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Global Youth Peace Summit
The 8th Annual Austin Global Youth Peace Summit (August 9th–15th, 2014) will unite American, refugee, immigrant and international youth (ages 14-18) for a week-long youth summit devoted to healing, personal growth, cultural exchange, community building, and leadership development.
Uniting 70 youth from over 25 different countries, the Summit is a place where cultural, religious and personal differences are respected and celebrated and our humanity is acknowledged as the thread that unites us all. The Summit offers young people, sometimes for the first time in their lives, a direct experience of what it means to live in unity and peace, free from fear and violence.
The Summit will take place right outside Austin in Wimberely, TX at John Knox Ranch – 1661 John Knox Rd., Fischer, TX 78623.
The Summit is a place for healing. Many of the youth who attend have experienced extreme poverty, religious persecution, child labor, gang violence, abuse and neglect; some have witnessed the atrocities of war and have literally run for their lives; many have been uprooted from their native cultures and struggle to integrate into an entirely foreign world.
All of the youth who attend are given a space to completely be themselves, a space to heal, a space to share their stories, a space to be heard, a space to be celebrated and a space to be empowered. Through the Summit, the youth come to realize that sustainable peace begins within, recognizing that in order to create peace in the world they must first find peace within their own hearts.
One of the sponsors of this past year’s Summit was Shanti Foundation for Intercultural Understanding. The Shanti Foundation’s mission is to build bridges and foster respect and mutual understanding between cultures. We are grateful for their continued support and sponsorship of this year’s Summit.
Interested In Attending The Summit?
Interested in attending the 8th annual Austin Global Youth Peace Summit (August 9th-15th, 2014)? CLICK HERE to register or for more information on next Summer’s Summit.
The Global Youth Peace Summit challenges and inspires youth to honor differences, explore commonalities and create One Village united by values of love, respect, honesty, community and service. The Summit serves as a space where people from all walks of life can connect with each other on a human-to-human level, celebrate unity in diversity, and share in a living experience of peace.
Activities and discussions provide the youth with tools for conflict-resolution, heart-centered communication, compassionate response, and peace-focused leadership. It is through this sharing that the youth create friendships that broaden their global awareness and ignite their innate capacity for compassion. The youth are encouraged to put their compassion into action and rise up in service to those who need it most. The Global Youth Peace Summit empowers youth: they return to their homes, schools and communities as Leaders For Peace, planting the seeds for global healing and sustainable peace.
The Global Youth Peace Summit, which marks the beginning of the year-long One Village Project, started out as a grassroots, four-day project with 30 youth and 20 volunteers in 2007 and has now grown into an internationally recognized program hosting 70 youth from over 25 different countries that is supported by 150+ volunteers and dozens of local businesses. While most of the refugee and immigrant youth we serve now live in Austin, each year, international delegates from countries like Colombia, Uganda, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Israel and Palestine travel to the U.S. for the first time to be a part of the Global Youth Peace Summit, and return home as Peace Leaders sharing the message of unity and compassion with the people of their country.
Past Global Youth Peace Summits have hosted youth from the following countries:
Interested In Attending This Year’s Global Youth Peace Summit In Austin?
CLICK HERE for youth applications, volunteer applications, fundraising options, directions and more.
Meet Evelyn Apoko, Peace Leader
Evelyn Apoko is a Ugandan youth who at the age of 9 was kidnapped from her family at gunpoint by a warlord of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and forced to join this brutal rebel group. The children abducted by the LRA were beaten, forced to kill, treated as pack mules, made to steal, sexually abused and treated as slaves. Evelyn learned to live with the rebels because there was no way of escape.
The atrocities Evelyn witnessed were unspeakable. One day, while Evelyn was washing clothes for one of the rebel leaders’ wives, a plane flew overhead. People started running and Evelyn was threatened to carry an impossibly heavy load and run or else be killed. While running, a bomb dropped next to Evelyn, killing the woman and baby next to her and blowing out part of Evelyn’s face.
Later, when the plane had passed and Evelyn was lying in the field, the rebels came to carry the wounded back to camp. So badly injured, they left Evelyn to die in the grass. Evelyn managed to survive that field and get back to the rebel camp – only to be ostracized for the infected hole in her face. On the brink of being killed for being a nuisance to the rebels, Evelyn escaped and just barely made it out alive.
Today, she has undergone several surgeries as a beneficiary of Strongheart’s Next Right Thing program. She was introduced to The Amala Foundation by Strongheart Fellowship and in 2010 attended the Global Youth Peace Summit. The last three years, she served as a youth counselor, making a huge impact on the hearts and minds of those that attended the Summit. Evelyn also attended every year of our One Village Walk inside San Quentin State Prison since its inception in 2011. In January 2014, Evelyn will travel with Amala staff to Kenya to begin organizing the 2015 Kenya Global Youth Peace Summit.
“I grew up in a world of bloodshed, fear and tears. The GYPS was a place where I was honored for being a whole human being. I was embraced with a deep love… a love that I never knew existed.. a love that I know if more people in the world felt for each other – we’d have no more war.” – Evelyn Apoko, age 19, Former Abducted Child Soldier
UPDATE ON EVELYN: Evelyn Apoko is a leader for peace! Our beloved Evelyn was featured in a CNN story due to her courageous efforts in bringing awareness to the plight of child soldiers in Uganda. You can view the story here.
Last year, Evelyn wrote a personal letter to leaders in Congress asking that a resolution on the LRA before Congress be amended. She specifically requested that Members of Congress add a provision to the resolution calling for increased precautions to be taken to avoid endangering children within the LRA during military operations. When the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to pass the resolution, they also accepted Evelyn’s suggestion and adopted her amendment.
We’re so proud of Evelyn and are grateful to be a witness to her journey. Her love and courage are making a big impact on this world.
At a time when the world seems increasingly violent and polarized along the lines of faith, nationality and political belief, there is a need for people, especially youth, to connect to each other and the world around them on a deeper, more compassionate level.
The Global Youth Peace Summit addresses this need by uniting the diverse youth of the world so that a foundation of understanding, acceptance and compassion can be created, nurtured and shared by our next generation of global citizens and leaders. The Summit invites youth to become active participants in a global community, connecting and collaborating with peers from all over the world, opening doors of understanding, respect, and friendship between young people of all faiths, cultures and nationalities.
The Global Youth Peace Summit also addresses a need by serving a largely overlooked and growing population of refugee youth in Austin. Many programs and resources exist to assist refugee families, specifically adults, but very few programs exist that assist refugee youth and offer them an opportunity to heal as well as provide them with a support structure as they adjust to life in a new country.
The Amala Foundation currently partners with several organizations, agencies, and schools to both identify potential youth for the Global Youth Peace Summit as well as co-create and facilitate Global Youth Peace Summit and One Village Project programs and offerings.
In addition to these agencies, we invite organizations, community groups and mentors to meet with and inspire youth participants through workshops and special projects that supplement the core curriculum. Some past as well as ongoing partners include Urban Roots, Lower Colorado River Authority, Food Not Bombs, Keep Austin Beautiful, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, the ManKind Project, the Indigenous Peoples Institute, the Rochas Foundation of Nigeria, Common Vision and Eo-Rise.
The Amala Foundation is proud to partner with these peace-centered, social change organizations to offer a truly inspirational event.
- Urban Roots
- Refugee Services Of Texas
- Mutlicultural Refugee Coalition
- Shanti Foundation
- Center for Survivors of Torture
- Strongheart Fellowship
- Youth Advocacy
- Communities in Schools
- Posada Esperanza
- Rebekah’s Children, Latina Leadership Program
- Khabele School
- CTC International
- Champions For Children, San Quentin Prison
- Hilde Girls
- Common Vision
- Casa Marianella
- ManKind Project
- Department of Education in Colombia
- Rochas Foundation, Nigeria
- Bhatti Mines School, India
- Sulha Peace Project, Israel
Sponsor A Youth
The Amala Foundation provides scholarships to approximately 80% of the youth leaders that attend the Global Youth Peace Summit. Scholarships are provided by local businesses, congregations, associations and individuals like you. It costs $700 to sponsor a youth leader to attend the Global Youth Peace Summit.
Want To Volunteer?
At the Amala Foundation, we recognize that the most direct way to experience a fuller life is to serve others. We unite those seeking more meaningful lives with those in great need by channeling this into humanitarian service projects that matter like the Global Youth Peace Summit. If you wish to serve at next year’s Austin Global Youth Peace Summit, please fill out our volunteer form.
2014 Summit Volunteer Meeting Dates
Please plan on attending at least one of our upcoming Global Youth Peace Summit Volunteer Overview meetings: February 20th and/or March 20th at the Amala Foundation, 7:45p-8:45p.
All volunteers arrive on August 8th for a day-long orientation at John Knox Ranch.
Mandatory pre-Summit trainings will take place on July 5th-6th (overnight retreat), and August 2nd (full day orientation). If you have any scheduling conflicts, please let us know as soon as possible – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Amala Foundation hopes to plant seeds for sustainable peace worldwide by hosting Global Youth Peace Summits in communities across the globe. It is our hope that with increased funding and awareness, we will be able to serve those communities and cities that need it most. The Summer of 2013 will mark the first time that we will host a Global Youth Peace Summit outside of Central Texas; the 1st Annual Northern California Global Youth Peace Summit will take place in Pt. Reyes, CA from July 15th – 20th. For more information, please see below.
We are also in talks with organizations in Colombia, Israel and Kenya regarding hosting Summits in those particular countries. If you wish to help host a Global Youth Peace Summit in your community, please email us at email@example.com.
Global Youth Peace Summit News & Press
In early August 2011, Amala community members gathered at City Hall to receive a proclamation from the City of Austin and City Council Member Kathy Tovo stating that August 7th-13th would be recognized as Global Youth Peace Summit Week in Austin. The Austin American Statesman featured the proclamation in the following morning’s paper.
On August 4th, 2011, News 8 Austin, otherwise known as YNN, featured a story on the Amala Foundation and Global Youth Peace Summit. News 8 Austin was on hand when the City of Austin and City Council Member Kathy Tovo declared August 7th-13th Global Youth Peace Summit Week in Austin. If you haven’t had a chance to see the coverage, please check it out below.
We’ve also been featured in a whole host of other media outlets including an interview on KOOP radio, a feature in TODO Magazine, Origin Magazine and Natural Awakenings as well as a piece on KUT radio which you can listen to here. It’s powerful to have our voice heard in our community and be recognized for the work we are doing in Austin and around the world.
A Prayer For Peace
Greenheart Creative created an inspiring and moving video called “Prayer for Peace” featuring some of the volunteers and youth from our One Village Project and Global Youth Peace Summit. Hopefully, this video will give you sense the posture with which we serve and our approach to sustainable peace in this world. Thank you, Greenheart Creative, Jefe and Kelly.
ABOUT GREENHEART CREATIVE
Greenheart Creative offers interactive entertainment with an inspiring message. From stage hypnosis shows to meaningful media; roaming stilt walkers to support your cause or even creative-wear that helps you live out loud. Greenheart Creative is a dynamic conscious entertainment group passionate about making your festival, fundraiser, or event an extraordinary experience!
Interested In Attending This Year’s Global Youth Peace Summit in Austin?
CLICK HERE for youth applications, volunteer applications, fundraising options, directions and more.