Peace Matters Expedition

Peace Matters is a 10-day canoeing and hiking journey in the Minnesota Boundary Waters for extraordinary young leaders from faith communities across campuses in the USA.

Interfaith dialogue is the positive interaction between people of different religious traditions on doctrine and/or matters of mutual concern in culture or politics. In partnership with Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS), the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding offers extraordinary 10-day wilderness expeditions for student leaders representing different faith communities and concerned with the value of peace. Participants for the Peace Matters Expedition are individuals or students associated with U.S. institutions with interest in leadership, interfaith dialogue, and peacebuilding.Based on our unique approach of experiential peacebuilding, the program goals of the Peace Matters Expeditions are the following:

Cultivate compassionate leaders who are committed to sustainable change across faith communities.
Advance young leaders’ skills in conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding.
Foster connection to and respect for the environment.
Create and strengthen active networks of interfaith peacebuilders.

The Peace Matters Expedition is delivered by Outward Bound Peacebuilding (OBCP) in partnership with the Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS). During the expedition, participants canoe and rock climb in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Each day starts with a theme that participants explore in pairs or small groups. Experiential workshops during the journey introduce new skills focused on leadership, consensus building and conflict transformation, among others. Participants are prepared to present and discuss the themes of peace and/or environmental responsibility from the perspective of their faith community or belief system, as well as to listen and engage respectfully with the perspectives of others. Together they identify shared goals for, and challenges to, achieving those goals. Wilderness provides challenge, inviting participants to move out of their comfort zone and explore the concept of risk as relevant to leadership, environment and peacebuilding. Bringing together a group of diverse individuals offers opportunities to practice effective listening, compassionate leadership and deepening religious and cultural understanding. At the end of the program, participants receive a Peace Matters Expedition Certificate of Completion signed by both partner organizations. More importantly, they connect and build partnerships with a community of individuals who are interested in interfaith dialogue, peace and the environment.

In 1964, the United States designated over 1-million acres of this Northern Minnesota landscape as a protected wilderness area called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Because no roads, power lines, or motorized craft may enter its borders, the BWCAW has remained relatively unchanged since the glaciers receded. It is also one of the most historically significant and remote wilderness areas in North America. Over 10,000 years ago, continental-sized glaciers scraped their way across much of Ontario and northern Minnesota leaving deep ruts, ravines, and holes in their tracks. Eventually, as the glaciers melted, these ravines filled with water, creating a seemingly endless interconnected web of lakes and rivers.Students will learn a variety of paddling skills to contend with diverse weather and waterway conditions as they canoe from campsite to campsite. This type of extended wilderness experience, along with our highly-trained Instructors, help students develop and refine new expedition skills, cultivate a deep connection with the environment, form meaningful friendships, and develop a better understanding themselves through challenge and discovery.

Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding uses the Outward Bound approach of experiential education in the outdoors to challenge and inspire emerging leaders in divided societies to build peace. We believe that nonviolent change must be led by local leaders who are best positioned to solve the conflicts in their own communities and societies. Our work is founded on the understanding that experiential education in the outdoors is a powerful tool for advancing leadership, building trust and creating transformational experiences for individuals and groups. We call this approach experiential peacebuilding. We work with partners around the world to design experiential peacebuilding programs that encourage compassionate leadership, cooperative learning and creative action. Voyageur Outward Bound School is a Minnesota based non-profit school specializing in character development, leadership, and experiential education. Since the early 1960’s Outward Bound has a rich and proud history in Minnesota. The first Outward Bound School in the states was founded in Colorado in 1962. Minnesota quickly followed, opening in 1964 in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota, by founder Bob Pieh. The Minnesota school was the first Outward Bound School with girls on course in 1965. Voyageur now operates out of two bases: Twin Cities was the first Outward Bound school in the nation to run urban youth expeditions in an urban area in 1985. Homeplace is the wilderness base in Ely, Minnesota and allows Voyager to offer summer and winter programs in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageur National Park.

With generous support from: F.I.S.H. Foundation 


Interfaith Dialogue
Experiential Peacebuilding
Leadership Development
Consensus Building
Environmental Responsibility
Conflict Transformation

“On this course I realized that people can have strong beliefs and practices, and still be kind, open-minded, and open to discussion.”
“I think the experience has given me the ability to apply peacebuilding into the personal conflicts that happen in my life. It has given me hope for better relationships.”
“Every aspect of this course was super helpful – I feel like I am still a lost soul but closer to finding myself because of this wonderful, challenging experience.”