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Amidst heavy smoke in Kyiv's Maidan Square, onlookers take photographs of a demonstration by the wives of Ukrainian soldiers demanding the return of their husbands who are held as prisoners of war by Russia.

Human Search

Engage, Connect, and Teach Peace

Human Search is a versatile tool for teaching peace and connecting groups. Ideal for educational environments, team-building activities, or community meetups, this interactive game serves as a fun and effective icebreaker for teens, social clubs, and large gatherings.

Overview: Objective and Gameplay

The objective of the activity is to accumulate points through two alternating phases: peacetime and wartime. Participants aim to earn points during peacetime by learning about other players. However, during wartime, players risk losing points.


Complete each phase at least five times to ensure a comprehensive experience.

Required Materials

Scavenger Hunt Lists: Prepare scavenger hunt lists featuring traits for players to discover in each other. Use the sample list provided below as a guide.

Writing Utensils: Ensure each player has access to a pen or pencil to collect signatures (points) on their scavenger hunt lists. Utilize mobile devices instead of pen and paper.

How to Play
  1. Peacetime

    1. Objective: During peacetime, players search for peers with the unique traits indicated on their scavenger hunt lists.

    2. Collaboration: Players collaborate by exchanging lists and collecting signatures from other participants who meet the criteria listed. Each signature collected represents a point earned.

    3. Point Exchange: Points can only be exchanged during peacetime. As each item on the scavenger hunt requires finding a player with a different characteristic, players can earn points by giving points to others.

    4. Transition Signal: After approximately two minutes, the group leader signals the transition from peacetime to wartime.

  2. Wartime

    1. Objective: During wartime, players engage in rock-paper-scissors matches.

    2. Competition: The winner of each match crosses out one signature from their opponent's scavenger hunt list, indicating a lost point.

    3. Continued Play: Players continue playing rock-paper-scissors until they have no remaining signatures or until peacetime resumes.

    4. Transition Signal: After approximately one minute of wartime, the group leader signals the return to peacetime. Repeat each cycle at least five times. 


  • The activity can conclude after either phase, but it's recommended to stop during war.

  • Participants tally their remaining signatures (those not crossed out).

  • The participant(s) with the most remaining signatures are declared the "winner(s)."

Sample Scavenger Hunt List


  • Find someone whose first or last name begins with a different letter.

  • Find someone with a different number of letters in their first or last name.


  • Find someone born in a different year, month, or day.

  • Find someone born in a different city, state, or country.

  • Find someone who lives in a different neighborhood, city, state, or country.

  • Find someone whose ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation differs.

  • Find someone who speaks a different number of languages or a different language at home.


  • Find someone who's wearing differently colored clothes or shoes.

  • Find someone with a different hair color or hairstyle.

  • Find someone who's not the same height as you.



  • Find someone whose favorite food or dessert is different.

  • Find someone whose favorite book, film, or music differs.

  • Find someone whose favorite holiday, season, or weather is different.



  • Find someone who wakes up or goes to bed at a different time.

  • Find someone who eats breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a different time.

  • Find someone whose class schedule, job, or sport differs from yours.



  • Find someone who works in a different field or has a different specialization.

  • Find someone who works for a different company, department, or team.

  • Find someone whose dream job is different.


Adapt the activity to suit your group's needs. 

Timing: Extend peacetime phases to 120 seconds for activities like foreign language learning to ensure inclusivity and engagement. Experiment with phases of varying lengths.

Scavenger Hunt:​ Customize the complexity of the scavenger hunt to match your group, ensuring accessibility and appropriateness.

Rules: Alter the rules to suit your needs. For example, allow three-player wars if your group has an odd number of players.


After completing the game, engage in a discussion about the activity and the insights gained. Consider the following questions to guide your debrief:

  • What insights did you gain about yourself, others, peace, and war?

  • How did you feel when you lost points during wartime?

  • Was there a particular moment during the activity that stood out to you?

  • What aspects of this experience surprised you?

  • Did you encounter any hesitations in cooperating with others during peacetime? If so, what were the reasons?


As the group leader, you may need to emphasize war's inherently destructive nature and the mutual benefits of peaceful exchange.


Reflect on your experience with Human Search and share your thoughts on social media. Tag @ElPeacePro and use the hashtag #HumanSearch to bring our community closer and contribute to a more peaceful world. 

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