Kalamazoo, MI — The Great Lakes chapter of PeaceJam, in partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools and Western Michigan University, will welcome 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to Kalamazoo on February 22-24, 2019. Kailash will take part in PeaceJam’s annual Spring Youth Conference located at Loy Norrix High School. Satyarthi is a leading activist for the end of child slavery in India and is responsible for helping to free more than 87,000 children in partnership with his organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement). More than 200 elementary, middle, high school and college-age students from the Great Lakes region (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) will join Satyarthi during the two-day conference.
Kailash Satyarthi will also speak to the public at PeaceJam’s Public Address: “Free. Safe. Educated.” on Friday, February 22nd at 7 p.m. at the Thomas A. Kasdorf Auditorium located in Loy Norrix High School. The event will also be open to the media and will provide a unique opportunity for those in the greater Kalamazoo area to learn about Satyarthi and his struggle to expose the system of child slavery that exists worldwide and how he has created movements to help children to be free, to be safe and to be educated. A suggested donation of $15 per guest is requested. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.greatlakespeacejam.com.
Additionally, the Nobel Reception honoring Kailash Satyarthi will take place prior to the public address on Friday, February 22nd at 5:30 p.m., also located at Loy Norrix High School. A ticket of $50 must be purchased in order to attend the reception and will include hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, an opportunity to personally meet Satyarthi, and entry to the public address. Tickets for the Nobel Reception must be purchased in advance at www.greatlakespeacejam.com.
All of the proceeds from the Nobel Reception and Public Address directly benefit the PeaceJam program in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo area residents interested in learning more about Kailash Satyarthi before he arrives are invited to attend a free screening of The Price of Free, the Sundance winning documentary about Kailash’s fight to end child slavery in India and around the world. This event will be hosted by the Kalamazoo Public Library in the Van Deusen room on Monday, February 18th, from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.
Kailash Satyarthi was born and raised in India. From a young age, he noticed that poorer families could not afford to send their children to school, and instead these children had to work for a living. It was at this age that his social activism to help other children be free from labor work and able to receive and education began.
In 1980, Kailash Satyarthi left his career as an electrical engineer and became the secretary general for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, a non-governmental organization working to end bonded labor in India. In that same year, Satyarthi founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save Childhood Movement, whose aim is to create a society where all children are free from exclusion and exploitation and can receive a free education. Since its beginnings, the BBA has helped to identify instances of child slavery, liberate these children and work to rehabilitate and educate them. Under Satyarthi’s direction, the movement has been able to rescue over 87,000 children thus far.
In addition to his work with the BBA, Satyarthi also founded the Global March Against Child Labour in 1998, one of the largest civil society movements to this day. The march traversed through 103 countries demanding an international law on the child labor ethics. Through the work of this movement, the International Labour Organizations Convention No. 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour was formally acclaimed in 1999.
The conference is one component of PeaceJam’s year round programing for elementary, middle, and high school-aged youth throughout the four-state region of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Young people meet in clubs and classrooms exploring issues of violence and prejudice and to study the life and work of Leymah Gbowee as a role model for becoming civically engaged to foster peace and justice in the world. Action is a major factor of the PeaceJam program. In addition to participating in the curriculum and attending the conference, PeaceJam participants are charged with identifying a local or global need and creating a service project to make a difference. During the conference, each PeaceJam club will present its work to Kailash Satyarthi stating club members’ commitment to inspiring change in the world. Further information on the service projects are available to the media upon request.
With 20 years of experience around the world, the PeaceJam Foundation is a global leader in developing engaged, informed and compassionate young leaders. Its mission is to empower disenfranchised and at-risk youth to generate positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of 14 Nobel Peace Laureates who directly work with PeaceJam to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The PeaceJam Foundation achieves this mission through multicultural social inclusion curriculum, transformative youth leadership conferences with Nobel Peace Prize Winners and our One Billion Acts of Peace Campaign – a global citizens movement that gives young people the tools to tackle pressing issues facing humanity and the planet. Since 1996, 1.25 million youth have been impacted by PeaceJam’s programs, creating 58.2 million service projects and participating in 350 youth conferences hosted around the world with our Nobel Peace Prize winners. PeaceJam has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize eight times by Desmond Tutu and seven other laureates for its power to transform the lives of our youth.
Great Lakes PeaceJam, based in Kalamazoo, is administered by Seeding Change and supported through a partnership with Western Michigan University. We serve the youth of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Thousands of young people have participated in Great Lakes PeaceJam programs since its inception in 2002. Funding for Great Lakes PeaceJam includes the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Youth United Way, the Western Student Association, and through the generosity of individual donors and businesses.