Youth Programs

Our programs empower, educate and provide students from different religious and ethnic backgrounds first-hand experiences with peers from a variety of faiths and traditions, to build leadership and critical thinking skills.

The Temple of Understanding’s work with young people demonstrates that the use of experiential and participatory learning supports long-term behavior change and can transform perspectives. All TOU youth programs, trainings and activities are hands-on, interactive, cooperative learning environments. Youth participants are responsible for working collaboratively with their peers, independent of direction from adults. In addition, youth use their peers as resources to explore opinions and ideas from various perspectives in a forum that encourages open interfaith debate and discussion.

The goal of TOU Youth Programs is to build community, foster values of respect and understanding, and nurture young leaders for a new culture of peace and justice.


UN Summer Student Internship

Since 2005, the Temple of Understanding has implemented its commitment to education of young people by hosting a Summer Internship at the United Nations.  High school students from different parts of the USA as well as many other countries spend five intensive weeks learning about the United Nations by attending open meetings of the Security Council, the General Assembly and their various Committees. This program launches their careers as global citizens who care about the humanitarian goals embraced by the UN. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with different Missions and NGOs for discussions based on their specific questions and interests. Learn more about TOU’s UN Student Internship or apply >>


Past Programs

Interfaith Dialogue, Education and Action (IDEA)

IDEA focused on the development of leadership skills, individual responsibility and creativity to bring youth driven community projects to fruition. The mission of IDEA was to empower and educate youth (ages 14 to 19) from different cultural backgrounds to build leadership and critical thinking skills, create strong bonds of friendship and support ongoing learning opportunities among young people.  In the 2012-2013 school year, the program was offered in Susan Wagner High School, Port Richmond High School, and other new Staten Island, NY area high schools.

The Gandhi, King, Chavez Season for Nonviolence at the United Nations

Part of an international 64-day educational campaign, this UN event brought more than 500 junior high and high school students from the tri-state area together to learn more about these three leaders of nonviolence. Educators were given suggestions for classroom learning aimed at inspiring students to make their local and global communities more peaceful.