the peacebuilding project

Speaker series on Women, Peace and Security at the University of Chicago

The Peacebuilding Project (PBP) was founded by Rhea Mahanta as a student at The University of Chicago in 2017. The University campus is located South Side Chicago, known for high crime and violence. Given the University’s existing knowledge base and research on global conflicts, crime and violence, Mahanta wanted to foster an environment that studies not just the changing nature of conflicts but also the peace processes by which they may be prevented, resolved or transformed. It is to harness this realm of peace that The Peacebuilding Project was born, to start a conversation on the process of conflict transformation.

The project started as an initiative with two components, the first being academic instruction and trainings delivered through workshops, speaker series, research and publications. The latter component of the project was civic engagement, through community outreach, donation drives, advocacy and volunteering in the community. PBP has organized several programs on conflict transformation & mediation, community dinner for refugees, women in peace & security, war, exile and refugees, Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, and more.

Since 2018, the project expanded its operations to India, where it introduced new ventures beyond SDG16+ and amplified its volunteer base. Our volunteers have worked on education programs for refugee children, research publications on international affairs, advocacy campaigns on climate action, and efforts to strengthen civic participation in democracies through letters campaigns, among others.


With the growing challenges of the world, we want to address the roots causes of conflict and prepare communities to respond peacefully to situations of tension. Our mission is to provide the necessary training and skills for people to adopt the tools of peacebuilding in their everyday lives, and to cultivate a culture of ‘Us versus the problem’ instead of ‘us versus them’. At the Peacebuilding Project, we are also committed to the cause of supporting vulnerable populations such as refugees. We want to ensure that refugees become not only passive recipients of humanitarian assistance, but the leading advocates for peace. 

Help us realize our vision. The world is at a pivotal point in history, and our hope is that people choose the values of equality, liberty and humanity above all.

Founder Rhea Mahanta visits a Rohingya refugee settlement in New Delhi to assess the community's needs and how PBP can provide support.