Digital Youth Peacebuilders Network (Digital YPN) is an emerging network of youth mobilized as leaders in the effort to create a global culture of peace in all social spaces, online and offline.
Peace building as a digital literacy?
Digital information technology allows all conflicts, regardless of where they originate, to be easily exposed, captured, and documented in digital format. It raises the reputational toll of conflict by making it more socially visible and subjects those involved in the conflict to a greater prospect of being judged negatively and by more people. The ability to make peace, to resolve and prevent conflicts—both online and offline—has become an indispensable literacy in order to effectively function and participate as a citizen in the digital age.
- To empower youth with the knowledge, worldviews, attitudes, and skills conducive to preventing conflict and violence, and bringing about the emergence of peace;
- To create a substantive dialogue about conflict prevention and peace amongst youth around the world;
- To position youth at the forefront of teaching other youth about conflict transformation, violence prevention, and peace; and
- To create a global network of youth peacebuilders.
Digital YPN trains youth in the understanding that in order to create peace they must:
- have a vision of what peace is and its requirements in the digital information age;
- be able to make decisions that are conducive to the emergence of peace in a peaceful manner; and
- undertake actions that are conducive to peace.
In 2004, a group of motivated, socially conscientious and committed young people from diverse backgrounds and communities formed the Youth Peacebuilders Network (YPN) to engage their peers in exploring the fundamental ideas, worldviews and actions that characterize a culture of peace. Since that beginning, some of the activities YPN groups have undertaken include the following:
- Five students from two different YPN groups conducted workshops at five schools (high schools and middle schools) in Vancouver, British Columbia. The workshops were approximately 80 minutes long, and about 300 students attended them. The YPN groups also spoke at a community forum of 200 parents, students, and administrators about proactive approaches to conflict resolution within schools.
- Two students designed a 70 minute workshop challenging their peers to think about the causes of and responses to bullying. They traveled to the Canadian Arctic to perform the workshop for 8 classes (250 students);
- Three students designed a 45 minute drama-based workshop on worldviews and their relationship to conflict and traveled to British Columbia, Canada and performed four workshops for student groups; and
- Twelve students designed a 60-minute workshop to perform in their school, and other neighbourhood settings.
Digital YPN extends the focus of YPN activities to include peacebuilding in online settings. This is especially important to youth, who spend a significant amount of time online and are sometimes referred to as “digital natives.”