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The Exchanging Stories — Changing History initiative invites young people in divided communities throughout the world to tell their stories, listen to the other side, and create new history through leaps of empathy and imagination.

What Participants are Saying

Sarit Larry

"For the first time in my career as a doctoral student my interest in otherness met its political significance. Today I work in Israel organizing political communities through the sharing of personal stories and calling for communal action. It is always an incredible and very rich experience to be able to stand in the crossroad of your deeply felt passions and interests and find they inform each other in such meaningful, and fundamental ways. I owe the Guestbook a lot."

Clay Venetis

"I tried to have native citizens and immigrants in Los Angeles tell their stories to each other. The story-telling quickly got away from me; the city’s history came out of its shadowy back rooms and told me, “You’ve had it all wrong.” The narrative I knew of my own hometown was rocked. For that lesson alone, working with the Guestbook Project was essential."

Chris Chung

"The experience of listening to the Japanese student, who had a totally different understanding of and perspective on the Dokdo islands, was enlightening. It enhanced my knowledge of the history of Dokdo, as well as that of Korea and its relationship with Japan. Transforming the turbulent history of territorial conflict into a creative exchange of stories and animation, the film became a springboard for dialogue about the issue of co-existence and the possible consideration of the Dokdo islands as a place of reconciliation."

Jeannie Marshall

"I have enjoyed every minute of the Guestbook project. It has been filled with fun and has improved my knowledge on different religions. This project has given me the opportunity to make new friendships with people I would never have met before. I definitely would do it all over again and hope to build more friendships with people from cross communities."

Youth Peace Prize

As part of the Exchanging Stories — Changing History initiative, the aim of the Youth Peace Prize is to encourage, reward and publicize the most innovative narrative models for advancing peace by and for the next generation. We want to inspire the production of videos of any style and genre, which facilitate the exchange of opposing stories by two young people committed to creating a new, third story. We are looking for ‘imaginative leaps into the possible’ that may somehow change conflicted histories. The ultimate goal is to empower and inspire a new generation of creative peacebuilders to transform conflict through empathic imagination and the use of digital media.

In the fall of 2017 an international jury of independent experts will award prizes in a variety of categories for the most innovative video projects which seek to overcome division.

Recent Videos from Exchanging Stories - Changing History

In Peace Apart: Teaching Divided Histories

The River Foyle runs through the Northern Ireland border city of Londonderry/Derry, both physically and symbolically dividing the community, Irish against British, Catholic against Protestant, Green against Blue. In collaboration with the Nerve Centre, four students come together to explore the personal, social, political, and geographic separation in the city’s history.

“A Protestant and Catholic schoolgirl from Derry swap uniforms and take a walk through their city together to make a short film. In another place, the act wouldn’t be remarkable but in Northern Ireland, where emblems, colours, flags and uniforms are potent symbols of difference, it is utterly subversive.” – The Irish Independent

War Letters: To Kill or to Kiss

This is the story about the city of Vukovor, a city where the name is written in both latinate and cyrillic, a city where Croats and Serbs live together. It is a city in which the memory of the Serbian Occupation, the 1991 Croatian War of Independence, exile, and Vukovar Massacre.

In a city of one name, two languages, and two ethnically divided communities, a pair of young filmmakers ask: who is the guest and who is the host?

Dokdo or Takeshima: Between Islands

A long history of war underlies Korea and Japan’s contemporary relationship, one that has been scarred recently by the longstanding question of the true ownership of a small island called Dokdo in Korean, or Takeshima in Japanese. Both countries claim sovereignty over the island, as it plays an integral and symbolic part in the history of both countries.

Two students — one Japanese, one Korean — come together to ask the question: So where does it belong?

Jerusalem: Across the Divide

Jerusalem. The 5000 year old city that has resonated at the core of the three abrahamic religions is facing a new battle ground in the last century — one that dances to the tunes of national sentiments. The ancient religious attachments to the city now resonate with a new undertone that is manifested through and constituted of the areas two fledgeling national identities: Israeli and Palestinian.

Armenian Genocide: An Exchange of Narratives

2015 marks the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Narine Karapetyan, an Armenian law student and Emrah Altındiş, a Turkish scholar talk about their respective national identities and perspectives on genocide.

In the wake of this exchange, they are working together on projects for the 2015 Centenary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.