(Washington) – Culminating a three-day educational program at its headquarters, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) named the three national winners of the National Peace Essay Contest. Over 1,000 students submitted their essays in response to this year's question on security sector reform, political transition, and sustainable peace. Anna Cole of Colorado earned first place and a $10,000 scholarship; Sun Woo Lee, of New Hampshire earned second place and a $5,000 scholarship; and Hanya Qureshi of Arkansas earned third place and a $2,500 scholarship.
The National Peace Essay Contest challenges students to think about the important issues at the core of USIP's mission to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts around the world. The 2013-2014 contest challenged students to examine the role of security sector reform in countries in transition from war to peace.. In addition to the three national winners, 46 state level winners were each recognized with a $1,000 scholarship.
Joseph Eldridge, a member of the Institute's board of directors with more than 25 years' experience as an advocate and analyst on international human rights and humanitarian issues, presented the national awards stating:
"You have all analyzed very well the complexities of the issue and obtained considerable command of the material. Your devotion to the task gives me hope that your generation will do a far better job of finding pathways to successful police and security sector reform after violent conflict than our generation has done.
The world needs your insights and energy – thank you for inspiring us with your serious reflections about what can be done to make this a more secure, peaceful and justice seeking planet."
Engaging young people – the next generation of leaders – is a key part of the Institute's mission. With programs like the Essay Contest, on-site educational programs, buildingpeace.org, and the Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators, the Institute's Global Peacebuilding Center works to empower young people with the skills needed to become engaged global citizens who understand the connections between their lives and the lives of people around the world.
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict through nonviolent means. USIP works to save lives, increase the government's ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit www.usip.org.