Nashville, TN – February 12, 2024 – Generations For Peace USA has launched the Peacebuilding Academy with an inaugural cohort of five youth sport organizations from Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC. The Peacebuilding Academy is a new initiative by Generations For Peace USA to provide peacebuilding training, mentoring, and technical assistance to organizations in select US cities to help them better address issues of conflict and violence in their communities and strengthen youth resilience to violence. The 2024 Peacebuilding Academy will run from January through August 2024 under the theme “Sport For Peace.” It is offered free of charge to participating organizations with support from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA in Chicago; Fight for Children in Washington, DC; and the Generations For Peace global headquarters in Amman, Jordan.

The five participating organizations in the 2024 Peacebuilding Academy include:

Breakthrough (Chicago, IL)

Chicago Adventure Therapy (Chicago, IL)

Chicago Lions Charitable Association (Chicago, IL)

Junior Tennis Champion’s Center (College Park, MD)

So Kids SOAR (Washington, DC)

Both Chicago and DC are experiencing crises of youth violence despite significant investments in youth development. The Peacebuilding Academy offers a new and innovative solution to this challenge by strengthening the capacity of reputable youth organizations to use sport to achieve peacebuilding outcomes, such as a decrease in violence and increase in feelings of trust and understanding of others. It also offers opportunities for the participating organizations to share experiences with one another and other overseas organizations in Generations For Peace’s global network, and for youth and adults to work together in advancing peace, safety, and inclusion in their communities.

By the end of the program, the participating organizations will have integrated Sport For Peace principles and practices in their existing programs, which annually reach more than 3,900 children and youth, strengthening youth resilience to violence.

Sport For Peace is Generations For Peace’s flagship approach used by more than 23,144 youth leaders in 52 countries, including the USA since 2019. Sport For Peace utilizes sport-based games, drills, and adapted official sport code activities to provide peace education and build trust across conflict divides.

Generations For Peace USA intends for the Peacebuilding Academy to be an annual program that will scale to new cities over time, with each cohort focusing on a theme and learning a tool, such as sport, arts, advocacy, dialogue, empowerment, or media for peacebuilding.

“The Peacebuilding Academy is the culmination of more than seven years of learning from and listening to communities and partners on how Generations For Peace can best support peacebuilding in the United States. The result is this new and innovative model for enhancing the great work community organizations are already doing by strengthening the conflict analysis and conflict transformation skills of their staff and the youth they serve. We are starting with youth sport organizations in Chicago and Washington, DC. The opportunities for sustainable growth and impact thereafter are limitless,“ said Generations For Peace USA Executive Director Lindsay McClain Opiyo.

“Laureus USA is proud to have supported Generations For Peace over the past four years as they developed their program in Chicago. The Peacebuilding Academy builds on the existing efforts of anchor organizations in Chicago and promotes shared-learning, capacity building, and collective action – which all align to the ethos of Laureus. We look forward to continuing to partner with GFP on this existing work,” said Ben Schornack, Director of Sport for Good Chicago at Laureus USA.

“Fight for Children is excited to partner with Generations For Peace USA in offering the Peacebuilding Academy to our Youth Development Institute member organizations. We strive to provide customized resources and services to our 34 nonprofit partners, and the Peacebuilding Academy is a way for us to help youth sport organizations in the DC area improve their program quality by integrating violence prevention and peacebuilding outcomes into the great work they are already doing,” said James Kallusky, President at Fight for Children.

DeAngelo Johnson, the Director of Operation and Recreation at Breakthrough in Chicago, said, “By joining the Peacebuilding Academy, we hope to collaborate with other partner organizations and [receive] the resources and knowledge to expand our program offerings focusing on peacebuilding outcomes.”

Executive Director of So Kids SOAR in DC, Glenda Smith, said, “We are excited to be a part of the Peacebuilding Academy to make connections with like-minded organizations and learn how to approach our programming and our communities with peace, patience, and compassion. We believe that only through honest and open communication and understanding can we create a better world for future generations.”

For additional information, visit Generations For Peace USA’s website at http://www.gfpusa.ngo. The application process for the 2025 Peacebuilding Academy is expected to open in Fall 2024.

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Generations For Peace USA engages children, youth, and adults in experiential learning, inclusive dialogue, and collaborative action to transform their communities into places of safety and belonging for all. Our approach prioritizes community agency and youth leadership, drawing from our global experience working with 20,000+ volunteers in 52 countries worldwide. GFP USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered under EIN 46-1577158, with roots in international peacebuilding and development. We were founded in November 2012 by Generations For Peace (GFP), an acclaimed global peacebuilding organization headquartered in Jordan. Today, we are comprised of a skilled US-based team representing diverse identities, geographies, industries, and lived experiences from across the country. We have implemented sport-based youth violence prevention and bridge-building programs in Chicago and Champaign, IL since 2019

Laureus USA is a non-profit, grant-making organization that works to improve the lives of youth and unite communities through the power of sport. Since 2012, we have impacted the lives of over one million youth by investing $20 million in sports-based youth development organizations around the country that unleash the power of sport to enhance physical and mental health, improve educational and employment outcomes, and address critical social justice issues. Laureus USA is a member of the global Laureus network, which includes 7 National Laureus Sport for Good Foundations, 1 Global Foundation, the Laureus World Sports Academy (and Ambassadors), and the Laureus World Sports Awards.

Fight for Children was founded in 1990 by the late Joseph E. Robert Jr. to improve the lives of children in the nation’s capital. Fight for Children has impacted the lives of more than 400,000 children through improvements in healthcare, education, and policy. Fight for Children’s mission is to help individuals, organizations, and communities leverage the power of sports to improve the lives of underserved youth. Fight for Children achieves this through the Fight For Children Youth Development Institute, the region’s first and only sports-based youth development collaborative, and the Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center at Children’s National, the region’s first and only pediatric sports medicine facility.

Breakthrough is a faith-based, non-profit organization that partners with people to build connections, develop skills, and open doors of opportunity. With a hyperlocal focus in Garfield Park, Breakthrough provides a myriad of services focused on a profoundly simple formula: people first.

Chicago Adventure Therapy seeks to create pathways and access whilst seeking diversity in the outdoor sporting communities. Using outdoor adventure sports like paddling, camping, cycling, hiking, and rock climbing, Chicago Adventure Therapy works with Chicago children, youth, and young adults to have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills and strong leadership skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.

Chicago Lions Charitable Association (CLCA) is a nonprofit organization that strives to positively impact the lives of members in our local community. In addition to promoting the sport of rugby, CLCA engages with nearby schools and partners with community leaders to help bring about change in Chicago’s Near Westside

Junior Tennis Champion’s Center (JTCC) is a nationally recognized tennis training organization dedicated to providing accessible tennis opportunities for all. Through various programs, including free youth instruction in low-income communities and adaptive clinics, JTCC has impacted over 7,500 youth. The Game On! program, launched in 2009, includes 35 schools and recreation centers, fostering players who excel at high school, college, and professional levels

So Kids SOAR provides life-changing programs that empower youth with physical and developmental disabilities to Strive, Own, Achieve, and Realize their potential. We enable participants to SOAR through a suite of adaptive programming that includes athletic, recreational, and skill-building activities. The self-confidence and skills gained through these programs inspire each child to realize that their disability will not prevent them from fulfilling their potential.