Formerly the ‘Schools Peace Initiative’, the Youth Peace Initiative was borne out of the need to engage young people in the process of peace with justice. The project has always targeted high school and early tertiary-aged youth, however in 2009 the name was changed to ‘Youth Peace Initiative’ (or YPI) at the recommendation of young people already involved in the project and in order to be inclusive of out-of-school youth.

In keeping with its mission to recognise and encourage expertise in the promotion of peace with justice, the Sydney Peace Foundation established YPI as a means both to encourage and also to learn from the voices of Australian youth that speak out on issues relating to peace and social justice. Thus, as a youth-centred, community development project, the primary goal of YPI goes beyond the promotion of critical literacy around peace with justice and nonviolence among youth. The goal is also to bring the experiences and insights of young people to bear on shaping the nature of that literacy.