The Generation Change Fellows Program strengthens youth leaders’ peacebuilding skills while creating a community of practice. Through this community, youth leaders can learn from each other, mentor each other and share best practices, as they work to create positive change in their communities.
USIP and CRCC designed the Generation Change Fellows Program to counter the isolation felt by youth leaders and to increase their personal resilience as they work for social change in conflict-affected environments. GCFP provides a family-like community of practice that forefronts relationships built on trust. The program strengthens participants’ knowledge and skills through training and mentorship, and by partnering with fellows in youth-led, community-based peacebuilding initiatives.
GCFP carefully selects small cohorts of dedicated peacebuilders aged 18-35 through a highly competitive application process. Tackling some of the world’s most difficult challenges—from countering violent extremism to enhancing gender equality—these fellows hold leadership roles within their local communities. The program is currently active in Africa (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria), the Middle East (Jordan and Yemen) and Latin America (Colombia).
Upon completion of the first training, fellows can apply to the “training-of-trainers” program, in which they learn how to deliver and implement the GCFP curriculum. Fellows then practice their facilitation skills by co-training the next cohort of Generation Change fellows. Fellows are also granted access to USIP’s Global Campus and join an online community of their peers, who offer technical support, advice and mentorship.
“The beauty of the Generation Change Program is … a community-driven concept where we are connected with others, who inspire us in situations where you feel you’re easily burnt out. But you’re… reenergized by your colleagues in the different parts of the country.”
— Generation Change Fellow
- Prejudice Awareness and Reduction Skills
Reflecting on their identities and interactions with groups who differ from them, sharing personal experiences as “other” and “otherer,” and examining strategies for confronting prejudice and discrimination within themselves and in their communities.
- Conflict Management Skills
Developing the core conflict management skills of active listening, relationship building, negotiation, mediation and dialogue and working cooperatively to find mutually agreeable solutions among parties.
- Leadership Development Skills
Providing emerging leaders with practical skills in communication, leadership presence and story-telling to help them articulate their vision and mission more effectively and create healthier, more stable organizations.
- A Dynamic Community of Civic Leaders
Creating lasting relationships built on trust so that Fellows are able to turn to one another for advice and assistance both digitally and in person.
In 2015 USIP’s Planning, Learning, and Evaluation Team conducted an internal program review of “Phase 1” of the Generation Change Fellows Program. The primary purpose of the review was to determine the program’s effectiveness, the extent to which it met its objectives, and to learn lessons that will inform future extensions or iterations of the program.
In 2016, USIP’s Academy and USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize the implementation partnership of the Generation Change Fellows Program.
CRCC is a research and training center at the University of Southern California that explores how religions change and make change in Southern California and across the globe. Click here to read about CRCC.
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent national institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security. Click here to read about USIP.