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Highlights from the 2022 Youth & Peace Conference
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For the first time in three years, the 11th Annual Youth & Peace Conference was hosted in-person at the Pima Community College West Campus. On Friday, October 28, 2022, 91 students and 17 adult chaperones from 11 southern Arizona schools gathered to participate in the event. This year's conference titled "Cultivating a Nourishing Relationship with the Inner You" focused on three key themes: mental health and well-being, self-care, and the impact of social media/cultural messaging on mental health. MCed by Youth Leaders Andrea and Naomi, the conference program included an opening keynote, a resource fair, dynamic workshops, facilitated Dialogue Circles, and the presentation of the Dennis D. Embry Peace Award. Read more details about the 11th Annual Youth & Peace Conference in the 2022 Report.

Highlights from the 2021 Youth & Peace Conference
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The 10th Annual Youth & Peace Conference was hosted on Friday, November 19, 2021, from 8:00AM to 1:00PM. Youth Leaders, Mazzy and Elayna, were this year's MCs. More than 130 youth and adults from schools and community programs throughout southern Arizona and beyond gathered virtually to participate in the event. The conference program included an opening ceremony featuring a history of the Youth & Peace Conference and an art montage by youth artists; eight dynamic workshops relating to this year's conference themes of mental health, racial equity, and youth voice in education systems; 13 Dialogue Circles; the presentation of the Dennis D. Embry Peace Award; and a closing ceremony. The videos below offer a snapshot of the event.

Read the full Documentation Report for the 10th Annual Youth & Peace Conference

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Opening Ceremony

An outline of the 10th Annual Youth & Peace Conference Opening Ceremony. 

00:00    Welcome

08:25    Meet the Youth Team

15:10    Youth & Peace Conference History 

27:06    Esperanza Dance Project video

30:10    Art Montage 

39:45    Meditation

Dialogue Circle Share Out

Dialogue Circles were hosted and facilitated by the Center for Community Dialogue & Training, a program of Our Family Services. Skilled community volunteers facilitated thirteen virtual dialogue circles through Zoom. Using a talking piece, participants spoke one by one in a safe, respectful format that encouraged thoughtful exploration of experiences and values. Ten youth circles and three adult circles all engaged in conversation with six rounds and a report out with this year's theme "Fostering Equitable Education by Prioritizing Safe & Diverse Dialogue."

Highlights from the 2020 Youth & Peace Conference

Centering Women of Color

The 2020 Youth Leadership Team filmed interviews with women they chose to exemplify their Mission Statement: "Our mission is to educate our peers in “Cultivating Safer Communities by Centering Women of Color”, as we recognize that when women of color are safe, specifically Black, Indigenous, and trans women, all women are safe. Our hope is to plant a seed for a healthier and safer community for all by offering workshops that unpack systemic and domestic violence, as well as violent ideologies like toxic masculinity, sexism, racism, colorism, and more, and promote healthy social environments and healing. Our growth as a community depends on our willingness to unlearn, learn, and allow ourselves to abolish roots of violence within ourselves and our communities. Ultimately, by centering the safety, health, and happiness of women of color, we begin cultivating peace for all."

Guest Speakers

The 2020 YPC Youth Team also selected two guest speakers for the Opening Ceremony:  Lucero Ramirez (Pueblo High School Teacher – see video on left side below) and Sadie Shaw (running for and now elected to the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board – see video on right side below). Please watch these two videos to hear the powerful messages each speaker shared to inspire today’s youth.

Lucero Ramirez

Sadie Shaw

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