Community of Practice (COP)
Youth in Peace and Security

We aim to explore and promote the role of youth in peacebuilding efforts by:

Expanding the evidence base (gathering and sharing field and academic knowledge) to demonstrate the complementary nature of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and peacebuilding efforts;

Disseminating actionable learning for implementers and policy makers to incorporate PYD into their programs targeting violence or conflict-affected youth populations.

What's New

Launch of new YouthPower Learning Brief: YouthPower Learning Brief: Promising Practices in Engaging Youth in Peace and Security and PVE/CVE


CLOSED: Call for grant applications ( RFA#003-2017) closed April 13, 2017. Grantees are expected to be announced in August, 2017.

Opportunity to participate in a Youth4Peace e-Consultation.


Our membership includes youth development practitioners, researchers, consultants and youth-serving or youth-led organizations dedicated to ensuring meaningful youth engagement in programming globally.

We welcome any members interested in keeping up with youth engagement efforts in areas such as: peacebuilding; unaccompanied minors; sex trafficking; democracy, human rights, and governance; and youth leadership.

Join Today!​​


  • Facilitate CoP members’ exchange of knowledge, experiences, and ideas to build a better understanding of which Positive Youth Development (PYD) programs are effective in violence or conflict-affected environments.
  • Contribute to the PYD indicator development and identify PYD indicators that can be used effectively in these environments.
  • Identify resilience factors that help youth-led or youth-serving organizations to successfully survive and thrive in these environments.
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How Members Can Engage and Contribute

  • Joining the webinars and conference calls
  • Commenting on draft papers and approaches
  • Contributing relevant resources to the YP website, blogs, case studies
  • Participating in a working group that is focused on a specific sub-topic or deliverable
  • Joining and shaping a new working group on PYD for Youth in Central America which is focusing on the ways in which PYD approaches can be applied in these countries, what specific challenges PYD approaches encounter in these countries, and how youth voices can be included when developing these approaches.


USAID. (2017). Promising Practices in Engaging Youth in Peace and Security and P/CVE

Rogan, J. (2016). Young People's Participation in Peacebuilding: A Practice Note.

United Nations. (2016). Employment Programmes and Peace: A Joint Statement on an Analytical Framework, Emerging Principles for Action and Next Steps.

Mercy Corps. (2016). Critical Choices: Assessing the Effects of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths’ Propensity Towards Violence.

Higginson, A., et. al. (2016) Youth gang violence and preventative measures in low- and middle-income countries A systematic review. 

Skalli, L. H., Thomas, M.A. (2015). What We Know about “What Works” in Youth Civic Engagement and Voice, Youth Organizations, Youth Leadership, and Civic Education.

Cameron, D.B., et. al. (2015) Evidence for Peacebuilding. An Evidence Gap Map.

McGill, M. and O'Caine, C. (2015). Evaluation of Child and Youth Participation in Peacebuilding. 

United Nations. (2015). United Nations Security Resolution on Youth, Peace, and Security (SCR 2250).

Olenik, C., et. al. (2013). State of the Field Report, Examining the Evidence in Youth Education in Crisis and Conflict.

OECD. (2011). Conflict and Fragility Reducing the Involvement of Youth in Armed Violence. 

Hammack, P. (2012). Putting the evidence in peace building. Monitor on Psychology, July/August 2012, Vol 43, No. 7. 

USAID. (2006). Illustrative Program Description – Youth Development in Fragile States Created by EQUIP3 / Youth Trust. 

USAID. (2005). Youth & Violence: A Toolkit for Intervention.

American Institutes for Research. (2016). Evaluation of the Transformative Potential of Positive Gender Socialization in Education for Peacebuilding.


Youth and Peacebuilding



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Dr. Jen Heeg, consultant

Jen's background spans academia, policy, and implementation. She is a specialist in the fields of peacebuilding, community strengthening, youth engagement, and countering violent extremism. She has over 14 years’ professional experience in the United States and overseas, especially in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. 

Maria Brindlmayer, Senior KM Specialist, YouthPower at Making Cents International

Maria has recently worked on a labor market assessment for youth in Central America which will be the foundation for a youth training program. Her previous KM efforts have been focused on evidence in education and increasing the uptake of evidence. She has held leading roles in an international youth organization.

Expert Advisor 

Luis A. Viguria, Chief Executive Officer at Young Americas Business Trust/OAS

Luis has been a leader and advocate for youth for many years, with a special focus on Latin America. Since joining Young Americas Business Trust/OAS over 10 years ago, he has worked in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote social and economic development among young people and launched many initiatives that support young entrepreneurs.Luis was born and raised in Peru and graduated in Social Sciences with a minor in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, and graduated from the Global Master of Arts Program in International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University. 

Luis is also the leader of the new Working Group PYD for Youth in Central America. 


Valerie Lorena, Executive Director at Young Americas Business Trust/OAS

Valerie Lorena's work has focused on peace and conflict, gender, youth, orphans and vulnerable children (including girls and people with disabilities). She has been an active spokesperson for the concerns of the younger strata and has expertise in youth entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation involving multiple sectors and international stakeholders in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Former Co-Champion

Valerie Haugen, independent contractor for Making Cents International

Valerie is an independent consultant with 30 years of experience in a variety of sectors and in developing countries worldwide, particularly those affected by conflict and crisis and fragility. Valerie has a doctoral degree in international development and peace and conflict studies and developed the USAID Checklist for Conflict Sensitivity in Education Programming.