Once in a lifetime: Go behind the scenes of TPG’s journey to the Guatemala PeaceJam conference

Sep 12, 2019

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Chances are you’re here because you love travel just as much as we do: killing time in the best airport lounges, clearing the upgrade list, flying new metal, falling back into a sea of pillows on a massive King bed at your favorite hotel at the end of a long day. But the one thing that transcends any perk or points redemption when it comes to travel is the people you share an experience with. Which is what made TPG’s recent trip to Guatemala for the PeaceJam youth leadership conference so incredibly special.

PeaceJam is a nonprofit organization that TPG has been working with since 2014, whose mission is to foster young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world. The organization does this through inspiration from Nobel Peace Laureates such as Desmond Tutu and Leymah Gbowee, who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody to create educational programming for youth around the world.

At the heart of this trip were 150 incredibly inspiring youth from across Guatemala as well as Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, who runs the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation to promote the human rights of indigenous peoples. Menchú Tum has led a life dedicated to activism, starting at a young age after her two brothers, father and mother were killed during the Guatemalan Civil War. PeaceJam brought this group together, along with a few lucky members of the TPG team, in the name of leadership development, global citizenship education, youth network building, and self-empowerment.

During this year’s conference, members of the TPG team had the opportunity to lead development workshops such as ‘Entrepreneurship for Social Change’ and participate in the painting of a mural in the city of Chimaltenango to honor the UN Year of Indigenous Languages. TPG himself also spent time with the winners of our fellowship program, which supports kids like Inés Girón de León, who will be studying for her Bachelor’s in Legal and Social Sciences in the city of Quetzaltenango with the goal of practicing law or social work to fight discrimination, particularly against the women in Guatemala. Most importantly, the crowd — young and old alike — hung on every word as Menchú Tum shared what inspires her to continue her work, and the youth in turn spoke about what inspires them.

In between events, the TPG team explored the beautiful country of Guatemala, from hiking up a volcano to wandering the streets of Antigua, a Spanish colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 1500s and is lined with some of the most colorful and striking architecture in the world.

Here at TPG giving back is a part of our DNA, and part of our passion for travel, points and miles is not only helping readers but also giving back to the community. We believe that travel is more than just visiting new places — it’s about inspiring change through education and action.

In 2018 alone, TPG’s sponsorship of the PeaceJam program affected the lives of more than 11,000 kids in five developing countries (stay tuned for our upcoming trips to South Africa, Liberia and Ghana). TPG has donated more than $400,000 to support PeaceJam and the Laureates’ work with youth, and you, too, can get involved by making a donation here.

To learn more about the PeaceJam organization, check out this video, follow them on social media at @PeaceJamGuatemala or follow the hashtag #PeaceJam.

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