CTP Youth Peace Camp students on their way to implement a community service project.

Julia Lisi, Derrick Murekezi, Ian Manzi – Critical Thinking for P.E.A.C.E Youth Peace Camp

The Critical Thinking for P.E.A.C.E (CTP) Youth Peace Camp is a program which brings high school students across Rwanda together for a week-long program to learn in depth the history of Rwanda with a special focus on the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi. During this period, workshops are taught by experienced teachers of Rwandan history, peace building, and conflict resolution skills and students also have the opportunity to interact with the various experts and researchers in a discussion setting.

The purpose of these sessions is to empower students to define their place in their country and community’s narrative, cultivate a stake in the process of sustainability, and be active participants in the dialogue. Our partner organizations also provide us with educational materials such as books, documentaries, and peace education curricula to strengthen the content of the camp. Additionally, students are trained in Model UN, an academic assimilation of the general assembly of the United Nations, to leverage on the critical thinking skills in an argument for consensus format. Towards the end of the program, students design and implement a community service project in the neighboring Rubona District, based on information gathered from the district’s citizens themselves. We teach the youth to take responsibility for the development of their country by working with those in disadvantaged communities to address their needs using critical thinking to create a sustainable solution.

Our mission at CTP is to cultivate and empower the next generation of proactive citizens and peace builders. We aim to teach these future leaders how to employ critical thinking and compassion to solve some of the most pressing challenges in both their personal lives and communities. At the end of the program, we encourage our students to take what they have learned back to their communities and implement initiatives that work to address hindrances to social cohesion. In this way, nearly 1,000 young people across Rwanda have already been impacted by our peace education training.