Building Peace in the 21st Century

Between 2014 and 2016, the Peace and Justice Project (a joint effort of Cartoon Movement and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands) reached out to over 4,000 students in more than 40 countries, from Afghanistan to Rwanda, and from Russia to New Zealand, with one question: How do we build peace in the 21st century?

This project set out to challenge the thought leaders of tomorrow, to make them think about the importance of conflict resolution, justice, security and international law. We further challenged them put their thoughts to paper not with words, but with visuals. Images, and cartoons in particular, have the power to transcend borders, to provoke thought and to stimulate debate.

At participating schools and universities, workshops were organized featuring the Ambassador of the Netherlands and a local professional cartoonist. The Ambassador explains the process of peace-building and conflict resolution; the cartoonist provide guidance on how to create a powerful cartoon.

Animation explaining the Peace & Justice project:

The visuals created by the students were uploaded to our website, were they became input for our network of over 400 professional editorial cartoonists from every corner of the globe. The best student ideas were picked by cartoonists and turned into professional cartoons. The result: over 600 cartoons with different perspectives on conflict, peace and justice.

A selection of these cartoons has been on display in various exhibitions at the Peace Palace, the city hall of The Hague, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and in many of the participating countries.

The Peace and Justice project stimulates students to think about the challenge of creating sustainable peace in the 21st century and to engage in debate not only with each other, but also with their counterparts on the other side of the globe. Because understanding other perspectives is the first step on the road to peace.

The process from sketch to cartoon:

Workshops & exhibitions around the world: