YES Programs



International Day of Peace Instagram Story

9  Akhona Makalima

The International Day of Peace is a UN-recognized day that is observed around the world on September 21. This day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. Since building peace by bringing people together is inherent to the YES program, we wanted to highlight the importance of the International Day of Peace and how the State Department and YES program alumni are contributing to the mission of peace building through an Instagram Story Takeover! 

What was the theme of this year's #PeaceDay? It was #ClimateAction! This year’s theme drew attention to the importance of respecting our environment as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world. To learn more about this year’s theme, visit the UN’s International Day of Peace website. This year was also special because it was the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Resolution on the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace! This resolution is a call to action for all Member States to promote a culture of peace at the national and international level. 

The International Day of Peace Instagram Story Takeover featured the following peace builders and change makers:

Trina Bolton is a program officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Trina works with U.S. Embassies to manage sports programs and people-to-people exchanges for delegations from every corner of the globe. The Sports Diplomacy team within the State Department aims to tap into the power of sports to increase dialogue and cultural connectivity between people around the world—with the goal to promote U.S. foreign policies and positive social change worldwide. 

In her contribution to the Instagram Story Takeover, Trina highlighted the flagship “Global Sports Mentoring” Program which builds on the U.S. Department of State’s commitment to empowering underserved communities worldwide through sports. The Global Sports Mentoring Program combines mentorship and cultural exchange to connect more than 161 changemakers on a mission to positively impact their societies. The initiative is comprised of two pillars: GSMP: Empower Women through Sports and GSMP: Sport for Community. Since 2012, alumni from 75 countries have participated in the program, forming an international network of leaders, athletes, coaches, educators, and advocates promoting equality and inclusion.

Ramsha Khan is a YES alumna from Pakistan who has been actively involved with various organizations such as Peace without Borders and the Shaoor Foundation for Education and Awareness. She recently helped organize a seven-day residential, fully funded fellowship program known as the “Salamati Fellowship” for peace seekers/agents aged between 18-35 years from across Pakistan. The program encouraged participants to consider the significance of peace and countering violent extremism (CVE) along with idea to inculcate acceptance towards inclusivity, tolerance, and social cohesion.

Jelena Jevtic is a FLEX alumna from Serbia. She is an international political scientist currently working in peacebuilding and conflict transformation field for NewGen Peacebuilders. NewGen Peacebuilders is a peace education program that emphasizes the role, value, and impact of young people ages 14-24 in achieving a peaceful world. The goal of NewGen Peacebuilders is to make peace education a rite of passage for everyone. Through their peacebuilding program, high school and university students learn about and engage in tangible efforts to create peace. The program combines scholarly work on conflict resolution, case studies, profiles of peacebuilder role models, high-energy exercises, and project management training.

Arrij Kazmi is a YES alumna from Pakistan. She works for the United States Institute for Peace in Islamabad, Pakistan which supports a network of local organizations in testing the use of media, arts, culture, and education as tools of engagement for peacebuilding. The Institute also works on police and judicial reform, supports initiatives to strengthen democratic institutions and governance, and promotes women’s voices in security sector policymaking. Evidence-based research and analysis provides guidance for policymakers and practitioners.

Check out the video below featuring all of the above peacebuilders' contribution to our Instagram story takeover!


In May, write a thank you letter to your host family, host community, or favorite teacher! 

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit your story!