Founded in Jerusalem in 2002, KIDS4PEACE is a global movement of youth and families, dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in divided societies around the world.
Kids4Peace operates international summer camps, leadership programs and a six-year, year-round program for more than 500 Palestinian, Israeli and North American youth.
- Kids4Peace connects children and families across the lines that separate us. We are a grassroots, community-based organization, representing a wide diversity of religions, cultures, national identities, economic status and political point of view.
- Kids4Peace nurtures long-term relationships among youth and families. We break down stereotypes and foster supportive, mature friendships rooted in spiritual values of equality and respect.
- Kids4Peace facilitates honest dialogue about different historical narratives and current realities. We invite youth to listen to each other, to proudly share their own identities, and to hear painful and unfamiliar stories in a respectful environment.
- Kids4Peace prepares youth to be public leaders. We equip them with skills and practices to resist violence, influence others toward peace, and work together for lasting change.
- Kids4Peace spreads the message that “Together, Peace is Possible.” We are ambassadors of hope who challenge cynical voices and commit to creating a better future.
We are trying to change the conversation — to bring new questions, and new answers to the struggle for peace, ones that are based in real relationships of trust and understanding.
Where do you work?
In Jerusalem, we work with all parts of East and West Jerusalem, especially the poorest neighborhoods and places most affected by the conflict. We also involve youth, families and staff from Palestinian communities in neighboring areas of the West Bank, including Ramallah, Bethlehem, Qalandiya and Hebron. We are committed to face-to-face meetings, which take place in Jerusalem. In North America, we have local chapters in Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Toronto, and communities in New Hampshire, Vermont and North Carolina.
How are you structured?
Kids4Peace International, Inc is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered in the United States, with a branch office in Jerusalem and local chapters across North America. Our board of directors and staff are composed of women and men; Jews, Christians and Muslims; Israelis, Palestinians and North Americans. At all levels, we work together as a single organization. We are committed to equality and collaboration across differences in religion, culture and geography.
Is Kids4Peace political?
Kids4Peace is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization and does not take formal positions on political issues. We are engaged in the public arena, with a commitment to rejecting violence in all its forms, challenging an unjust and unsustainable status quo, and working together for long-term solutions.
What do you mean by interfaith?
Kids4Peace invites youth to share their beliefs and traditions, as practiced by their families, and to learn from others. Participants in Kids4Peace approach Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other traditions in very different ways, and our staff are committed to supporting youth in their own practice. We do not permit proselytizing or any attempts to influence a child’s religious practice. We do hope that participants in Kids4Peace gain a detailed understanding of different religious traditions, including the diversity of practice within their own.
Is religious observance required?
No, Kids4Peace is open to all youth regardless of religious background. During the program, participants learn about the beliefs and practices of multiple traditions, in order to foster understanding, challenge stereotypes, and develop appreciation for shared values. Participation in prayer or religious activities is not required as a condition of involvement, though youth will have opportunities to visit houses of worship and see the rituals and practices of different faiths.
How are you funded?
Kids4Peace relies on a large network of individuals, congregations, community groups and private foundations for financial support. Our annual budget of $850,000 comes primarily from gifts of $500 – $5,000. We are a fully independent NGO, and not part of any religious organization. Kids4Peace maintains a scholarship fund, so that no child is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.
Is Kids4Peace part of the Episcopal Church?
Kids4Peace was founded in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, by leaders at St. George’s College and the St. George’s Cathedral Pastorate Committee. The current Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, was a staff member of the first Kids4Peace camp in Houston.
Currently, Kids4Peace is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, not under the auspices of any church or religious organization. Our board, staff, and educators come from many religious and cultural backgrounds organization. Members of the Episcopal Church are among Kids4Peace’s strongest supporters, with more than a dozen cathedrals and congregations actively involved.