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The 2023 Student Peace Conference

Peace Action New York State 2023 Student Peace Conference

Over the weekend of February 24-26, 2023, over 30 students from 14 campus Peace Action chapters converged at the 2023 Student Peace Conference in New York City. The event marked an exciting return to in-person conferences after two years of online conferences!

The Campus Organizing Program – a project of Peace Action Fund of New York State (PAFNYS) – supports the global citizenship and leadership development of students across New York State, serving as an informal movement incubator for the next generation of leaders in peace and security. As part of the program, students maintain university-recognized Peace Action chapters on their campuses, educating their peers about important peace issues and building grassroots networks to take action on the issues that matter to them.

Every year, PAFNYS hosts a 3-day Student Peace Conference to connect students from campuses aross New York State to find solutions to the challenges of on-campus organizing and develop critical community organizing skills. As part of the 3-day conference, students gather for workshops and panel discussions to enhance their leadership skills, build movement power amongst their peers, and plug into national grassroots campaigns to promote sustainable peace and justice.

For the 2023 annual Student Peace Conference, student organizers gathered at Macaulay Honors College (CUNY) for 3 days of workshops, trainings, discussions, and collaboration with their peers and with peace movement leaders. Activities included a nonviolent direct action training with CODEPINK; a panel on the costs of war and militarism with experts from the Costs of War Project, Women Cross DMZ, and Jewish Voice for Peace; a workshop on campaigning for the Green New Deal with New York Communities for Change (NYCC); and feminist foreign policy workshop with PAFNYS Board member and MADRE programs officer, Kate Alexander.

One of the highlights of the event was the keynote speech by Brittany Ramos DeBarros. Brittany is a combat veteran and organizer who risked military prison to speak out against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars while she was a Captain in the Army. A former national organizer for the Poor People’s Campaign and About Face: Veterans Against the War, Brittany recently ran for Congress in NY-11 (Staten Island and South Brooklyn) on a platform that unapologetically centered the needs of working class people and marginalized communities.

PAFNYS is proud to support emerging leaders in the peace movement by creating spaces for youth organizers to build their leadership skills and nurture a vibrant activist community. Thank you to all who helped make this year’s Student Peace Conference a success!

Conference Highlights

  • Nonviolent Direct Action Training led by Roni Zahavi-Brunner (PANYS) and Teddy Ogborn (CODEPINK)

  • Keynote Speech by combat veteran and former congressional candidate, Brittany Ramos DeBarros

  • Panel: Costs, Impacts, and Legacies of War with Elisha Choi (WomenCrossDMZ), Mimi Healy (Costs of War Project), and Una Osato (Jewish Voice for Peace)

  • Workshop: Campaigning for a Green New Deal with Alice Hu (NY Communities for Change)

  • Workshop: Interactive Feminist Foreign Policy with Kate Alexander (MADRE )

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