missions of both organizations.  Thus, Peace Labs project was born; a virtual, interactive platform for peace-makers, practitioners, and students to share their stories in a living and breathing archive of peace.

The Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and Somos CaPAZes were awarded the YLAI Reverse Exchange grant to implement a joint project to strengthen and enhance the missions of both organizations

The Research Assistant for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Gaia Klotz, traveled to Bogota, Colombia to institute this project from April 17 – 30, 2017.  Through this exchange, the Center was able to strengthen their ties with Somos CaPAZes and establish relationships with important Colombian peace-makers and learn more about the history and culture of Colombia and the important work of Somos CaPAZes with communities throughout the country.  This blog is a testament to the cooperation of two organizations working, day by day, to cultivate a culture of peace.

 

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