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Selection Criteria

Who We're Looking For

The Peace First Prize celebrates peacemakers who have taken action to address injustice in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. Peacemaking demands compassion (understanding other people), courage (taking risks to help others) and collaborative change (engaging others) to create justice, fairness, and peace where it didn't exist before.

We're looking for young people and peacemaking projects that meet the following selection criteria:

Criteria Definitions


What does this look like?



Recognizing Injustice: Noticing when something is wrong or unfair, and being compelled to act

  "I notice something that's not right and I want to fix it."

Empathy: Valuing and seeking to understand others' feelings, experiences, and perspectives

  "I see someone else's suffering and I feel the need to help."

Valuing Others: Connecting with people of different backgrounds or ideas, and believing in the worth and dignity of others

  "I respect and work to understand people who are different from me."



Taking a Stand: Making a personal commitment to take action to make something better

  "I believe that I can, and should, make a difference."

Taking Risks: Taking action for the greater good even in the face of difficult choices or consequences

  "I take action, even if I'm afraid of what else might happen."
Persevering: Overcoming challenges, obstacles or hardships to make a change   "I stick with it even when things get really hard."


Collaborative Change


Engaging and Inspiring Others: Motivating others to partner with you to improve and strengthen your impact

  "I need others to make change possible, and can move them to action."
Making a Lasting Impact: Creating positive, noticeable, and enduring change   "I know my project has made a lasting difference because I can see it and others see it too."


Citizens or legal residents of the United States and Territories who are between the ages of 8 and 22 years old (as of January 1, 2015) are eligible to apply for the Peace First Prize. All projects must have taken place in the United States. Family members of Peace First staff and board members are not eligible.

Read 1012230 times Last modified on Monday, 30 March 2015 19:29

2015 peace first prize winners


brennan projectBrennan Lewis, 18, Apex, NC

Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.


grace projectGrace Callwood, 10, Abingdon, MD

Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.


jasmine projectJasmine Babers, 19, Rock Island, IL

After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.


xiuhtezcatl project 2Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, Boulder, CO

Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.


yasminearringtonactionphototwoYasmine Arrington, 22, Washington D.C.

2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.