Peace Palace

“The Peacebuilding Project” awarded 2021 Youth Carnegie Peace Prize


“The Peacebuilding Project”, the international volunteer-led youth organization that has initiated various peacebuilding activities, such as the Rohingya Literacy Program, was chosen as the winner of the 2021 Youth Carnegie Peace Prize. The Carnegie Foundation – Peace Palace and the Youth Peace Initiative (YPI) award this biennial prize to young peacebuilders in recognition of their work and to encourage young people to start peacebuilding processes. 
What started in 2017 as a research project at the University of Chicago has grown into a successful international organization. A volunteer-led organization promoting a culture of peace, education and understanding. “The Peacebuilding Project” provides a wide range of practical assistance and support in conflict regions, for example, for Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar to India. As part of their “Rohingya Literacy Program” in New Delhi, project volunteers teach young children language and computer skills in order, as Rhea Mahanta, founder of The Peacebuilding Project, says, “to pave a doorway to stable education”. By doing so, they are actually building bridges for the next generation. 
Video submissions for the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize were received from all over the world. The jury selected the Peacebuilding Project as laureate of the 2021 Youth Carnegie Peace Prize due to the complexity of its activities: “It is a symbiosis of scientific research and active efforts in the field. It offers online platforms but, at the same time, the project’s volunteers personally visit local communities that do not have access to the internet. The projects aim is not only to prevent or resolve conflicts, but also to face conflicts, give them a name and try to transform them”. The Peacebuilding Project focuses on dialogue and cooperation and, according to Rhea Mahanta, it is not “us versus them”, but always “us versus the problem”. 
Award Ceremony 
9 December 2021 marked the sixth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security and the Municipality of The Hague, the YPI and the Carnegie Foundation chose this significant date to award the 2021 Youth Carnegie Peace Prize. The ceremony took place in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace. As the award ceremony had been organized in a hybrid format, speakers in The Hague, including Saskia Bruines, Deputy Mayor of The Hague and Alderman for International Affairs, as well as online speakers contributed to the event. Ali Altiok and Irena Grizelj, authors and researchers of the UN-report “We Are Here: An integrated approach to youth-inclusive peace processes” delivered a valuable keynote speech on the role of youth. Virtual guests from around the world were able to join the award ceremony via a live stream from the Peace Palace. 
Youth Carnegie Peace Prize 
Education and peace are, according to Andrew Carnegie, founder of the Peace Palace, the most important conditions for both personal and social development. It is precisely the younger generation that has a crucial role to play in the field of education and peace. It was for this reason that the Carnegie Foundation – Peace Palace and Youth Peace Initiative launched the video competition in 2018 in order to gather best practices from young peacebuilders and to put the spotlight on them. The Youth Carnegie Peace Prize recognizes the work of young peacebuilders and aims to inspire and encourage others to start their own projects. 

The award ceremony of the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize 2021 can be watched here:


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Rhea Mahanta, The Peacebuilding Project


From left to right: Erik de Baedts, Saskia Bruines, Elisabeth Wesseling-van Gent, Rhea Mahanta, Layla Gegout, Clara Pietrek, Piet Hein Donner