Many young people can barely imagine peace in their own lives, let alone in their world. Thanks to a unique and astonishing organization founded by a team of Landmark Forum graduates, these young people get the opportunity to transform themselves and cause peace in the world. The organization is Where Peace Lives, founded by New Jersey natives Jeff and Donna Clapp and Jeff Rudy. The group facilitates young people in the creation of ‘Peace Murals’ which are exchanged with a peace mural created by other young people in a different part of the world. Additionally, there are opportunities for communication and dialogue with the other school.

Last year, Where Peace Lives had an opportunity to be a guest presenter at the United Nations in conjunction with the Ghandhi/King season of nonviolence youth conference. Students from New Jersey schools who were involved in mural exchanges had an opportunity to share their murals and share what it was like working on the project. One student from the Wall, New Jersey Communications High School had a moving take on how the project had changed his life:

“We’re just as greedy, selfish, ignorant and pugnacious as all the countless generations before us. What could we possibly change?”

“Then I started working on the mural. During the brainstorming process I had the privilege of hearing what my peers had to say concerning the sate of the world, and how they thought the world should be. Hearing the relentless optimism of my fellow students gave me a new perspective.”

“Our mural depicts the world as we see it, and the world as we feel it should be. It’s a project that we as humanity are continuously working to paint. As the future scientists, educators, architects, artists and politicians, we the youth add a little more to that canvas every day.”

“My parents told me that my generation was going to fix the world. Before this I didn’t believe it, but I think I can call myself an optimist again, and can safely say that I’m looking with great expectation toward the future that my peers and I are going to create.”
real in the world.

“None of us are teachers ourselves,” says Jeff Clapp, who is the
The organization reached out to many people to make its mission Program Director for Where Peace Lives, “so we enlisted the support of guidance counselors, art teachers, principals, and other experts to support us in creating a viable and intelligent art based curriculum that could be used in schools and after school programs, could support teachers in meeting curriculum standards in the arts, and be universal enough that our activities could be used anywhere in the world without problems. Our combined training and development in Landmark Education and transformation has made a real difference in how we operate and structure our organization. The foundation of Where Peace Lives is integrity.”

Founded in 2006, the organization is now flourishing. New murals are in formulation at schools all over the world, including, Africa, Central America and the middle East. They have reached preliminary agreements with 50 new schools and organizations worldwide, including one of the largest mosques in the Northeastern United States with over 6,000 member families.
The program is growing rapidly overseas, with new murals being created by two schools in Ghana, Africa, and two schools in Costa Rica. Where Peace Lives has a memorandum of understanding with a youth organization in Jericho, Palestine, along with 50 other organizations and schools worldwide. They are also working with the Islamic Center of Paterson, the largest mosque in New Jersey with over 6,000 families.

Author's Bio: 

A writer and editor by trade, True enjoys writing stories of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference in the world.