Earlier this month, I participated in Make Our World 2000, a joining of minds between international youth peace activists. The event was held at a scenic retreat center just outside of Malibu, California. A group of remarkable, concerned southern California residents — and activists in their own right — convened the event and enlisted the assistance of the Global Youth Action Network to encourage young activists to attend, facilitate discussion, and develop a plan of action.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

                                                                   -Margaret Mead

Much was accomplished in the few days we spent together, and a number of larger themes surfaced. We spent valuable time getting to know one another, summarizing our purpose for heeding the call to attend, sharing meals, and hiking together in the Malibu hills. We brainstormed on how we could combine forces, better support one another, and create an international youth platform addressing and linking multiple social justice issues. We recognized the accomplishments of previous meetings with similar goals, yet seized the moment at hand to synthesize, organize, and contribute our individual and collective energies to the youth movement.

Diversity is a cornerstone in building this movement! Unfortunately, a number of our allies experienced difficulties in securing the proper approval and means to attend the event. Their presence was sorely missed! In their absence, the group acknowledged a relationship between structural, global, macro-level injustice and individual, micro-level suffering.[1] As a means to find solutions to identify and act on solutions to end such suffering, the group recommitted itself to having a greater representation of indigenous peoples, people of African descent, and people of Asian descent at our next gathering, tentatively scheduled for June 2001.

The facilitators and the group as a whole created and maintained a comfortable and flexible environment that allowed for changes to the agenda. One such change and subsequent discussion validated the point that often times activists work in isolation and/or lack adequate mentorship and support. Knowing this, all individuals working for a sane and safe world must better support one another, expand our network, and use new technologies to reinforce the sense of community.

[Together we can be] 1,000 candles burning as bright as the sun.

-Jimmy Hurrell

I will spare you the specifics on the proposed projects out of respect for group members as we continue to discuss appropriate action steps and with the realization that Make Our World 2000 was just one very important step out of many more to come. Please check back with us soon at https://www.wagingpeace.org for an update on Foundation efforts to develop a network of other youth organizations around the world working on issues complimentary to our own. Don’t worry. You won’t have to wait long!


[1] Jonathan White, a sociology professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, visited the Foundation in November 2000 and discussed one example of such injustice – hunger – with area high school and college students.