About the Conference
The Annual Youth and Peace Conference (YPC) is a unique Tucson event empowering youth to become courageous leaders and creative peace builders in our community. Youth violence is still considered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to be an epidemic problem in America. Arizona’s youth violence and homicide rates are higher than the national average. The conference started in 2011 as a community-based prevention project to help educate and inoculate youth against violence (e.g., bullying, relationship violence, sexual assault, hate, bigotry, negative self-talk, suicide, gun violence) and to empower youth to make healthy, life-affirming choices.
Youth Leadership for the Conference
YPC’s core mission is creating a conference for youth and by youth. Therefore, each year our planning process includes a Youth Leadership Team, which identifies both the focus and title of the conference, as well as being involved in key aspects of the planning process (e.g., selecting workshops and organizing the Opening & Closing Ceremonies to highlight the conference title). The YPC Adult Logistics Team serves the Youth Leadership Team by supporting them in creating a conference that embodies their vision. YPC is a true collaborative community effort where youth voices are centered and empowered.
Dennis D. Embry Peace Award
The Dennis D. Embry Peace Award was first introduced at the 2018 Youth & Peace Conference to recognize an adult whose life passion is focused on peace-building by and for youth. The award is named after Dennis D. Embry to celebrate his life-long commitment to youth-focused peace-building research and evidence-based curriculum development for elementary and middle schools in communities across America and around the world. Dennis was the first recipient of this award named in his honor. To learn more about this Peace Award, see the attached video filmed in September 2020 in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association’s Peace Garden (where the idea to create a Youth & Peace Conference was originally suggested by a group of teenagers talking about how to end bullying). In the video, the 2019 Peace Award recipient Beki Quintero is presenting the 2020 Dennis D. Embry Peace Award to Rose Tederous in recognition of Rose’s lifelong dedication to empowering youth and supporting peacemaking projects including the Nonviolence Legacy Program and Youth & Peace Conference.
Dennis Embry presenting the 2019 Dennis D. Embry Peace Award to Beki Quintero, Co-Founder of the Youth & Peace Conference.
Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)
The Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) operates as a nonprofit umbrella for various affiliated and fiscally sponsored groups that work to build peace, empower youth, and create a cultural shift towards compassion, nonviolence, civility, and sustainability in Tucson and beyond. COPA provides 501(c)(3) coverage for these groups to build the synergy of working cooperatively with other organizations. The mission of COPA is to promote peace, justice, and sustainability by creating and supporting peace-inspired projects and events that model cooperative decision-making, alliance building, resource sharing, youth leadership, and the use of nonviolent strategies.
The Youth & Peace Conference is one of several programs affiliated with COPA. Each year COPA assumes responsibility for convening the Youth Leadership Team and Adult Logistics Team to collaboratively organize that year’s conference. For more information about COPA, contact YPC Coordinator Ann Yellott (520-991-6781; firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to the COPA website (www.cultureofpeacealliance.org).