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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-118
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeJuly 8, 1999


U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the creation of the Peacemaker Corps - a new youth education program designed to foster cultural and racial tolerance among high school students.

The announcement came as President Clinton visited Los Angeles on the fourth and final day of his New Markets Tour of six urban and rural communities where unemployment is too high and jobs are too scarce. Corporate and governmental leaders joined the President on the tour, during which he announced new initiatives to bring economic opportunities to places left behind.

The Peacemaker Corps is a joint initiative sponsored by HUD, the Simon Youth Foundation and the Friends of the United Nations. It will teach teen-agers how to understand and deal with cultural and racial differences, how to manage aggression, and positive alternatives to violence. HUD will provide $1 million in funding for the program, and the Simon Youth Foundation will provide facilities, materials and food worth $700,000.

Ten cities are targeted for the initial two-day Peacemaker Corps sessions this autumn. They are: Denver, CO; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; Kansas City, MO; Dallas, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; Seattle, WA; and Youngstown, OH.

"Senseless acts of violence and hatred by young people are a tragedy for everyone involved and for all Americans," Cuomo said. "We need programs like the Peacemaker Corps to teach young people racial and cultural tolerance, and to show them how to resolve disagreements without violence."

The Simon Youth Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established by Simon Property Group, the nation's largest mall owner and operator.

Arny Bereson, Executive Director of the Simon Youth Foundation, said: "Our partners in this initiative are committed to providing meaningful learning experiences to young people that give them the tools they need to understand diversity and work towards creating and maintaining a culture of tolerance. By hosting the Peacemaker Corps, we achieve our goal of providing today's youth with educational and career development skills, as well as programs that speak to tolerance and social understanding."

Carole Sumner Krechman, Chairman of the Board of Friends of the United Nations, said: "The United Nations General Assembly has declared that it will focus on 'creating a culture of peace' throughout the first decade of the new millennium. By offering the Peacemaker Corps to teen-agers across the U.S., we can work to build a generation that understands diversity and tolerance."

The Peacemaker Corps program consists of two workshops where groups of 25 to 30 teen-agers will meet, interact and learn ways to live and work together. The Simon Youth Foundation will provide facilities for the program at malls owned by the Simon Property Group around the country.

At each of the Peacemaker Corps training sessions, facilitators and councilors trained in conflict resolution will teach those skills to groups of young people from local high schools. A diverse groups of students from different racial and ethnic groups, including some living in public housing developments, will attend the sessions.

The program encourages young people to find peaceful means to resolve conflicts that arise at school, at home and at other group encounters. Participants in this educational program will be selected based on their interest in learning dispute resolution skills and teaching those skills to their friends and peers.

The sessions will follow the format of a town meeting, consisting of a discussion of conflict resolution led by experienced youth facilitators. Participants will also attend a course where they will learn the basic skills of conflict resolution and peer mentoring. Participants will gain an understanding of the importance of following a culture of tolerance and how to relay that information to their peers so they can work to use positive alternatives to address conflict.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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