A UCSB student is attempting to put world peace together “piece-by-piece” with a new Web site engineered to raise funds for charity.

The Web site – worldpeacecontest.com – hinges on a concept dubbed the “World Peace Puzzle,” which transforms a world map into a digital jigsaw puzzle with purchasable pieces. The puzzle, which site members race to piece together, is a map comprised of 5,000 individual pieces. Each portion of the puzzle can be purchased as an advertisement for $500.

Web site creator Joseph Saeidian, a third-year psychology major, said the idea for his Web site first surfaced more than a year ago.

“It began a year and a half ago when I transferred to UCSB,” Saeidian said. “I had always wanted to make a Web site that had good potential to help people. I also really like the idea of peace, and I wanted to make a Web site that could show people what the idea of peace is.”

According to Saeidian, the first 10 members to complete the puzzle will each win $10,000 and, after expenses, the remaining money – which he estimates will be over $2 million – will be donated to charities that promote world peace. The Web site’s users will vote in order to determine which charities will ultimately receive funding.

Saeidian said he projects that the “World Peace Puzzle” will contribute a significant amount of financial support to organizations centered around promoting world peace.

“[Worldpeacecontest.com] will raise $2.5 million,” Saeidian said. “I will be giving the money to one of four or five charities, and the members will vote on which to donate to.”

Saeidian said each piece of the puzzle connects directly to the Web page of the company who purchased the puzzle piece.

“When you sponsor a piece, that piece is hyperlinked to your website and is advertised on a random basis every time a user logs in,” Saeidian said. “The pieces are all squares so that the sponsors receive equal size advertisements, but when you find two pieces that match, they will lock together.”

Saeidian said his Web site combines features that are comparable to online social hubs such as Facebook with the allure of cash prizes.

“The Web site has the draw of the excitement of social networking and the possibility of winning a lot of money,” Saeidian said. “Each member will have their own profile, which they can customize of course and they will also be able to message each other.”