Conflict Resolution Youth Summit

The Conflict Resolution Youth Summit explores some of today's toughest problems through the lens of peace and conflict resolution. It spans four evenings on the George Mason University Campus. Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students are invited to connect with other students from varied backgrounds with common interests and goals.

Students at a conference

Delve into important conflicts, learn new skills, practice the processes of promoting peace and engaging with tough issues to make a positive difference. Join us for an exciting cohort experience with your peers. Engage in exciting simulations, workshops, and facilitated discussions. Explore issues related to:

  • Global Conflicts

  • Social Justice

  • Peacebuilding

  • Collaborative Leadership

Through the experience you will gain skills in leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and community engaged dialogue as well as build relationships and make new connections while exploring possible opportunities to work in the area of peace and conflict resolution.

Offered by the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, a preeminent leader in innovative teaching, cutting-edge research and engaged practice.


Dates and Times

Dates: July 17-20

Times: 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Program Cost: $350*

*Need-based scholarships are available! Applications for scholarships will be available after you've been accepted to the program. 

​*Transportation to and from the summit and lodging are not provided.


  • Rising high school 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students 
  • Interest in ​leadership, social justice, and community engagement.

How to Apply (2023 applications open March 1)

Priority Deadline to apply is May 21, 2023. Applications accepted on a rolling basis thereafter. 

Apply to attend the 2023 Conflict Resolution Youth Summit!

Short Essay Questions for Applicants

  • What issues do you see in your school, neighborhood, or community that you would like to help or have helped solve and why are these issues important to you? In what ways have you been involved in working on these issues already? (max 150 words)
  • What have you read or watched recently that has impacted or changed how you see the world? (max 150 words)
  • How did you hear about the Conflict Resolution Youth Summit? What interests or career/academic goals do you have that make you a good fit for our program or make our program a good fit for you? (max 150 words)

Meet our 2022 Staff

Headshot photo of Mara Schoeny

Mara Schoeny, Executive Director

Mara is the director of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution's Graduate Certificate and Undergraduate Programs and is an associate professor. She teaches courses in research and evaluation methods, practice skills, and the integration of interdisciplinary approaches to conflict analysis and resolution. She was a 1998 USIA Visiting Fellow in the Curriculum Development Exchange Program in residence at Yerevan State University, Armenia. As part of the grant she developed and taught simulation courses for undergraduate and master’s level sociology and social work students in family, organizational, political, and community conflict. She is a former youth camp director with experience in traditional camp settings as well as dialogue and co-existence camps for youth from conflict areas. Her research and practice interests include nonviolence, education, and training and dialogue processes.


headshot photo of Leslie Durham

Leslie Durham, Program Manager

Leslie is the Carter School Undergraduate Community Engagement Coordinator and serves as an Academic Advisor and First Year Success Coach at the Carter School. She coordinates the Carter School Buddy Program and Carter School Student Ambassadors. Her advising focus is centered around student engagement, study abroad, coaching, degree completion, and veteran services. She is native from California, a 20+ military spouse, bilingual in Spanish, loves to dance, and explore the world. 





Photo of Cam Caesar

Cam Cassar, Co-Director

Cam is a Spring 2020 graduate of George Mason University where he received his BA  in Government & International Politics with a minor in Conflict Analysis & Resolution. Cam is currently pursuing his Masters in Conflict Analysis & Resolution and Mediterranean Security through the Carter School Dual Master's Program with the University of Malta where he lived in Malta for 10 months. Cam is currently writing his thesis which comparatively explores the onset of the Arab Spring with the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. Cam has also been working in the Carter School's Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation for the past 2.5 years and serves as the Senior Producer for the Think Peace Podcast, which explores the intersection of neuroscience and peacebuilding. 



Headshot photo of Kelsey Vaughn

Kelsey Vaughn, Co-Director

Kelsey is a recent graduate of the Carter School with a B.A. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a concentration in Building Peace in Divided Societies, and a minor in Sustainability Studies. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Human Security at Aarhus University in Denmark. Her interest lies at the intersection of peacebuilding and environmental sustainability. As a student, much of her research centered on the idea of cultivating more cohesive and peaceful communities through the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices. Her capstone research focused on finding a path towards sustainable peace in South Sudan by incorporating climate resiliency and environmental degradation mitigation in combatant reintegration programs. As a Peacebuilding Fellow, Kelsey designed and implemented a community-based initiative that addressed inequalities and social determinants of health facing high school age youth living in food deserts in Washington, D.C. Kelsey has also worked with Virginia 4-H designing educational programs for youth that center on teambuilding, creative problem solving, and effective communication. Further, she works with the Carter School’s Political Leadership Academy to equip public servants and a new generation of leaders with the fundamental skills necessary to work collaboratively for the common good. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are you looking for in an applicant?
​We are looking for rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who are eager to participate in a hands-on learning experience on a college campus.
Do I have to be interested in the field of Conflict Analysis and Resolution to attend this summit?
​No, we believe that the skills and experience that you will gain from this summit are versatile and transferable to anything you put your mind to.
Is transportation provided to and from the program?
No, daily transportation to and from the program are not provided.
What is a typical day like?
Students will attend hands-on seminars, participate in simulations and collaborate together to work on various projects.
Who are the people running the program?
​This program is led by the professional staff and faculty of George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Is this a good program to put on a college application?
Yes, this program is a great opportunity to highlight academic and co-curricular experience.
Is this program a gateway to George Mason University admission?
The CR Youth Summit is a recognized university activity but does not guarantee admission to George Mason University.
What is the staff - student ratio? 
The ratio is 1 staff per 10 students.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Email us at

George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 35,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.

George Mason University