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The McCain Institute for International Leadership and EdVenture Partners Announce Invent2Prevent National Campaign Finalists

(Washington, DC) – The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University (ASU) and EdVenture Partners today announced the top three finalists for the Invent2Prevent Fall 2021 competition. Out of the 20 university teams competing this semester, Howard University, Middlebury Institute of International Studies and University of South Carolina were selected to participate in a virtual competition on February 10, 2022, at 1 p.m. ET, streamed live HERE.

“This past semester, we have seen an unparalleled level of excellence from university students in the development of their Invent2Prevent campaigns,” said Brette Steele, senior director of preventing targeted violence at the McCain Institute. “Despite challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, student teams have found thoughtful and creative ways to tackle significant challenges facing our nation’s communities. Students continue to highlight the need for youth voices and perspectives in targeted violence and terrorism prevention.”

As part of this semester long project, each university team evaluated a current threat facing the nation and identified an opportunity to create an initiative, product or tool to better educate a specific target audience on the potential vulnerabilities that could lead individuals to consider targeted violence or terrorist acts using a modest budget of $2,000. Each of the three finalists identified a different topic and will provide a 12-minute video overview of their specific effort and answer questions in real time posed by judges during the virtual final competition.

About the finalists:

Howard University, Washington, DC: THE PEACE COALITION (Policing Efforts and Community Engagement Coalition) exists to increase social awareness of domestic terrorism, racial hatred, bias, cultural illiteracy and targeted violence incidents originating on U.S. soil affecting minority communities of color and other marginalized groups. This project works to expose hate-based, bias-informed violence and discrimination affecting minority groups by law enforcement officials; this is an example of domestic terrorism that is understated within the United States. Through the creation of a board game, the Peace Coalition Podcast x Spotify and other integrated social and traditional media tactics, Peace CO. elevates far-reaching collective values of social connectedness, personal and public safety, and civic responsibility. Listen to the podcast at: The Peace Coalition | Podcast on Spotify

Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA: Diverting Hate is an ethical technology with the goal of diverting at-risk young men away from dangerous misogynistic paths and towards healthier outlets of community and mental health support. The initiative offers a two-pronged approach to divert their target audience away from hateful narratives and toward known resiliency tactics: community building and mental health resources. As a tool, Diverting Hate operates within the user interface of Twitter to redirect users to known resiliency measures. As an initiative, Diverting Hate advertises interesting and relevant content which directs users to a first-of-its-kind hub of curated communities and mental health organizations. Visit Diverting Hate at:

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC: Witz, Meme What You Mean, is a media literacy lesson plan package that teaches South Carolina middle schoolers to recognize attempted indoctrination by white supremacist extremists. The package, complete with a customizable slide deck and a social media simulation game, enhances students’ understanding of meme history, memetic subtexts and social media algorithms. This campaign bolsters existing digital literacy standards by providing teachers with memetic literacy resources and empowering them to educate their students on this subject. Visit the Witz project at:

EdVenture Partners’ peer-to-peer programs empower competitions worldwide that invite university and high school students to develop messaging and digital media campaigns to address hate, bias and extremism.

“This is an exciting time for Invent2Prevent as university teams submit their final portfolios for judging,” said Tony Sgro, founder and chief executive officer of EdVenture Partners. “Announcing these top three finalist is always a highlight for me. Teams that make it as finalists participate in a subsequent presentation, competition and shine in the well-deserved recognition that follows. These Invent2Prevent student finalists are awarded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that often serves as a defining moment for our students personally and professionally.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) is proud to sponsor the virtual competition on February 10, 2022. Finalists will compete for cash prizes with first place receiving $5,000, second place $3,000 and third place $1,000. Additionally, all team participants are eligible to apply for scholarships, and the three finalist teams also are entered into a year-long sustainment program, both sponsored by the DHS CP3. The final competition will be streamed live on YouTube from 1 – 3 p.m. To RSVP, visit:

About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute for International Leadership is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.

About EdVenture Partners
EdVenture Partners (EVP) builds academic partnerships to address social impact, marketing communications, and other business-related challenges for Fortune 500 companies, governments, NGO’s, and trade associations. EVP has partnered with nearly 1,000 academic institutions in 76 countries worldwide with more than 250,000 students participating in peer-to-peer experiential learning programs.

Publish Date
January 13, 2022