Utrecht youth deploy talents for their city without walls

Utrecht youth deploy talents for their city without walls

On November 30, 2022

Utrecht youth deploy talents for their city without walls

Utrecht’s 900th birthday is festively celebrated. All of us from MasterPeace are also celebrating. MasterPeace was founded and based in Utrecht and we can't pass up the opportunity to honor this beautiful city.

In the period from June 2 to November 11, 2022, we organized creative boot camps for youngsters between 15 and 19 years old, with the theme; “city without walls, full of talent”. The goals of the boot camps were to create perspective for the young people and to stimulate social cohesion and active citizenship.

The youngsters have discovered their talents and immediately put them to use for an even better, more inclusive and sustainable city. The boot camps were held with 145 youngsters from different neighborhoods in Utrecht. We worked with two third-year MAVO classes from Gerrit Rietveld College, VWO5 students from St. Bonifatius College and youngsters from the Leidsche Rijn and Vleuten-de Meern districts at Azotod.

The boot camp program consisted of a graffiti workshop, rap workshop, devising neighborhood actions and advising the mayor. The ideas of Kate Raworth's Donut Economy, where the values; take good care of yourself, take good care of others and take good care of your surroundings, being the central theme of our program.

Walls of Connection - three graffiti murals

When we heard about the theme of the celebration "city without walls", we immediately thought of our "Walls of Connection". A project in which we transform walls, which are intended to separate people from each other, into walls of connection by bringing together different youngsters from the city to visualize their dreams about Utrecht as an inclusive sustainable city. The youngsters had graffiti workshops given by professional graffiti artists in which they made visualizations of Utrecht as a city without walls.

Following the visualizations of the youngsters, the artists started making a design for an actual mural. For example, Robert Brink (De Verfdokter) made a design of the creations of the students of the Gerrit Rietveld College for a mural at ‘Toekomstpunt’ on Voortrekkers Dreef. He also designed a mural for Azotod based on the input of young people from the Leidsche Rijn and Vleuten-de Meern districts. Munir de Vries has made a design based on the visualizations of the students of the St. Bonifatius College. See the results below. At all three locations, the youngsters helped the artists with the actual spraying of the wall.

On Wednesday the 14th of  December we officially opened the 'Wall of Connection' at Muziekpodium Azotod. A great moment to look back on the project together with the youngsters from DURF!, Azotod, the Verfdokter and other partners. 'U in de wijk' were also there to capture the moment. Watch their video here.


The character steps out into the wide world, towards the unknown. The origin of the idea lies with the youngsters of the St. Bonifactius College. During the graffiti workshop they expressed sympathy for the Utrecht Pride and thought it was important that everyone dares to show themselves. That’s what this work is about, a character who steps into the light.

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The visualizations of the dreams about Utrecht as an inclusive sustainable city of the students of the Gerrit Rietveld College form the basis of this mural. A city in which we are connected and work together towards a bright future. The wonderful initiative of ‘Toekomstpunt’ fits in very well with this theme.

Muziekpodium Azotod

Accessibility and fair opportunities for everyone are central to this work. With the Dom tower as the center point, I have depicted different roads to the center. The walls are walked on, forming bridges and passing through gates and tunnels. All a different route with the same end point

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‘City Without Walls’ rap

In addition to the beautiful Walls of Connections, the youngsters from the different neighborhoods have converted their ideas about their city without walls into a rap. They did this during the rap workshop led by rapper Jermain Bridgewater. Each group of youngsters has written a verse of the rap. Jermain started in June at Gerrit Rietveld College, where the students chose the beat of the rap and wrote the first verse together. The students found it very exciting and a bit scary,  but overcame their fear and even recorded their lyrics themselves in the recording studio at BOKS in Overvecht.

In October, the youngsters at Azotod and the students of the St. Bonifatius College wrote the second and third verse. They also went into the studio to record the rap. The rap is not only in Dutch, but also contains lyrics in Ukrainian, specially sung by a Ukrainian refugee.

The youngsters rap about their 'city without a wall, with more than one culture' as a place where everyone is welcome and can feel at home. They also see Utrecht as a city where people are connected; “Old walls, young people. connected in this large village without borders', and where we work together towards a sustainable, beautiful and inclusive future; ‘one for all and all for one in Utrecht, Utrecht has room for everyone, that is Utrecht’. 

Listen here to the rap on soundcloud here.

On Friday 11 November, the celebration of Utrecht 900 Years was festively concluded. The Sint Maarten parade ended in the Moreelsepark, where Jermain was ready to give a spectacular performance. Jermain and I were given the honor of presenting the 'City Without Walls' rap. Dmitri from Ukraine was also on stage to rap his lyrics live for a very large audience. The rap was well received and the audience sang along enthusiastically.

Neighborhood actions and advice for the mayor

Finally, in addition to their creative excesses during the graffiti and rap workshops, the youngsters have also shown that they are active citizens. They came up with cool neighborhood campaigns and, in response to a personal video message from mayor Sharon Dijksma, they gave advice to the mayor. Her question to the youngsters was; how do we turn Utrecht into a “masterpiece”?

After a short introduction to Kate Raworth's Donut Economics and playing our "Boiling Frog Game" that challenges young people to think about topics that affect our sense of freedom, it was time to brainstorm. Ideas for actions soon followed, such as helping out a shelter for Ukrainian refugees, collecting food for the food bank and promoting Keti Koti. These actions were actually carried out by the youngsters as part of their social internship.

In addition, letters were written and video messages were recorded to be sent to the mayor. The recommendations ranged from more free events for young people aged 16 and over to tackle loneliness among youngsters, to making public transport cheaper and introducing higher environmental taxes to combat climate change. To top it all off, a poem was written about how the problem of litter could be solved.

We look back on a successful project. The Utrecht youth can be proud of how they have expressed their visions about their city without walls in various creative ways and have made their voices heard for an even better, more inclusive and more sustainable Utrecht. In other words, Utrecht as a “masterpiece”.

Watch the aftermovie of this project here.

This project has been made possible by:

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Entrepreneurship education for seniors and adults with fewer opportunities

Entrepreneurship education for seniors and adults with fewer opportunities

On November 29, 2022

Project Context


Quite often, both salaries of the employed citizens, as well as the pensions for the retired seniors(where and when existing - are not fully sufficient for the high costs of life in those “older”. More and more seniors and adults (with fewer opportunities), thus, are looking forward to another way of regular money incoming into their households and are positive towards entrepreneurship opportunities, as they see self-employment as a valuable option. Like we see in many of our projects the lack of (jobs) perspective is a root cause for trust gaps between citizens and institutions; and for smaller and bigger unrest in societies.

Seniors and adults with fewer opportunities were the beneficiaries of our activities in Croatia, The Netherlands, Germany, Serbia and Sweden. As MasterPeace we co created in a multicountry, multiculture consortium which brought us various insights on personal dreams and behavior; on local perception on how to spend time in work and private.

The ambition of our consortium was to “equip” seniors and adults with fewer opportunities with set of skills needed to work on personal development in fields of entrepreneurial intelligence and creating (self-) employment opportunities proactively in today’s reality of employment uncertainty and the world of extinction of many known jobs and occupation now and even more in the future. That new needed capacity is entrepreneurial intelligence - competence that can be trained and developed by gaining different skills, knowledge, attitudes through quality adult non-formal education.

Key objectives

• Empower seniors and adults with fewer opportunities in entrepreneurial intelligence and mind-set development (including intrapersonal and interpersonal social-emotional and creativity competences), through development of inspiring, innovative and up-to-date handbook and e-learning courses;

• Empower our adult educators and improve knowledge management of adult education institutions and organisations in theory and practice for building competences of adult educators in entrepreneurial mind-set and creativity in entrepreneurship development of citizens, through training course, innovative Guidebook with curriculum and e-learning course for adult educators’ training;

• Exchange good practices and further develop quality strategic partnership among partners from 5 European countries with different realities in regards to citizens’ self-employment and entrepreneurship.

In the project participated :

- 12 staff / project managers and assistants;

- 18 teachers/trainers/researchers and technicians working on the blended learning 9off and online) manuals;

-30 adult educators tested the outputs with ca 120 citizens (with fewer opportunities) on local level

-200 + participants joint our summits in which we shared and discussed the new materials

The blended learning materials are available on

●       O1 Handbook on Entrepreneurial learning, Intelligence and mindset development for adults

●       O2 Guidebook with Curriculum: “Empowering adult educators for Entrepreneurial learning, Intelligence and mind-set development among seniors and adults with fewer opportunities”

●       O3 E-learning course for educators: “Entrepreneurial learning, Intelligence and mind-set development education for seniors and adults with fewer opportunities”

●       O4 E-learning course for seniors, adults / beneficiaries: “IntRApersonal aspect of Entrepreneurial mind-set development”

●       O5 E-learning course for seniors, adults / beneficiaries: “Leadership, Teamwork and other intERpersonal skills within Entrepreneurial mind-set development”

Many participants did have the perception that social entrepreneurship was not more than volunteer work that costs you a lot of time that could be spent more productively. Now we finalized the projects participants send us the feedback that they realize that being a social entrepreneur is both challenging as rewarding. The feeling of ownership that also brings funding and social impact scored the highest which encourages all partners to continue to build new innovative materials to engage, connect and empower citizens.

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Skyconcerts and conferences on enterpreneurship and peacebuilding

Skyconcerts and conferences on enterpreneurship and peacebuilding

On November 29, 2022

In collaboration with our partners and linked to the International Day of Peace, one of MasterPeace key momentums, we organized our International Multiplier events (E5) spread out over different events in September 2022. We used the concepts and methods of non-formal education, and shared our intellectual outputs .

The events had multiple goals:

- To present the project outcomes and promote the support for entrepreneurship education of seniors and adults with fewer opportunities in Netherlands (and Europe);

- To encourage and educate present adult educators on using the intellectual outputs of the project in their future entrepreneurship education work for entrepreneurship start-up among seniors and adults with fewer opportunities, their beneficiaries.

During this conferences, we had the chance to build local/national level partnerships with other present stakeholders, to ensure continuous promotion of our adult education work endeavors for quality entrepreneurship education of seniors and adults with fewer opportunities in our communities. It also supports to gain recognition for the efforts in promoting entrepreneurship among seniors and adults with fewer opportunities, and thus contributing to the general social recognition of adult education work.

The 9th of September MasterPeace The Netherlands organized as a network event in co creation with the Protestantse Kerken Nederland (PKN) a conference and skyconcert: 50+ representatives of 20+ organizations (who all have a social impact related mission) joined and celebrated the International Day of Peace. using music to create a message of hope, unity and togetherness. To voice our message for global, local and inner peace.

The Peace is MasterPeace is not only the absence of war, but the presence of freedom of expression, democratic values, access to education, access to perspective.

This is in line with our Theory of Change; to engage, connect and empower; aligned with the EU Youth Strategy 2021-2027.

MasterPeace took the lead in organizing the Skyconcert to inspire all participants. In the talks we explained our ideas on what challenges people have , o.a. the adults and the materials that we developed (and free of charge available). This resulted in 5 follow up talks on how to co create. A unique event in which we combined music and entrepreneurship.

On the 21st of September MasterPeace organized a conference and Skyconcert in co creation with the Ukrainian Foundation Vitalnya (Ukrainian for “Home”)- Utrecht. More than 50 Ukrainian participants joined the conference and Skyconcert. Impressive songs and talks about people losing lives, houses destroyed and economically broke. We agreed to partner via arts for healing and support for jobs.  Our learnings and outputs were shared; Social entrepreneurial ideas were generated, some already started. MasterPeace will continue to facilitate the best we can on the broader perspective from healing to jobs- perspective.

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MasterPeace Walk 2022 in Nepal : A Journey to Learn from Culture, Nature and Adventure

MasterPeace Walk 2022 in Nepal : A Journey to Learn from Culture, Nature and Adventure

On November 25, 2022 Nepal organized the 4th MasterPeace Walk in the beautiful Dhading area of Nepal. A group of 35 participants, consisting of Dutch, South-African, Columbian, Portuguese, French, Polish and Nepali (17 international and 18 Nepalese) people set out for the 6-day on the 2nd of November. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, combining adventure, nature and culture, began in Saatghumti, Bhimesthan, Dhading and ended at Simle, Dhading. MasterPeace Walk is a one of the powerful projects of MasterPeace Global to ignite the global grassroots peacebuilding movement; connecting local communities with diverse groups of people rich in culture and knowledge.

Building a Bridge between Cultures and Capacity

Starting from an elevation of just 900m, a low area of Dhading, to 2100m high altitude made for astonishing views of sunrise, sunset and mountains. As the day began, what was initially a group of people meeting for the first time, gradually began interacting with joy, passion and enthusiasm. A unique bond emerged; one which transcended culture, age, profession and geography. The walk became a unique platform for learning, sharing and inspiring, not coincidentally, activities that MasterPeace has been about since the very beginning. In addition to the invaluable dialogue, participants also had the chance to experience genuine hospitality and kindness from local people, ever present to provide a smile or a helping hand along the way.

Powerful Storytelling and Insightful Discussions

The walk provided a safe space and an open forum for people to talk about their personal experiences, learn about other cultures, gain new insight into leadership through conversations with people from other ethnic and professional backgrounds, and enjoy the phenomenon of living in the moment. With every passing day they walked further, and shared more about their own struggles with personal and societal difficulties, how they overcame them, and ultimately found happiness and their own viewpoint to continue following their dreams.

For the Nepali group, composed mostly of young adults in their 20s, it was an opportunity to reflect on their thoughts and transform that into positive energy. This was made further possible by the establishment of small-group talks about specific subjects along the way. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their various dimensions, and implications were the main focus of these discussions.
On the issue of education, as one example, local participants shared about the education system of Nepal and how it still does not provide a quality education children need. Western walkers also spoke on this issue, explaining the strengths and weaknesses of their own educational systems back home.
This type of insightful exchange motivated a few Nepali participants who aspire to be teachers and professors. Other important subjects that came up during the entire walk included gender equality and taking action against climate change.

Calming your mind with the Rising of the Sun

Picture yourself seated on a large rock facing stunning mountains at 6:15 in the morning at an elevation of 2000 meters. A Buddhist monk is leading your group of 35 amazing people in meditation. As you continue your meditation, you begin to feel the gradual warmth of the rising Sun. Below that, beautiful forests, valleys, and rivers join forces to form amazing natural scenery. This is how many of the mornings throughout the walk began. The natural setting was the cherry on top of the meditation's success in calming your mind and heart. 

“Campsites; campfires; sunrises; sunsets; peaceful meditations; green landscapes; snow capped mountains; stories; dances; songs; late night talks; circles; daal-bhaat-tarkari in Tapari; tight hugs; smiles on the faces; laughter; and much more. We all are going to smile and cry over the nostalgia of these 6 days throughout our life.”

Aditi from MasterPeace Nepal

Impact: Individual to Local to Global

With its distinctive framework, the MasterPeace walk has established itself as a tried-and-true method for bringing together many cultures and fostering new synergies and viewpoints that have an impact on both local and global level. Prakash Bhandari, a young and passionate changemaker from Nepal, described the lasting impact as he sees it:
“This trek will be one of the unforgettable events for me. Life brings ups and downs but when we go with the flow and have faith and show honesty, God has something great for us. Thank you for the opportunity.”

The local community, in addition to the walkers, was delighted to interact with the national and international visitors and learn more about their cultures and languages. Peace for People, the organizer of the walk in Nepal, does innovative and essential work with students and teachers at numerous schools in Dhading. The revenue from the walk has been used in supporting education materials for the needy children as well as carrying out training and bootcamps for teachers and parents.


“Compassion and interconnectedness were the most important ingredients we experienced during the walk. If these are the most important tools to save the planet, we for sure strengthened our capacity. As organizers of this walk our smallest act was to bring together this group of changemakers with the clear intention of creating connections and exchanging perspectives. And we hope for sure that the impact of this great event will go beyond our capacity to see. There is certainly more to come. ”

- Veronique Swinkels on the MasterPeace Walk experience

Looking back at the beauty and success of the MasterPeace Walk, it can be summarized as a walk for peace, a walk for conservation and a walk for unity. If you want to be a part of this journey or support in one way or another to our program, contact or via MasterPeace’s social media platforms.



by Asmita Bohora

If the pages of life could be filled,
I wouldn’t be writing this.
Feels like,
the sky is not mine,
neither is God made for me.
The sorrows have become my best of friends,
and they don’t disappoint to love me back either.
We’re here, together, for each other.

Just like the stars in the sky,
are my untasted colors of happiness,
so far from me.
No, I’m not scared.

One day,
I’ll bring them closer,
even though they seem far fetched.
I’ll not be the only on enjoying,
my happiness will surely savor along.
Just like,
the happy Moon that shines
throughout the dark night
along with the stars.

(Note :Translated from Nepali)

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