Seeds of Peace

Semester: 2014 Fall

Students: Ariel Eckblad and Sam Straus

Seeds of Peace (SoP) is a non‐profit organization that inspires and equips young leaders from regions and communities of conflict with the relationships, critical understanding, and skills needed to create positive change and advance lasting peace.

SoP adapted its international work to launch domestic programming focused on addressing inter‐communal tensions between rapidly evolving racial and ethnic groups in Maine and Syracuse, NY. Working with schools in both states, the SoP initiatives empower high‐potential youth with the relationships, knowledge, skills, and influence needed to effectively and meaningfully bridge divides between communities and work to positively transform schools and communities. Despite all their hard work, Seeds are struggling to implement their desired change in schools and communities as a result of disengaged and disinterested peers, resistant administrations and officials, and deeply entrenched cultural and social norms.

The focus of this 4th project with HNMCP is to help deepen the impact Seeds are currently having. By training 30‐40 Maine and Syracuse Junior Seeds in mediation, communication, and negotiation, HNMCP will empower and equip them to better leverage their influence, activate their leadership, continue their self‐learning and reflection, and harness the power of their own identities and relationships in their work to transform their communities.

The project proposal includes, but may not be limited to, the following activities:

  • Review of survey data for Maine and Syracuse Seeds program;
  • Researching and adapting mediation techniques to build a basic curriculum that is inclusive of skill‐building techniques, social justice theory, and community building and development for high school youth (aged 16–18);
  • Delivery of curriculum to 30–40 Maine and Syracuse Junior Seeds over the course of a two or three day workshop in December;
  • Consulting with Seeds of Peace alumni, staff, and other community members and practitioners to shape the curriculum to the needs and interests of youth from conflicting and diverse communities;
  • Conducting interviews with key stakeholders in Maine and Syracuse (educators, seeds, and community leaders).

The following deliverable(s) are envisioned:

  • Creation of basic training curriculum and instructional guide on delivery to be replicated and repeated by Seeds of Peace staff in future programs and years;
  • Community Assessment report based on the findings of the interviews on the primary issues in Syracuse and Maine schools, which will help to identify leverage points for our Seeds and missed networking and community‐building opportunities.

Seeds Final Presentation 2 - lo res Seeds_photo

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