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New Partnership Engages Next Generation:

Building Peace through Diplomacy

Presidents of the American

Foreign Service Associa-

tion and the United States

Institute of Peace—Ambas-

sador Barbara Stephenson

and Nancy Lindborg—agree:

American youth must be

educated on the importance

of building peace around the

world through diplomacy.

Why? Nonviolent resolu-

tions are far less costly in

human and financial terms,

and today’s global challenges

require the creative thinking

and active engagement of

the next generation.

In that spirit, the leaders of

both organizations gathered

on Sept. 30 at USIP head-

quarters inWashington, D.C.,

to launch a new partnership:

USIP’s co-sponsorship of the

AFSA National High School

Essay Contest, with amplified

reach and content reflective

of today’s global challenges.

AFSA’s National High

School Essay Contest, estab-

lished in 1999 to encourage

appreciation for diplomacy’s

role in advancing economic

prosperity and national

security, is among the asso-

ciation’s principal outreach

tools to young people whose

parents are not in the Foreign

Service. USIP retired its

own flagship National Peace

Essay Contest in 2014, after

a 27-year run, to focus on

further developing its other

initiatives targeting high

school students and teach-

ers through the educational

programs and resources of its

Global Peacebuilding Center



The AFSA-USIP partner-

ship is thus a natural one, as

both organizations’ missions

are focused on U.S. engage-

ment in building a more

peaceful and stable world. In

addition to the conflict resolu-

tion work it does around the

globe, USIP provides analy-

sis, education and unique

resources for those working

for peace. AFSA promotes a

better understanding of how

the Foreign Service is well

placed to foster peace.

Speaking at the launch,

USIP President Lindborg said:

“This new USIP-AFSA partner-

ship highlights the important

relationship between diplo-

macy and peacebuilding. It

will challenge and encourage

students to think critically

about why it is so important

that the U.S. government

engages globally and with

partners to tackle the con-

flicts that dominate today’s

headlines, as well as those of


Amb. Stephenson, too,

was enthusiastic about the

partnership’s potential:

“The American public needs

to understand the Foreign

Service’s role in building

peace to end wars. This

initiative can propel that

understanding forward.” She

added, “Our goal is to get the

entire country, including our

policymakers, thinking about

how to not just end wars, but

how diplomacy can help avert

them in the first place.”

Through this alliance, USIP

has joined the distinguished

list of contest co-sponsors,

including Semester at Sea

and the National Student

Leadership Conference.

USIP’s influence is reflected

in the 2016 essay contest

title: “Building Peace through


Entrants are asked to

imagine themselves as a

member of the Foreign Ser-

vice assigned to a functional

bureau within the Department

of State or the U.S. Agency

for International Develop-

ment. The essay should offer

a peacebuilding solution to

a particular conflict or crisis

that threatens U.S. interests

abroad. The submission dead-

line is March 15, 2016.

The winner will receive

a $2,500 cash prize, an

all-expense-paid trip to

Washington, D.C., to meet the

Secretary of State and tour

USIP, and a full-tuition-paid

voyage with Semester at Sea

upon the student’s enrollment

at an accredited university.

The runner-up will receive a

$1,250 cash prize and a full

scholarship to participate in

the International Diplomacy

Program of the National Stu-

dent Leadership Conference.

To learn more about the

2016 National High School

Essay Contest, visit www.afsa. org/essaycontest or contact

Foreign Service Profession

Awards Coordinator Perri

Green at


For additional information on

USIP, visit



—Maria C. Livingston,

Associate Editor

USIP President Nancy Lindborg (left) and AFSA President Ambassador

Barbara Stephenson celebrate the launch of the AFSA-USIP cosponsorship of

the 2016 AFSANational Essay Contest.