CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND PEACEBUILDING
EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY
OUR FIRST GRADS WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM?
A Decade of Inspiration Our graduates have made us proud
Like a large percentage of the rest of the world, we at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding spend much of our work time busily occupied with pressing tasks and obligations. We also carve out some time for strategic planning. In other words, we work hard to address current needs, to anticipate forthcoming needs, and to project our future direction over the long term. Through all of this we probably don’t spend enough time reflecting on all that has been accomplished. We probably don’t give ourselves enough space to simply savor the progress we, our alumni, and our partners have made. So, please savor this issue of Peacebuilder, which looks back at what happened to the first three dozen people who earned master’s degrees or graduate certificates in what was then called the Conflict Transformation Program. By any standards, this group has made a huge impact. They have founded new institutions, including the powerful West African Network for Peacebuilding, written or edited influential books, such as Critical Issues in Restorative Justice, and risen to the leadership of existing organizations, such as the Peace Corps and Habitat for Humanity. But, as a group, they have also declared that their peace work will not be conducted at the expense of those closest to them. In various ways, they have made sure to honor their families and communities of origin, to pay attention to the well-being of their children, and to remember the Spirit that guides us all. It is inspiring that they are living out the vision that CJP has for wholistic peacebuilding work. This is a thick magazine issue; it is built around 36 mini-bios, one for each alumnus who graduated in 2000 or earlier. I recommend reading it the way you would a special issue of Time magazine, slowly and reflectively. This way, you will have a source of inspiration until the spring/summer issue of Peacebuilder arrives in your hands about six months from now.
Lynn Roth Executive Director
CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND PEACEBUILDING
EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY
PEACEBUILDER is published by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University, with the collaboration of the Development Office: Kirk L. Shisler, vice president for advancement; Phil Helmuth, executive director of development; Phoebe Kilby, CJP associate director of development.
Loren E. Swartzendruber President Fred Kniss Provost Lynn Roth CJP Executive Director Bonnie Price Lofton Editor/Writer Jon Styer Designer/Photographer David R. Brubaker Barry Hart Maria J. Hoover Janice M. Jenner Lynn Roth Sue Williams CJP Leadership Team Members For more information or address changes, contact: Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg, VA 22802 email@example.com (540) 432-4000 www.emu.edu/cjp Contents ÂŠ2010 Eastern Mennonite University. Requests for permission to reprint are welcomed and may be addressed to Bonnie Price Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cover photo Alfiado Zunguza, executive director of JustaPaz in Maputo, Mozambique. Story on page 27. Photo by Acamo Maquinasse.
Earliest Students Appreciate The Fresh Lens They Got
You need balance and wholeness in life to be an effective peacemaker..........................................2
Thirty-Six Stories Stories from 10 countries, ranging from the work of an at-home parent to that of a UN official........6
From Oneself Through Community Into Systems Our alumni hunger to get to the roots of the cycles of destruction they are dealing with ......28
10 Hopes and Prayers Recommendations from our early alumni for the future of CJP.........................................31
6 28 32
Lingering Impressions This alumni group has had more impact than anyone dreamed when they were students......32
The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) is rooted in the Mennonite peace tradition of Christianity. CJP prepares and supports individuals and institutions of diverse religious and philosophical backgrounds in the creation of a just and peaceful world. CJP is based at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and offers a masters-level degree and certificate, as well as non-degree training through its Summer Peacebuilding Institute and its Practice and Training Institute. The latter also offers expert consultancy. Donations to CJP are tax-deductible and support the program, the university that houses it, scholarships for peace and justice students, and other essentials. Visit www.emu.edu/cjp for more information.
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EARLIEST CJP STUDENTS PRIZE THE ‘LENS’ THEY ACQUIRED
Who would come from half-way around the world to enroll in a program at Eastern Mennonite University that was so new, no college catalog listed it? Sam Gbaydee Doe did. From Liberia. Initially, the plump squirrels running around campus dismayed him: They could be food for very hungry people in his war-torn homeland. He himself would have welcomed eating a scrap from a squirrel not long before. Today [November 2010] Doe is a “development and reconciliation advisor” with the United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka, thanks in part to his master’s degree in conflict transformation from EMU. Herein we explore the lives and reflections of the first group of students to complete EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program (CTP), now called graduate studies in conflict transformation under the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP). In this series of articles, the acronyms “CTP” and “CJP” will appear somewhat interchangeably, depending on the interviewee and the years referenced.
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CJP’s first MA students
Jim Bernat, who got his bachelor's degree at George Mason University (GMU), preferred EMU's "reflective practice" orientation over GMU's theoretical focus in opting to earn his MA at EMU.
CJP’s first non-credit students, 40 of them, enrolled in the 1994 Frontiers of International Peacebuilding, the earliest version of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute. The first for-credit students were two US-born Mennonites: Jonathan Bartsch, raised in Pennsylvania, and Jim Hershberger, raised in Kansas. In the fall of 1994, both men began graduate classes, hoping that their MA in conflict transformation program would be accredited by the time they finished. (The program became accredited in the fall of 1996; the men graduated the following spring.) The first courses taken by Bartsch and Hershberger were done mainly as a combination of independent study and one-on-one sessions with the founding director of CJP, John Paul Lederach, and sociologist Vernon Jantzi, author of CJP’s first curriculum. CJP’s first MA students came with extensive experience beyond the United States. Bartsch had studied at the University of Cairo and Birzeit University near Ramallah in Palestine and could speak Arabic. Hershberger had lived for eight years in Nicaragua as a Mennonite Central Committee volunteer and could speak Spanish. In January of 1995, they were joined by Moe Kyaw Tun, a former resistance supporter from a region in Asia occupied by the Karen people, but brutally controlled by the government of the Union of Myanmar (more commonly known as Burma). Tun was also multilingual. Ron Kraybill, who helped shape the new program while finishing his PhD in religion in South Africa, also came aboard that January as CJP’s first professor hired exclusively for the program. Hizkias Assefa, an internationally renowned mediator based in Kenya, taught each summer from the beginning. By the summer and fall of 1995, word had spread, mostly via circles frequented by Lederach, Jantzi and Kraybill. The program grew exponentially, enabling EMU to hire Howard Zehr to teach restorative justice in 1996, soon followed by the hiring of two more faculty members, Lisa Schirch and Nancy Good. Bartsch, Hershberger, and Tun were joined in the fall of 1995 by 12 more students, including four women. By the fall of 2000, six years after CJP first opened its doors, 37 people had earned master’s degrees or graduate certificates and more than 900 had attended its Summer Peacebuilding Institute. CJP’s first several dozen graduate students now have had 10 to 13 years to gauge the impact of their studies on their lives and work. For the fall/winter 2010-11, Peacebuilder staff sought to contact each of the 37 to collect their reflections. We succeeded in locating 36 of them, 21 men and 15 women. Without exception, the 36 felt positive about what they “got” from CJP. Many spoke about how their studies influenced their interpersonal relationships, including those within their immediate family. Those who came directly from conflict-ridden situations also spoke about the need for respite, for recharging their inner batteries. Gilberto Peréz Jr., who completed a graduate certificate in 1999, recalls the ever-present physical violence in south Texas, where he grew up. Even in his family, it was no surprise when he hit his sister. Today, he and his wife Denise, a 1992 EMU alumna who majored in Spanish and elementary education, “work hard Photo by Jon Photo by Jon StyerStyer
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at having a non-violent household.” They use such techniques as paraphrasing what someone has said and reframing things. Says Pérez: “My [12-year-old] daughter will stand there and tell her [younger] brother, ‘I’m mad at you.’ That’s not what I would have done when I was her age – I would have belted him.” Babu Ayindo, MA ’98, says when he was growing up in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, he experienced violence every day of his life. He feels he carries the potential for violence within him, as he thinks most of us do. He and his wife Miriam have taught their children that reacting violently is a short-term act with long-term repercussions. Babu explains: Momentarily it gives you a good feeling. You’re annoyed, so you kick a chair, or you punch the wall or punch someone. You project on someone else, someone you can easily blame. But if you take your time and reflect on it then you realize that it’s not the best way out. It’s an easy way out, it feels good, but you also live with the trauma you are inflicting on others. You also become a traumatized person. Sandra Dunsmore began courses at EMU while living in El Salvador, where her early Quaker-sponsored peace work involved (in part) listening to people linked to death squads. “I needed some space to think through what I had been involved in, to reflect in a guided way. I hadn’t done a particularly good job of taking care of myself. I couldn’t continue as I had been living.” On the professional level, 33 of the 36 respondents (92%) mentioned specific ways they have carried their CJP studies into their work as non-profit administrators, mediators, trainers, social
“How many children like you are dying right now throughout this country? How many have been swallowed in the madness of adults?”
— Sam Gbaydee Doe
service workers, teachers, and other roles. Jim Bernat, who studied at CJP while working as a mental health specialist in a region 90 minutes from Harrisonburg, says his graduate education helped him “refocus his being, thinking and practice around the principles of justice and nonviolence.” Bernat is in his 25th year of working for the same governmentsupported community services board as he did in his CJP days, though he is now an administrator. From his CJP-influenced perspective, Bernat sees justice as “not just what one sees in a court of law, but as an everyday matter: How do we treat our employees here? Do our clients feel valued, and our staff too? How am I contributing to our sense of community?” In fact, the most enduring trait acquired at CJP, said a majority of the respondents, is viewing the world through distinctive lens. 4
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Sam Gbaydee Doe of Liberia at EMU in the spring of 1997. Babu Ayindo of Kenya (right) remains a close friend of Doe's. With Doe working in Sri Lanka for the UN, they now mainly communicate via Skype.
This has proved to be personally transformative. Daagya Dick, MA ’00, who fostered a network of peacebuilders in Central America from 2000 to 2003, said CJP taught her about shifting “from destructive dynamics to positive dynamics.” She said she gained an “understanding of how people work and what human needs are and how to respond to those needs in a way that people can be positively engaged.” She liked the way the program encouraged “balance and wholeness in life in order to be an effective peacemaker.” Dick, who now teaches Spanish in a public high school in Kansas, added: “You can call on these skills anywhere you work.” Christine Poulson, MA ’98, used similar words: “What I learned at CTP would be useful to anybody doing anything. It gave me a better understanding of the world and of myself. I became a more reflective person. I am better at prioritizing what is really important to me.”
Experiences from 33 countries
That first group of 21 men and 15 women brought rich experience to CTP. They were diverse in almost every respect – age, nationality, ethnicity, and motivation for coming to the thennew program. They were not diverse in religion, however. Most of them were Mennonite-style Christians – eight arrived directly from service with Mennonite Central Committee – though there were also Catholics and mainstream Protestants. One student was exploring Native American religions. But there were no practicing Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or Jews. These arrived in later years. In addition to the United States, the 36 students had lived in 33 places: Angola, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Britain, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Karen territory (officially part of Burma/Myanmar), Kenya,
Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nagaland (officially part of India), Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam. About 60% of these graduate students had survived civil wars or other society-wide violence. Sam Gbaydee Doe of Liberia, one of the 12 students entering CJP in its second year, told this story in When You Are the Peacebuilder, a spiral-bound book published by CJP in 2001: In December of 1989, I was only two semesters away from achieving my dream [to finish a degree in economics and accounting and become a banker] when the Liberian civil war began. By May of 1990, the rebels had captured every part of the country except the executive mansion where the president was hiding. By July, 1990, we had gone without food for nearly three months and were hiding under beds and between concrete corners most of the day. One day there was a temporary ceasefire and I decided to take a walk, just to flex my muscles. While walking around this slum community, I came across a young boy, lying under the eaves of a public school. I remember his face like it was yesterday. He was just skin and bones. I stood over him for quite a while. His mouth was open. Flies were feeding on his saliva. In a surreal moment, I raced to a nearby community to find something edible. I found some popcorn being sold for fifty cents. I bought some and dashed back to this child. I stooped over him, slipped a few pieces of the popcorn into his mouth, and waited anxiously to see him chew the popcorn and regain his strength. ‘Chew your popcorn, you innocent child,’ I said to myself, ‘God has answered your prayer.’ About ten minutes passed by but his little mouth remained frozen. It must have been half an hour later when, with a last rush of energy, he opened his eyes wide and looked at me. Our eyes locked. He shook his head, and closed his eyes. After several minutes, his movements slowed and eventually stopped. The child had given up the ghost. I began to cry profusely. I asked myself, “How many children like you are dying right now throughout this country? How many have been swallowed in the madness of adults?’ I made a pledge to that boy: I would work for peace so that children could live… I have never turned my back on the promise I made to that nameless and faceless child.
From one success to another
Doe went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in the field of peace, co-found what is now the largest peace organization in Africa (WANEP), join the staff of the United Nations, and spend several years in Sri Lanka, helping that country emerge from 30 years of civil war. In the long term, he sees himself working in Africa once again. Periodically, Doe teaches at EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI). He will teach “conflict-sensitive development” at SPI 2011. He will also attend EMU's graduation ceremony in the late spring, proudly watching as his daughter, Samfee Doe, receives her bachelor’s degree. — Bonnie Price Lofton, MA '04 (conflict transformation) Editor and writer of Peacebuilder
Our 36 Alumni These 21 men and 15 women arrived at CJP from 1994 through 1998 after having lived and worked in a total of 33 countries. They all completed their studies before 2001. These are CJP’s earliest graduates (with their current place of residence), except for one we could not locate.
BABU AYINDO, MA ’98 // Kisumu, Kenya
Nathan Barge, MA ’99 // Harrisonburg, Virginia
Jonathan Bartsch, MA ’97 // Boulder, Colorado
Jim Bernat, MA ’00 // Culpeper, Virginia
Atieno Bird, MA ’99 // Washington DC
Wilbur Bontrager, MA ’99 // Shortsville, New York
Laura Brenneman, MA ’00, PhD // Bluffton, Ohio
Michael Clymer, MA ’99 // Meridian, Mississippi
Daagya Dick, MA ’00 // McPherson, Kansas
10. Sam Gbaydee Doe, MA ’98, PhD // Colombo, Sri Lanka 11. Sandra Dunsmore, Grad. Cert. ’97 //
12. C. Dave Dyck, MA ’00 // Winnipeg, Canada 13. Janet Evergreen, MA ’98 // Charlottesville, Virginia 14. Jeff Heie, MA ’00 // Chorlton-cum-Hardy, England 15. Jim Hershberger, MA ’97 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 16. Hadley Jenner, Grad. Cert. ’97 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 17. Janice Jenner, MA ’99 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 18. Tammy Krause, MA ’99 // Chorlton-cum-Hardy, England 19. Hannah mack Lapp, MA ’98 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 20. AkÜm Longchari, MA ’00 // Dimapur, Nagaland (India) 21. Fidele Lumeya, MA ’00 // Washington DC 22. Pat Hostetter Martin, MA ’98 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 23. Alastair McKay, MA ’99 // London, England 24. Jean Ndayizigiye, MA ’00 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 25. lina Maria Obando, MA ’00 // San Jose, Costa Rica 26. Patricia Patton, MA ’00 // Hagerstown, Maryland 27. Gilberto PerÉz Jr., Grad. Cert. ’99 // Goshen, Indiana 28. Christine Poulson, MA ’98 // Staunton, Virgina 29. Randy Puljek-Shank, MA ’99 // Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina 30. Krista Rigalo, MA ’00, PhD // Arlington, Virginia 31. Timothy Ruebke, MA ’99 // Harrisonburg, Virginia 32. Dave Schwinghamer, Grad Cert. ’97 // Hastings, Minnesota 33. Emily Stanton, MA ’00 // Belfast, Northern Ireland 34. Barb Toews, MA ’00 // Lancaster, Pennsylvania 35. Moe KYAW Tun, MA ’97 // Ashburn, Virginia 36. Alfiado Zunguza, MA ’99 // Maputo, Mozambique
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THIRTY-SIX STORIES In the late 1990s, the first students enrolling in the graduate program of what is now the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) – then known as the Conflict Transformation Program (CTP) – came from backgrounds that differed so widely, it is hard to believe that most of them now refer to certain shared values, to having a common base, as if they were members of one family, even if scattered around the globe functioning in vastly different work environments.
Consultant for training/research on peace, social justice & economic empowerment
Babu Ayindo, MA ’98 Kisumu, Kenya
Babu Ayindo grew up in the slums of Nairobi, where he says people experience injustice and violence daily and often wonder whether life is worth living. After finishing the BEd program at Kenyatta University, Babu became the founding artistic director of the Amani People’s Theatre in Nairobi. “It was inspired by Brazilian educators Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal,” he says. “Our drama aimed at not just entertaining, but also raising questions on peace and social justice, so that communities could join in both the acting and in seeking collective solutions to the problems their communities were facing.” Babu elaborates on the role of the arts in conflict transformation in Peacebuilding in Traumatized Societies, a 2008 book edited by EMU professor Barry Hart. Babu’s chapter is titled “Arts Approaches to Peace: Playing Our Way to Transcendence.” In 2009-10, Babu consulted in over 10 countries besides his own Kenya. Recently, he has been a consultant to the German foundation Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, the Austrian foundation DKA, the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Horn and Great Lakes of Africa, Catholic Relief Services in Kenya, and PACT Kenya. He has taught peacebuilding, often linked to the arts, around the world, including at the Peace Center of the Mindolo Ecumenical Peace Foundation (Zambia), the Caux Scholars Program (Switzerland), Mindanao Peace Institute (Philippines), Canadian School of Peacebuilding, American University in Washington DC, the JustPeace Youth Camp in the Fiji Islands, and EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI).
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Babu frequently collaborates with what he jokingly calls the “EMU mafia,” referring to the thousands of people who have come through one of CJP’s programs, such as the MA program, SPI and STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience). “I meet the ‘EMU mafia’ not just in Africa, but all over the world – from Winnipeg [Canada] to the Fiji Islands – while doing trainings, research and social action processes within civil society and government,” he says. When not traveling for work, Babu focuses on cultivating a healthy relationship with nature, acknowledging it as the sustainer of all life. Babu, his wife Miriam, and three children – 16-year-old Biko, 11-year-old Sankara, and 6-year-old Che – grow much of what they consume on their quarter-acre farm in the peri-urban city of Kisumu. They raise cattle, goats, and chickens and grow passion fruit, mangos, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, and onions. Read more about Babu in an article published in the fall/ winter 2006 issue of Peacebuilder (www.emu.edu/peacebuilder/ fall06/threats.html). It talks about Babu’s role in a workshop in rural southern Sudan that was threatened by drunken, armed men in a pick-up truck.
PhotoS courtesy EMU/CJP archives
Head of in-take team for school system
CEO, mediation/facilitation organization
Nathan Barge, MA ’99 Harrisonburg, Virginia
As director of the “Welcome Center” of the Harrisonburg public school system, Nathan Barge leads the team that registers, evaluates and places hundreds of incoming students. About half of these come from households that speak a language other than English. Barge himself speaks Spanish, in addition to his native English, having spent 14 years with his wife, Elaine, in Latin America as a volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee. In the early 1990s, Nathan and Elaine led grassroots groups from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to Colombia to take classes with teachers and practitioners with the JustaPaz organization, four of whom helped shape CJP: John Paul Lederach, Vernon Jantzi, Ricardo Esquivia, and Paul Stucky. The older of two Barge daughters, Rebecca, was born in a war zone in El Salvador, and the family was almost killed when caught in a battle. Co-workers were imprisoned and interrogated. The family also lived through an earthquake. Such experiences drove home the fragility of life and helped them to understand the common expression, “I will see you tomorrow, God willing.” Nathan entered EMU as a graduate student in 1995 as a way of processing what the family had experienced, retooling for new work, and studying a subject that interested him. As he neared the end of his MA studies, he started a restorative justice program in Harrisonburg in 1999, but left it in 2004 for the school system job. The move was necessary to put the family on better financial footing before the Barge daughters entered college. Nathan continues to do volunteer work as a mediator and restorative justice practitioner. Formerly, he was board president of Gemeinshaft, a Harrisonburg program to assist ex-prisoners to transition to living productively in mainstream society.
Jonathan Bartsch, MA ’97 Boulder, Colorado
Jonathan Bartsch’s organization, CDR – which stands for Collaborative Decision Resources – was founded in 1978, making it one of the oldest mediation and facilitation organizations in the United States. CDR’s 12 facilitators and two support staff are nationally known for facilitating discussions between people affected by, or involved in, plans made by multiple federal, state, and local governmental entities. As Jonathan explains, “I design and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborative processes to address public policy disputes.” He has particular expertise in helping regions to consider and thoughtfully address environmental concerns linked to the shortage of water and the building of highways. As an example, he facilitated the Governor’s Water Policy Task Force in Nebraska, which included 49 diverse water users and resulted in a new law for managing and addressing surface and groundwater conflicts. Internationally (approximately 25% of CDR’s work is international), Jonathan has consulted with the Korean and Japanese governments on two controversial highway projects, discussing various approaches to stakeholder engagement and negotiation. Prior to entering CJP, Jonathan spent several years in Egypt, Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan, building on his Pennsylvania State University studies in Arabic and the Middle East as an undergraduate. He has studied and taught at the American University of Cairo, Birzeit University outside Ramallah (Palestine), and at the Islamic University of Afghanistan (during the Taliban era). He and his wife, Juliette, have also lived in Peshawar, Pakistan, where they worked for MCC and consulted with CARE, Save the Children and some other non-profit organizations. They have a son and a daughter.
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Manager of quality improvement, community services board
Jim Bernat, MA ’00 Madison, Virginia
For the last 25 years, Jim Bernat has worked in Culpeper, Virginia, a town that is mid-way between the two universities in his state that offer master’s degrees pertaining to conflict transformation: EMU and George Mason University (GMU). Jim holds an undergraduate degree in counseling from GMU. But he passed up a chance to get a master’s degree at his alma mater “for a fraction of the cost of going to EMU,” because he preferred the practice focus of EMU’s program and because he felt more welcomed by EMU. Jim started his multi-decade career with the RapidanRappahannock Community Services Board as a substance abuse counselor, working with lots of people who had criminal records. Today he is an administrator, charged with supporting and improving the work of 300 employees in three clinics serving thousands of people with mental health problems. He calls Howard Zehr his “most quoted person” and only wishes CJP had offered courses on organizational development when he was a student. (It does now.) On a sobering note, Jim says: “Our system is clearly broken, because we’re seeing the second generation of people we saw when we first came here.
The cycle is continuing.” Jim had to hold onto his job while he was taking CJP classes – his income was needed for his family of four – so he commuted 90 minutes to class and home immediately afterwards. “As a commuter, there is something you do lose,” he says, referring to his absence of bonds with his fellow classmates. He would recommend that commuting students try to do at least one semester in residence or live on campus for the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.
Independent personal & executive coach
Atieno Bird, MA ’99 Washington DC
Atieno (known as Jennifer Atieno Fisher when at CTP) has led retreats and team coaching for the World Bank, NASA, the Small Business Association, Accenture, Adventist Health, police departments, public service agencies, hospitals, schools and non-profits. She has coached over 100 private clients, 30 young leaders from the Middle East, and 20 large teams of election campaign volunteers. She has provided experiential training for about 1,000 professionals. Then, on June 30, 2010, Atieno and her husband Shawn had their first child, Samia Luisa. Two months later she posted this humorous item on her Facebook page: “Nurse, check, walk dogs, check, groceries, check, nurse, check, sweep, check, plants, check, laundry, check, nurse [and so on],” prompting one friend to reply, “LOL. I remember those days” and another to write, “Funny, you sound like a mother.” Interviewed for Peacebuilder, Atieno explained that she continues to coach clients via telephone and is still able to lead team retreats and trainings for government agencies and occasional stress reduction workshops in the community. She
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leads a group coaching class for her non-agency clients and has recently added a weight-loss coaching business line. She noted she is certified as a psychodramatist, yoga instructor, executive coach, and practitioner of appreciative inquiry. Atieno observed that her professional interests cross the lines of traditional disciplines – she was pleased with what she learned in her MA in conflict transformation program, but she also would have felt comfortable earning a master’s degree in counseling, social work or organizational development.
Founder, restorative justice center
Religion, peace & conflict studies professor
Wilbur “WillY” Bontrager ’69, MA ’99 Shortsville, New York
In the late 1960s, around the time of his first stint as an EMU student, Willy Bontrager did voluntary service in the Congo for two years and in Nigeria for a year and a half. Upon returning home, he spent a couple of decades as a dairy farmer in western New York State. Willy next tried his hand at a "thoroughly boring" bakery business. He underwent training in the Quaker-founded Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) and became an AVP volunteer in Attica Prison, a high-security institution near his home. After a volatile prison incident that he handled successfully, he began talking to his first cousin, Vernon Jantzi, about EMU’s fledgling program in conflict transformation. Willy was then 55 years old, with a son in grade 8 and a daughter in grade 1. Was it foolish of him to pursue a master’s degree at a university located almost 8 hours by car from his home? With the support of his wife, a school psychologist, Willy finally decided to enroll. He drove the 16-hour round-trip to weekend and summer classes for four years. The next stage in Willy's history is described on www.pirirochester.org, the website of Partners in Restorative Justice Initiatives. It reads, in part: While completing his master’s degree in restorative justice at Eastern Mennonite University in March 1998, Will Bontrager gathered members of Rochester’s governmental departments, nonprofit agencies, victim advocacy groups and interested individuals to introduce them to the principles of restorative justice. Less than two years later, in May 2000, Bontrager founded the Finger Lakes Restorative Justice Center. He directed the center until 2003, then stepped away because “I disliked intensely applying for grants,” and he felt fresh energy was needed. Today the center has reached dozens of schools, courts and communities – and hundreds of people – in western New York State through trainings, facilitations and presentations. Some schools arrange for all their personnel to be trained in restorative practices, including doing circles in the classroom. In one recent year, the organization handled 40 cases referred from area courts. Comments Willy: “You never know when you start something, how it will turn out and how many people you will impact.”
Laura Brenneman ’96, MA ’00, PhD Bluffton, Ohio
After completing a bachelor’s degree at EMU in 1996, Laura Brenneman joined Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago where she was an activist for human rights through 1998. She was among delegations that visited the US Congress, advocating for a change in foreign policy in Latin America to reduce human rights abuses. She also organized delegations to Cuba and Guatemala, and she “went after Nike, The Gap, Disney, and other corporations with sweatshops around the world.” Today, as a professor who explores the intersection between religion and conflict transformation work, Laura values the way CJP is willing to deal with the “tension” between the concepts of peace and justice. Pushing for justice tends to cause disharmony, at least in the short term, she says. “Folks who feel comfortable with the way things are will see you as an irritant if you point out that the existing structure is unjust, that oppression is structuralized.” Laura is not the type to parse her words. She views the lack of access to health care for all US citizens as “scandalous,” adding that it is “egregious to be willing to throw away the most vulnerable in our society.” Laura supports activism more than engaging in it these days: “It takes a lot of time to be an activist, and I can’t do my teaching job and that too. I have to trust that other people are doing what I can’t do.” Concurrently with earning her MA at CJP, Laura earned a second MA at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, followed by a PhD from the University of Durham in the United Kingdom. In her classes, she never misses the opportunity to highlight “the economic disparity between the rich and the poor, and what systems lead us to this disparity.” But she also tells her students not to feel that the problems are so big, they are impossible to solve. “The trick is not to be immobilized by the fact that we can’t do everything or see quick results. I tell my students to start at the local level by breaking down the barriers in our own community between the rich and the poor and by working to get food, shelter and clothes to those who need it.” Laura is also working to establish restorative justice and mediation programs in the Bluffton area.
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Math teacher, church leader
Daagya Dick, MA ’00 McPherson, Kansas
Michael Clymer, MA ’99 Meridian, Mississippi
Mike Clymer learned of CTP while he and his wife Melody were doing voluntary service with Mennonite Central Committee in southeastern Africa. “I found it a great way to help me process and reflect on my experiences in Swaziland and to explore what I wanted to do next.” Toward the end of his master’s studies, Melody gave birth to their first child, Silas, causing the couple to consider where they wanted to settle and raise children. They ended up joining several friends in Meridian, Mississippi, not far from where they had lived for four years early in their marriage. “It was an opportunity for us to live and serve in a diverse community, with like-minded believers at similar stages in life, in a culture to which we felt called to return,” said Mike. Mike is a math teacher in the local public high school. He is a lay leader in the Mennonite church in Meridian and has done interfaith community organizing in the city. “Our time here has been filled with many of the joys and challenges that come with living on the cultural ‘edge’ – close to issues of race, poverty, education, and politicalsocial-religious conflict.” Mike notes that peace-justice voices tend to be “marginalized and isolated” in Mississippi. Nevertheless, he said he “tries to view my work, my church, and my community through peace-justice lenses, and I try to share that perspective as I can.” He says he uses the lessons he learned at CTP “every day in my roles at the urban high school where I teach math, in my family, and at my church.” The Clymers now have three children.
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When Daagya Dick applied to enter CTP in 1996, she recalls that speaking a language in addition to English was an entrance requirement. (That requirement was quickly dropped, since it eliminated many prospective students.) Raised as a Mennonite in California, Daagya became fluent in Spanish while on a Bethel College (Kansas) program in Mexico. In 1998, Daagya took her CTP lessons to Guatemala, where she did her practicum with Mennonite Central Committee, working to build a regional network for peace and justice. The idea was to offer trainings close to home for aspiring peacebuilders in Central America, including southern Mexico. She worked there until 2003, marrying a Guatemalan lawyer, Juan Coy, who was an indigenous person. The couple shared a strong interest in human rights, and they planned to remain in Guatemala to work for greater justice. The birth of their first child, Josue, changed their plans dramatically. Mother and son had almost died during the birth, and physicians feared that Josue might need ongoing sophisticated medical care, available in the United States but not in Guatemala. The family quickly moved to Kansas, where Daagya had graduated from college and had close family members. Unable to work as a lawyer in the United States, Juan has taken primary responsibility for the care of Josue and their second child, Diego, while Daagya teaches Spanish in the local school system. She also runs the school’s program for “at risk” students. Now that Josue is a healthy second grader, and Diego is in kindergarten, the family is looking to return to Latin America with Mennonite Central Committee before the boys finish elementary school. The boys have been raised speaking Spanish at home.
United Nations development & reconciliation advisor
10. Sam Gbaydee Doe, MA ’98, PhD Colombo, Sri Lanka
Fourteen years ago, Sam Gbaydee Doe came to CTP from his native land of Liberia, where about 10% of the population had died, or would die, in one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars, from 1989 to 1996, followed by a shorter war, from 1999 to 2003. Liberian warlords used child soldiers to commit atrocities – rape and murder people of all ages and genders, including members of the children’s own families. Liberia’s civil war claimed lives from nearly every Liberian family, displaced most from their homes, and reduced the country’s economy to rubble. The strife also spread to Liberia’s neighbors, contributing to the destabilization of all of West Africa. Sam needed a place to recover personally from the trauma he had experienced, as well as a place to explore ways to prevent such barbarity from occurring again. Encouraged by Barry Hart (a future CJP professor) – whom Sam met while both were doing conflict transformation and trauma awareness workshops in Liberia – and financially assisted by the Mennonite Board of Missions, Sam came to EMU in May of 1996. In October 1998, at the end of his MA studies, Sam teamed up with a later graduate of CTP, Emmanuel Bombande (MA ’02) to launch the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). Sam became its first executive director. “I left EMU fired up to translate a dream into a reality,” Sam said in a September 2010 interview. “I dreamed of a regional movement of civil society that would collaborate with regional intergovernmental bodies to restore not just stability in Africa but democratic freedom and prosperity. I dreamed of establishing an early-warning system throughout civil society that would head off violent conflict. Those dreams became reality in just five years. The profound thing was the speed at which ordinary people mobilized for peace.” As an example, WANEP provided support to a Liberian social worker Leymah Gbowee, who organized the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. This grassroots women’s organization was instrumental in ending Liberia’s war in 2003 and facilitating the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of an African nation. (Leymah is a 2007 MA grad.) With seed money of $90,000 from the Winston Foundation, WANEP grew in two years from grouping 13 organizational representatives from six countries to 300 member groups from 14 countries. By 2000, WANEP’s annual budget was $1.2 million. By 2004, its budget had doubled. Sam incredulously asks himself: “How did we get from no organization in 1998 to being the largest peacebuilding organization in Africa in 2004, with 22 staff members [at its headquarters in Accra, Ghana] and offices in 14 other countries?” WANEP now runs its own version of SPI, the West African Peacebuilding Institute. Few people or organizations make headline news for civil
wars prevented, numbers of child soldiers quietly rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, or elections held without major violence. Yet WANEP and its partner organizations deserve much credit for their contributions to the growing stability of the majority of the countries in West Africa. In 2004 Sam began working toward a doctorate in peace studies at the University of Bradford in England. The next year, he went to work for the United Nations as a consultant to its Liberia Mission, followed by a one-year stint with the UN Development Programme Pacific Regional Office in Fiji. Since 2007 Sam has worked for the UN in Sri Lanka. He completed his doctorate in the spring of 2010. “After my intense work in West Africa, I felt I needed another opportunity to retreat, reflect, and reengage,” he explains. His doctorate dissertation was on “indigenizing post-war state reconstruction,” a topic that links building peace to building a stable, democratic state. As an advisor and analyst in a country emerging from 30 years of civil war, Sam oversees trainings on conflict-sensitive development, dialogue and reconciliation, and other topics in Sri Lanka. Sam is the 2002 recipient of EMU's annual Distinguished Service Award.
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Latin America director for charity founded by George Soros
A block from the White House, the Washington DC office of Open Society Foundations is in a building on Pennsylvania Avenue with a spectacular view of downtown Washington, as visible behind Sandra Dunsmore's pose on the roof of that building.
11. Sandra Dunsmore, Grad. Cert. ’97 Washington, D.C.
Before Sandra Dunsmore became a CTP student, she worked for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in El Salvador. During the last two years of El Salvador's war, from 1990 to 1992, she met with, listened to, and encouraged the leaders of labor, peasant and business organizations to enter into a process of dialogue about the future of their country. After the war ended, Sandra acted as executive secretary to the Economic and Social Forum, a mechanism established by the 1992 Peace Accords. “Although the forum never addressed deep-rooted economic and social issues, as envisioned by many of us at its beginning, I continued despite its limitations because I wanted the government, business and popular leaders involved to experience the potential of multi-sector negotiation,” she told Peacebuilder. “Those were intense and hard years. I never admitted to AFSC the psychological toll that my work was taking.” While still in El Salvador, Sandra was able take Ron Kraybill’s “disciplines to sustain the peacebuilder” course via email correspondence. “The course was hugely important for me. Ron played an important role in helping me process my experiences and regain energy for future peacebuilding work.” During the 13 years since finishing her graduate studies, however, it is the teachings of John Paul Lederach that have proved to be the most enduring aspect of her EMU experience. “His approach to conflict transformation has informed every-
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thing that I have done professionally.” Sandra, who is a native of Winnipeg, Canada, spent a total of 13 years in Central America. In addition to the AFSC, she worked for the Organization of American States where she headed up the team that developed their first peacebuilding program, and consulted for the United Nations Development Programme and for USAID. She returned to Canada to be president of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, which trains thousands of people annually for peace operations globally. As Latin America director for Open Society Foundations, Sandra leads a team of eight in Washington DC and three consultants in Latin America to determine how to disperse the Open Society’s grant money in Latin America. As befits the vision of Open Society’s founder, George Soros, the Latin America program is focused on support for democratic governance – notably citizen security, access to information, transparency and accountability, human rights and improved public policies (including changes in US foreign policy relative to Latin America).
Professional in mediation and conflict
Healer & teacher, spiritual director
12. C. Dave Dyck, MA ’00
13. Janet Evergreen, MA ’98
Reflecting on the 10 years since he finished his master’s degree, Dave Dyck says two memories loom large: (1) The joyful time spent in community, experiencing meaningful relationships. (2) The way that his restorative justice professor, Howard Zehr, “handed off power.” Dave recalls that Howard had a way of empowering others, of encouraging his students to come along with him. “Howard is a busy man – he could easily be excused for not grooming other people. But he always found time to be helpful to others in his humble way.” Immediately after graduation, Dave founded and coordinated Circles of Support & Accountability, a program aimed at the safe re-integration of sex offenders in his hometown of Winnipeg. In 1999, the art interests of Dave’s wife, Tammy Sutherland, took them to Nova Scotia, where he became the lead trainer of people working with the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Initiative. This program brought restorative justice options into the court system for all youth in the province. In 2003, the couple returned to Winnipeg, where Dave offers his services through two agencies: (1) Facilitated Solutions, where he is one of the partners/owners among nine mediators and conflict-management specialists, and (2) Mediation Services, a community-based, conflict resolution agency where he serves as a trainer and volunteer victim-offender mediator. From 2001 through 2004, Dave taught at EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI). He now teaches at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding, which opened in 2009 at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. The school is co-directed by Jarem Sawatsky, a 2001 alumnus of CJP, and is organized similarly to SPI. Dave and Tammy have two sons, aged 3 and 4. Dave has given up one workday, Monday, to be their full-time caregiver on that day. (Tammy, a textile artist who also coordinates the Manitoba Craft Council, stays home with them on Wednesday and Thursday. Grandparents and paid caregivers cover the other two weekdays.) Dave notes that it has been both humbling and fun to try to mediate the disputes that arise among the boys.
Janet Evergreen says she was encouraged to enroll in CTP in the late 1990s by her mentor, Louise Diamond, PhD, co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, founder of the Peace Company, and now founder and director of Global Systems Initiatives. Janet commuted an hour from her home in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attended the Summer Peacebuilding Institute for three years. She has had a lifelong focus on what she calls “heart connections”: caring for her and her husband’s biological, adopted and foster children; traveling to learn and teach holistic health; growing spiritually with practice and extended retreats; mind/body training, including continuum movement, yoga; and doing advanced bodywork such as cranial-sacral therapy, embryology and neuroscience. She also enjoys writing and publishing poetry about her life and adventures. In 2004 Janet traveled to India. After teaching at the Dalai Lama’s Village for Handicapped Children, she met an Ecuadorian who had become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He encouraged her to travel to Quito, Ecuador, to teach at a school called INEPE. Since 2007, Janet has been the spiritual director for INEPE, a community school inspired by Paulo Freire’s principles to honor the whole child, their culture and spiritual development. The school educates 600 children at its main location and has outreach programs that reach over 1,800 indigenous adults from Amazonia and other remote areas. Janet spends two to three weeks annually at the school, teaching peacebuilding, mediation, bodywork and meditation. She has also made a commitment to help raise funds for INEPE. “My training at EMU brought all my skills together and prepared me to teach internationally,” she told Peacebuilder. “EMU helped develop my faith to hear the calling, and respond.” Janet closed her 25-year holistic healing practice in 2008, to allow “for a ripening of my learning and growing.” She says she needed the time to take better care of herself and to further explore her Tibetan Buddhism. For more information on Janet, INEPE, and Janet’s other activities, visit her website, www.janetevergreen.org.
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Activist, amateur filmmaker, father
Director, refugee resettlement program
14. Jeff Heie, MA ’00
15. Jim Hershberger ’82, MA ’97
Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, England
Before enrolling in EMU in 1996, Jeff Heie and his soon-to-be-wife Tammy Krause joined two other volunteers in working for Christian Peacemaker Teams in Washington D.C. on violence reduction. The foursome did crime analysis, a listening project, organized neighborhood patrols, and facilitated community meetings. Jeff then moved in the summer of 1995 to help launch Christian Peacemaker’s Hebron project on the West Bank of Palestine, before rejoining Tammy in Harrisonburg. For his master’s degree practicum, Jeff joined fellow CTP students Nathan Barge and Tim Ruebke in trying to put something they called “restorative justice initiatives” on firm footing in Harrisonburg. After their first son, Noah, was born in July 1998, Jeff and Tammy agreed that her work with crime victims in federal death-penalty cases was at a critical stage of development and had great potential for making positive changes in the national criminal justice system. So Tammy kept working, and Jeff became the at-home parent for Noah, joined three years later by another son, Sam. The boys are now 12- and 9-years-old. “Having made the decision to be the primary caregiver to my sons (which turned out not to be a good career decision!), I am humbled and often frustrated by my lack of ability to resolve conflict within my own family,” he wrote in an e-mail to Peacebuilder from their current home in Manchester, England. Concerned about the kind of earth his sons will inherit, Jeff has become an environmental activist on the local level. He chairs Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, an event that he helped found and that he anticipates will continue annually. The festival educates the Chorlton community about issues such as local food production, renewable energy, bicycling, carbon footprints, energy efficiency, and green building. In December 2009, Jeff released a short film titled “Glocal,” viewable at www.vimeo.com/8066560. Aimed at a US audience, the film challenges viewers to become more aware of the impact of their daily routines on the environment, international relations, and personal health.
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As Jeff Heie is doing now (in 2010), Jim Hershberger defied gender stereotyping from 1990 to 1996, when he was the main caregiver for the three Hershberger children as they grew from preschool to upperelementary ages. Jim’s wife, Ann, was then a nurse with a master’s degree (she now has a PhD). The couple had served with Mennonite Central Committee for 10 years in Nicaragua. When they returned to the United States in 1990, Ann’s nursing credentials put her in the best position to be the family breadwinner. “It was difficult for me [to be a ‘househusband’ and fulltime father],” recalls Jim. “As a man, I was supposed to be out ‘hunting and gathering.’ But I now have memories that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.” He entered CTP in 1994 (one of the program’s first two full-time students) to “re-tool” himself, as he puts it. “I thought it would give me some options in terms of future employment.” Two years later Jim began work in the Harrisonburg Refugee Resettlement Office. He found his conflict transformation training handy when dealing with the school system. One teacher, for example, became frightened when a child recently arrived from Yugoslavia kept drawing pictures of tanks, bombs and people dying. Jim was able to explain that the boy’s own home had been bombed and that people close to the boy had been killed. When a hurricane devastated Nicaragua in the fall of 1998, the Hershbergers returned to that country for a year to do relief work sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee. Jim next became the pastor of Beldor Mennonite Church in Elkton, Virginia, a village 18 miles east of Harrisonburg. He pastored for nine years, sometimes addressing conflicts within his congregation, before returning to the Refugee Resettlement Program as its director in September 2010. When he was with the refugee program in the late 1990s, the clients were mostly Christians from Eastern Europe and Central America. Now (2010), they are mostly Muslims from Iraq. “This is a chance for area churches to extend hospitality to people of another faith,” Jim says.
Director, practice & training institute
16. Hadley Jenner, Grad. Cert. ’97
17. Janice “Jan” Jenner, MA ’99
Long-time work with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) seems to leave people with rich experiences and much wisdom, but not necessarily with credentials that translate into comparably responsible work in the US. Or so Hadley and Jan Jenner found after leaving their shared 7-year-long roles as MCC country representatives in Kenya. Hadley had been trained as a land planner and had worked in planning for nine years in Alaska prior to heading to Kenya. So, in Kenya, he had a particular interest in land-use and environmental matters. In 1997 when he enrolled in CTP – to “retool,” like Jim Hershberger and other returning MCC volunteers were doing, with MCC tuition assistance – Hadley became interested in conflicts arising from environmental issues. Two professors in particular, Vernon Jantzi and John Paul Lederach, encouraged Hadley to take CTP into the public policy arena by marketing CTP’s services “to help address conflict in ways that nurture healthy communities, clean environments, and robust participation in a sustainable future,” as explained in a brochure published at the time. For several years Hadley tried to realize this laudable vision, but sufficient funding never materialized. His wife was hired to write grants for CTP, which weighed in favor of the family remaining in Harrisonburg. Hadley, who had completed a master’s degree in environmental planning at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, went to work as a planner for Rockingham County. As the three Jenner children approached college age, Hadley felt he needed to find a new career path that would both challenge him and offer the family solid, stable income. So he returned to EMU and completed a BS in nursing in 2005. (He was fast-tracked through EMU's nursing program, having previously earned a BS in biology at Earlham College in 1972.) How does Hadley use his CTP training in the hospital? “I am able to connect with all of the different kinds of people who come in, to establish relationships of trust.” Yet he confesses: “I miss thinking strategically [about burning social issues], gathered with other thinkers around a table.”
Jan Jenner is outranked only by Howard Zehr for being the longestserving full-time employee currently at CJP. Over the last 13 years, she has been a student, grant writer, administrator, book author, and teacher at CJP. She and her husband Hadley formerly served with Mennonite Central Committee in Kenya. Books she co-authored – When You are the Peacebuilder: Stories and Reflections on Peacebuilding from Africa (2001) and A Handbook of International Peacebuilding: Into the Eye of the Storm (2002) – continue to be widely referenced. Most issues of Peacebuilder, for instance, cite at least one of these books. “CJP is certainly more rigorous than it was when I was a student,” Jan says. “It is larger, more structured.” She notes that the CTP graduate program began in the 1990s with professors drawn from other fields, such as sociology, religion, social work and history (of crime). By 2001, however, CJP had three professors with PhDs in the field: professors Lisa Schirch, Barry Hart and Jayne Docherty had all earned their doctorates at George Mason University’s Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. CJP’s evolution reflected a trend, says Jan: “The field has professionalized over time. It depends more on bureaucracies than individual people. It is less led by Westerners. People know a lot more about what they are doing and why. We have moved from working on an anecdotal basis to evidence-based work.” She expresses concern, though, that the field may become “too professional.” She doesn’t want people to think “they can’t do anything unless they have the right [academic] degrees. I don’t think we should be dis-empowering ‘Joe on the street’ from working for peace.” She is also concerned by the disconnection she sees between “the short-term orientation of most of the funding and the long-term commitment necessary to stabilize communities.” Jan is the behind-the-scenes administrator responsible for launching STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) after the events of 9/11 and for the founding of Coming to the Table, an initiative to deal with the legacy of slavery in the United States.
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PhD candidate in law
Active grandmother & local volunteer
18. Tammy Krause, MA ’99 Chorlton-cum-Hardy, England
Tammy Krause was the founding director of JustBridges, a group working across the United Stated to develop awareness of the needs of victims by attorneys working for the defense. She also was the first person hired by the federal government to work with victims’ families in capital cases and to do victim-sensitivity training for defense attorneys. Tammy’s first victim outreach case was with the team defending Timothy McVeigh, who was executed in 2001 for killing 168 people by bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Both Tammy and her CJP mentor, restorative justice expert Howard Zehr, were involved in that case. Tammy believes victims should be permitted a strong role in the trial process and should be able to interact with both defense and prosecuting attorneys to ensure their concerns are addressed. Tammy’s pathbreaking work on behalf of victims won her a Soros Justice Fellowship in 1999 and an Ashoka Fellowship in 2000, one of 10 awarded in North America that year for social entrepreneurship. Tammy left her death penalty work in 2007 “in order to think more critically about the decade of work I had done and in order to renew my commitment, focus, and strategy in the field.” She, her husband Jeff Heie, MA ’00, and their two young sons moved to a village near Manchester, England, to enable Tammy to pursue a PhD in law at the University of Manchester. For her doctorate, Tammy says she is “developing a new framework of victim engagement within the federal criminal justice system to address victims’ potential needs of redress, recognition, and participation without violating the rights of the accused.” She is aiming for a faculty position in the United States where “I can both teach and advocate for policy change within the federal judicial system.” Tammy credits “the values and ethos of the [CJP] program, faculty, and students for strengthening my belief that there is another way to engage people, especially people forced into the criminal justice system. It is these values that have made my work so effective – even if it appears that it ‘slows down’ progress.”
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19. Hannah Mack Lapp ’66, MA ’98 Harrisonburg, Virginia
Hannah Mack Lapp was the wife of the president of EMU when she applied in 1995 to be one of the first students admitted to the not-yet-accredited conflict transformation program. In her application essay, she pointed out “there is conflict everywhere” and mentioned the numerous places where she could use mediation and conflict transformation skills: her role as an informal diplomat for EMU alongside husband Joseph Lapp, president from 1987 to 2003; her involvement in her church; her service as a board member for the local Salvation Army; and her assistance to newly settled foreigners in Harrisonburg. Through CTP, she wrote in her application essay, she wished “to continue to learn what it means to ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.’” In the spring of 1998, Hannah did her CTP practicum in Palestine with WI’AM, a conflict resolution center founded by Zoughbi al-Zoughbi, an alumnus of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. (This organization was one of two recipients of the 2010 World Vision International Peace Prize.) Upon her return from Palestine, she continued to live up to her Myers-Briggs Type of “practical harmonizer and worker-with-people” by serving as a public relations assistant in the EMU president’s office. When her husband stepped down from the presidency in 2003, she shifted to work with elderly people at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. These days Hannah continues to welcome neighbors and friends with food and fellowship. She also provides a welcoming, restful harbor for her middle-school-aged granddaughters. Peace, Hannah believes, begins within one’s own self and home.
Co-founder & managing director of daily newspaper in Nagaland
20. Aküm Longchari, MA ’00 Dimapur, Nagaland (far northeastern India on maps)
To have any understanding of Aküm Longchari’s work, one must have some knowledge of his people, the indigenous Nagas, of his homeland, Nagaland. Nagaland is located between Burma, China and Bangladesh. For political and safety reasons, tourist visas are difficult to come by. Blogging on www.world66.com, one visitor wrote: “Nature could not have been kinder to Nagaland, the exquisitely picturesque landscape, the vibrantly colorful sunrise and sunset, lush and verdant flora, this is a land that represents unimaginable beauty, molded perfectly for a breathtaking experience.” The blogger spoke of Nagaland containing 35 major tribes and subtribes, each with “its own customs, language and dress.” Each tribe can be “easily distinguished by the colorful and intricately designed costumes, jewelry and beads that they wear.” Let us clarify here that Aküm Longchari is not a mountaintop-dwelling tribesman easily distinguished by his “costumes and beads.” Wearing factory-made clothing like most urbanites, Aküm has regularly attended, and led, peace-themed and human rights workshops in India and around the world. In addition to his MA in conflict transformation from EMU, he holds a law degree from a university in New Delhi. He has been a scholar at the Caux Institute in Switzerland and a fellow with the Salzburg Seminar. He is a PhD candidate at the University of New England in Australia, where his research focuses on the right to self-determination as a resource for peace. Parts of Aküm’s homeland fell under British administration in the 1800s. During this period, Christian missionaries assiduously converted the majority of Nagas. Today more than 90% of Nagas are practicing Christians, predominantly Baptists with some Catholics and other denominations. The official language of education and inter-country communication is English. Thus, in addition to its distant location from subcontinental India, Nagaland is set apart from India by: the prevalence of Christianity, rather than Hinduism; the dominant use of the English language, rather than Hindi; and the Nagas’ status as indigenous people who look and act differently from Indians. The entire northeast region has been embroiled in violent conflict at various points since the early 1900s. In 1997, a bilateral ceasefire agreement was signed with India’s central government to enable political negotiations to take place. Open warfare has subsided, but fundamental issues remain unresolved. Aküm paints this picture of the current situation: Nagaland has experienced human rights violations and heavy militarization, which has caused the social networks to collapse, especially during the past 60 years. This has displaced people from their land and created further divisions among the indigenous groups. There has been considerable bloodshed along tribal
and political lines among the Nagas. The Indian government does not address the problems that fuel the violence, including: the government’s oppressive conduct; high unemployment; poor health care; and a weak infrastructure. Where does Aküm personally fit into this picture? Aküm is known in his homeland for his emphasis on all parties taking responsibility for past harms, listening to each other’s truths, and working toward reconciliation in the interests of the well-being of all. He does not demonize the Indian government, but he does ask it to be “accountable,” so that a political solution can be found to the Naga struggle for self-determination. Aküm says he has been dedicated to nonviolent approaches to addressing wrongs and injustices since an early age. He was formerly with the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, which initiated people-to-people dialoguing and the “Journey of Conscience” – a nonviolent campaign for peace by Naga civil society groups. One of the ways Aküm manifests his philosophy is through the English-language newspaper he co-founded in 2005, The Morung Express. It has, he says, a “justpeace” approach to journalism. In September 2010, Aküm was honored for his peace work at the North East [India] Regional Youth Peace Festival. In 2008, Aküm and other representatives of civil society organizations formed the Naga Forum for Reconciliation, with support from members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain and members of the American Baptist Church. The forum seeks to reconcile various Naga armed groups on the basis of the historical and political rights of the Nagas. The forum has been meeting with militant groups for nearly two years. According to one participant, the groups have moved from “violence, uncertainty, mistrust and fear” to a situation of “fragile and yet substantive progress, with decreased violence.” General meetings are held in a third country and symbolic events, such as soccer matches involving teams of players from different groups, have been instrumental for paving the way toward reconciliation.
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Peacebuilding author & consultant
21. Fidele Lumeya, MA ’00
22. Pat Hostetter Martin, ’64, MA ’98
Silver Spring, Maryland
Fidele Lumeya feels that much of the material he covered to obtain his master’s degree in conflict transformation actually was embodied in African traditions of living in community, working out problems peaceably, and practicing reconciliation. Fidele articulated some of his views in a 2009 Frenchlanguage book The Culture of Peace: From Traditional African and Judeo-Christian Perspectives. He has just finished writing The Congo: The Long Road to Peace and Justice, in which he proposes Africa-rooted restorative justice practices as the way to address deep-seated, real issues rather than their symptoms. In 2001, Fidele co-wrote a training manual, African Culture: Source of Conflict, Resource for Peace, which he used in teaching an “introduction to conflict transformation” course at the African Peacebuilding Institute held at the Mindolo Ecumenical Center in Zambia. The manual has been published in English and Portuguese and has been used by the Council of Christian Churches of Angola, the Council for Church of Christ in Angola and JustaPaz, based in Mozambique. Like many of his fellow graduates of CTP, Fidele says funding is at, or near, the top of the challenges faced by people in the peacebuilding field. “Agencies will fund you for one week of training, but there is [generally] no money for follow-up, for the long-term work necessary to sustain the momentum begun by the week of training.” Fidele credits Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Catholic Relief Services and Church World Service for funding difficult work at the grassroots level year after year, decade after decade, rather than basing their funding on the social-issue fads that tend to sweep through the peacebuilding field. Fidele enrolled in CTP in 1998 after three years of working for MCC in the war-torn eastern section of the Congo and in Swaziland. After earning his master’s degree, Fidele resumed his work with MCC, this time in Zambia and Angola from 2001 to 2003. Fidele is the executive director of the Congolese American Council for Peace and Justice (www.cacpdusa.org). He is a French-language commentator on justice and peace issues for the Voice of America.
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Pat Hostetter Martin arrived at CTP at age 50, after serving for 16 years with her husband Earl in Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) programs in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines) and at MCC headquarters in Akron, Pennsylvania. “We knew we wanted to be peacemakers, but asking ‘How?’ and studying to find answers to that question was a novel idea at the time [1995-1997].” Like many of her classmates, Pat also hungered for time to read, reflect, and take stock of who she was and what she was doing. She and Earl planned to return to Southeast Asia to work another five years as MCC’s regional peace coordinators. But the illness of a family member changed those plans. Pat accepted a leadership role with the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, and Earl went to work as a carpenter. Reflecting on the 13 years from her CTP student days until her retirement from CJP in 2008, Pat observed, “Peacebuilding is a tough field… [For instance] we didn’t succeed in stopping the Gulf War, or any of the others that followed. It is easy to get burned out.” The answer to the threat of burn-out, she feels, is tapping into “our spiritual energies, or what John Paul [Lederach] calls, ‘the moral imagination.’ We can’t survive on theories. We need faith that opening ourselves up and being led by the Spirit will eventually result in finding ways to live together peacefully – if not in our lifetimes, then in our children’s, grandchildren’s or great-grandchildren’s.” Pat applauds the “maturing of the peacebuilding field,” whereby people who view themselves as peacemakers are working with, and in, the military, diplomatic corps, business, and religious institutions. She points to the 2009 founding of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute by CJP alumni as an example of “good and exciting things that are happening.” Pat’s current career is in pastoral chaplaincy, which provides spiritual care for people in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes. She is enrolled in her second unit of clinical pastoral education at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. She is also training to be a hospice volunteer.
Expert in transforming church conflict
Advocate for Burundian refugees
23. Alastair McKay, MA ’99
24. Jean Ndayizigiye, MA ’00
Alastair McKay juggles three big responsibilities: directing an organization called Bridge Builders in transforming church conflict, pursuing a doctorate of ministry, and raising children with his wife Sue. Between 1997 and 1999, the McKays settled their family of four – their daughter was then age two and their son three months – in Harrisonburg to enable Alastair to earn his master’s in conflict transformation. As foreign nationals on student permits, neither Alastair nor Sue was permitted to work in the United States. They had to rely on their savings and support garnered from other sources. Yet, Alastair says, “we never, never regretted it [the financial sacrifice].” At the time, Sue and Alastair were members of the Wood Green Mennonite Church in London. This was closely linked to the London Mennonite Centre, where Alastair co-founded Bridge Builders in 1996, becoming its full-time director in 1999. As the children entered their teen years, the family circled back to Alastair’s Anglican roots. In fact, Alastair is now exploring whether it is God’s call for him to be an Anglican priest, “forever influenced by my years in the Mennonite Church.” Bridge Builders’ focus is on training church leaders from diverse British denominations in order to improve their handling of conflict. In 2009 alone: 90 leaders attended four week-long foundation courses; 57 leaders attended four follow-up courses on topics such as family systems and interpersonal mediation; 161 leaders attended nine customized workshops arranged upon request; and 81 people came to nine “network days” run for “graduates” of its courses. In addition, Bridge Builders led four group consultancy processes and two interpersonal mediations. Bridge Builders struggles, however, with attracting the funds necessary for its work. “British churches are not used to paying for outside help, and they tend to have much smaller budgets that those in the US,” says Alastair. Alastair supplemented his CTP courses with coursework at EMU’s seminary. CJP professor Dave Brubaker has done trainings with Alastair in the UK, and Alastair returned to EMU in 2007 to co-teach a seminary course on congregational conflict with Brubaker.
Since fleeing his native Burundi in 1996, Jean Ndayizigiye has been rebuilding his life in exile. He is on the board of directors of the United Burundian-American Community Association (http://ubaca.org), the largest organization of Burundians in the USA. His association launched an annual celebratory convention three years ago – first held in Washington DC on the Fourth of July weekend, then in Dallas, Texas, and most recently in Atlanta, Georgia – to reduce Burundians’ sense of isolation and to build a vibrant community of mutual support. About 600 went to the convention held July 3-5, 2010, in Atlanta. In the summer/fall 2005 issue of Peacebuilder, writer Sue Gier summed up Jean’s life before coming to the United States this way: A teenage boy beaten near death by Tutsis classmates for being Hutu. A fugitive in hiding for three months by the grace of a Muslim woman. A prisoner starving in a filthy dark cell for six months. One year as a farm peasant. A resurrected student in a Jesuit school. One of 10 in Belgium on college scholarship. A returnee to Burundi as a civil engineer, a senior official – director of Public Works, adjudicator in the Ministry of Finance – excelling at nation building. New military rulers. Hunted again. A refugee, this time seeking and receiving political asylum in the United States. A man without hope of returning to his home or using his talents, skills, experience. Trained in accounting, Jean works part time as a financial counselor for the residents of Gemeinshaft, a program to assist former prisoners to transition to living productively in mainstream society. He came to the US with his wife, Spes, also a Burundian refugee. They have four young adult daughters. He is an active member of Park View Mennonite Church and regularly contributes to charitable causes, including to an orphanage in Burundi. Jean stresses that his greatest challenge through the years has been finding peace within himself: “You have to have inner peace before you can give it to someone else. You have to find your own blind spot before you can accept that others have blind spots.”
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Training leader/manager for Habitat
Lawyer & writer of romance novels
25. Lina Maria Obando (Marquez), MA ’00
26. Patricia “Paddy” Patton, MA ’00
San Jose, Costa Rica
“John Paul Lederach’s elicitive approach to learning has stayed with me through the years,” says Lina Maria Obando, who is Habitat for Humanity’s organizational learning manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. The “elicitive approach” refers to a participatory educational process often used at CJP. It deviates from the traditional teacher-student role, whereby the teacher is viewed as the expert, filled with knowledge to be poured into the empty-vessel student. In an elicitive classroom, the teacher positions herself or himself as a facilitator, enabling everyone to tap into each other’s experiences and knowledge. The students are active in shaping the lessons. Lina says she is “elicitive” in the way she works with others, builds networks, determines needs, helps people to identify the resources they have, and conducts trainings. She also has never forgotten Howard Zehr’s way of modeling what he taught about respecting people. “You can ask questions in a way that empowers people, as Howard does, or that dis-empowers them. I try to give people the opportunity to have a voice.” In October 2010, Lina coordinated a large Habitat for Humanity conference involving about 60 people from 14 Latin American countries, including the president of each national unit of Habitat. Lina has been able to work at her highly responsible job, involving much travel, because she and her husband Ruben have agreed to share child rearing. Sometimes Lina works from home, and other times Ruben does. “We didn’t want to sacrifice our [two] children to our jobs,” says Lina. “It hasn’t been easy though. We had to review our traditional gender roles. “We had to explore the ‘new masculinity’ as a family: What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman too? We didn’t get healthy help from the church. We had to find a special counselor who had lots of experience working in ‘new masculinity.’” Lina wonders why the peacebuilding field doesn’t pay more attention to the “important topic of masculinity and peacebuilding” and to “restorative relationships” within the family.
peacebuilder fall/winter 2010-2011
“What led me to enroll in the conflict transformation program was the conviction that I needed to put myself where I would be around people with a constructive approach to conflict and a determination to deal with it honorably,” writes Patricia Patton, an attorney who (then and now) represents children in cases of abuse or neglect in Washington County, Maryland. “I was headed for burnout. My problem-solving tricks were getting stale and my spirit was weary. And, yes, the program recharged my professional and spiritual batteries (without ever waxing religious), and gave me some very useful tools for coping with the challenges of my profession – not just the challenges inherent in dealing with specific conflicts, but the challenges of dealing with a steady diet of conflict. “Then too, I was reminded that my little child abuse and neglect bailiwick was not genocide, which some of my classmates had coped with first-hand and were prepared to take on upon graduation. In other words, I got refocused on my blessings. This is a focus worth preserving.” In the past five years, Paddy has taken her verbal skills into a completely new arena: writing romance novels. “What does this have to do with an open society, you ask? To the extent that romance novels focus on empowering women, and on individual choice and self-expression often against societal odds, they are revolutionary literature.” She adds: “For my master’s project, I was allowed to write a romance novel that analyzed the effectiveness of the legal system as a conflict management system. That manuscript has been reworked over time, and is now under consideration with a number of publishers. The working title is Legally Tender. If that book makes it into print, I will dedicate it to the good folk at CJP.” [Editor: Gee, thanks! About those royalties, we always need more scholarship funds. Paddy joked back: WILL forward some royalties upon making the bestseller lists.] Paddy’s first published book, written under the penname Grace Burrowes, is scheduled to be sold on the internet and in bookstores on December 7, 2010. It is a historical novel set in England, titled The Heir.
Program director at mental health center, with focus on Latino mental health
Gilberto Pérez Jr. (right) with U.S. Senator Dick Lugar.
27. Gilberto PErÉz Jr. ’94, Grad. Cert. ’99 Goshen, Indiana
As the founding director of Bienvenido, a program for newly arrived Latino immigrants, Gilberto Pérez Jr. tries to offer resources for health and hope, as well as education and livelihoods, for Latinos in Indiana’s schools, churches, juvenile correctional facilities, and communities. In this quest, Gilberto has grown to be more assertive than he ever dreamed he would be, motivated by a burning desire to help those who are among the most vulnerable in our society. Gilberto has spoken boldly, for example, to legislative leaders from Indiana. In a recent forum titled, “Mexico in Transition,” hosted by the Indiana University School of Law, Gilberto encouraged U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (Republican-Indiana) to support legislation offering opportunity for immigrants to take English language classes, have a path to citizenship, and address their experiences with trauma and other mental health matters. The son of Mennonite pastors from South Texas, Gilberto studied at Hesston College in Kansas and did a two-year service assignment with Mennonite Voluntary Service in San Antonio, Texas, where he worked at a health clinic. Gilberto entered EMU as a social work major in 1992. “There
weren’t many Latinos then and not many African American students,” he recalls. After finishing his BS in 1994, Gilberto remained at EMU as an admissions counselor and served on an EMU committee dealing with multiculturalism and diversity. In 1994 Gilberto married a fellow graduate, Denise Diener, whose family had lived in Puerto Rico since the 1960s. From 1996 to 2001, Gilberto and Denise lived in Puerto Rico, where he spent a year as a “peace evangelist” for the Mennonite Church USA, completed an MSW from Interamerican University, and earned a graduate certificate in conflict transformation by attending EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. In creating Bienvenido from scratch in 2004 and building it into a major source of advocacy for the well-being of Latino immigrants in Indiana and beyond, Gilberto says he often takes heart in recalling John Paul Lederach’s estimation of how long it takes to bring about systemic change – 10 to 20 years. In the Summer 2010 issue of the Bienvenido newsletter, these recent accomplishments were highlighted: Training 38 community leaders from 13 states and one Canadian province. Launching a virtual (online) learning community centered on improving the practices of mental health workers who relate to immigrants. Offering Bienvenido facilitator training to community-based organizations as a step toward introducing the program into Indiana’s juvenile correctional facilities. Facilitating dialogues in community organizations, schools, hospitals, churches, apartment complexes, and workplaces where many Latinos/Hispanics can be found. Partnering with researchers to measure gains made by Bienvenido participants.
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Mother, former mediation executive
Rep., Mennonite Central Committee
28. Christine Poulson, MA ’98
29. Randy Puljek-Shank, MA ’99
Two years after the birth of her son, Benjamin, Christine Poulson made a difficult decision. After six years in a job she loved, she decided she would cease being executive director of the Conflict Resolution Center in Roanoke, Virginia, to be a fulltime caregiver to her son. “Having a child with special needs changed my priorities,” she told Peacebuilder. “It forces you to slow down and to re-evaluate your life. “I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom – I am not sure I am very good at it – but I do know it is the best thing for my child, because the professionals [previously working with him] weren’t able to give him what he needs. “Now, this is my calling.” Three years after Benjamin was born, he was joined by a sister, Sidney. Christine’s husband, Steve, is a sociologist who teaches at James Madison University, located in the same city as EMU. “I am the product of a culture of always moving ahead and doing more,” says Christine. “But I have become a reflective person. I don’t have to be the head of an important NGO to make a difference. My perspective has changed – these two children are the future. I need to give them their best possible start.” While pregnant with her second child, Christine played a key volunteer role in a campaign to use the purchase of state-issued car license plates marked by a “peace dove” to raise money for the Virginia Association for Community Resolution, a network of non-profit community mediation centers. That effort has yielded $36,000 over a two-year period. Christine now works from her home as the part-time coordinator of that association. On the days when Christine wonders about her future, she recalls the words of Elise M. Boulding, a Quaker sociologist who raised five children with her husband. Meeting in Harrisonburg with a handful of women in the late 1990s, Boulding said in reference to balancing one’s private and public life: “Sometimes you get on the bus [of public engagement] and sometimes you get off, but it will always come around for you again.” Boulding, who died at age 89 on June 24, 2010, was one of the most influential peace researchers and activists of the 20th century.
peacebuilder fall/winter 2010-2011
Based in Amela’s home country of BosniaHerzegovina, Randy and Amela Puljek-Shank have spent the last eight years devoted to healing the harms caused by the horrific warfare that occurred in the early 1990s across what was formerly Yugoslavia, and to preventing such horrors from happening again. They are also jointly devoted to raising their 3-year-old son. [Randy and his wife Amela co-lead Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in southeast Europe, thus their stories are intertwined. Amela is a 2004 graduate.] As MCC representatives, the Puljek-Shanks foster a network of peacebuilding organizations in southeast Europe, primarily in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzogovina. “This involves listening to their needs and helping them assess their situation,” says Randy. “We consult with them about the steps they’ve taken, or envision taking, and the programs they desire.” Randy and Amela successfully collaborated with the leaders of three other local organizations to start the Peace Academy in Sarajevo three years ago. Modeled on EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, the academy offers three classes simultaneously for seven days once a year. With 60 participants in the summer of 2010, it reached capacity. Partnering with the Franciscans, Randy and Amela have established a trauma center in Sarajevo to address the psychological wounds of war, using materials from STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience). They have lent MCC’s support to summertime youth camps that teach peace. They have stepped over religious fences to work with Bosnian-Muslim instructors to explore the peace aspects of Islam. They have reached out to war veterans from all sides. “These men are older and wiser. They often lost a lot in the wars,” says Randy. “If helped to reflect on their experiences, they can be excellent advocates for peace.” Perhaps most meaningful of all, once per year Randy and Amela have invited representatives of all 20 organizations with whom they collaborate to come to a “summit.” This event serves to “renew the strength and energy” of all concerned, says Randy. It helps them to realize that they are making a positive impact, despite the seeming slowness of the social changes they would like to see.
Peace Corps program & training specialist for Africa
30. Krista Rigalo, MA ’00 Arlington, Virginia
Krista Rigalo arrived at EMU in the fall of 1998 with considerable international experience. She already held a master’s degree in agricultural education and had focused on agriculture in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, as a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) volunteer, she shifted her attention to the ravages of war while co-directing MCC's program for Rwandan refugees in the eastern Congo. As an MA student in conflict transformation from 1998 to 2000, Krista spent a semester at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where she focused on how conflict between Uganda and Sudan might be eased. Upon graduation from EMU in 2000, she returned to Africa on behalf of MCC to work at the Africa Peacebuilding Institute at the Mindolo Ecumenical Center in Zambia, where she taught courses in trauma healing and in peacebuilding. She also worked for MCC in Angola. She returned to the United States in 2003 and entered the doctoral program in conflict analysis and resolution at George Mason University, always maintaining her focus on Africa. In her current Peace Corps role as acting chief of programming and training for Africa, Krista spends considerable time coordinating with other offices to ensure that the Corps’ 27 country programs in Africa receive the desired number of volunteers, with the requisite skills. Krista often arranges special trainings to see that people in the Corps are well-suited to their work assignments. She is in charge of overseeing the training of both the volunteers and the staff involved with Africa. “My MA from EMU has been extremely beneficial in terms of my ability to help the Peace Corps identify needs and design training materials,” Krista says. “The CJP degree is a practitioner’s degree in the sense that the practice component Randy Puljek-Shank with Krista Rigalo at graduation time is really highlighted and developed. When I was there, many of the courses were taught almost as trainings, which makes it that much easier for me to adapt CJP’s content for trainings have undergone bloody conflicts in the recent past. “They conducted for the Peace Corps. are definitely facing the realities of what it means to try to do “I still go through my notebooks from my classes and pull out development work in a post-conflict community.” relevant material that can be used as a starting point for materiWith support from her leadership, Krista has been able to als for Peace Corps volunteers.” start what she calls a “post-conflict initiative” in which she is She notes that Peace Corps volunteers in Africa work largely developing new materials appropriate for preparing volunteers in education, but some also work in improving health, develop- to work in regions emerging from war. The materials will cover ing small enterprises and non-profit organizations, supporting “psychosocial work” and “conflict-sensitive development.” agriculture, and protecting the environment. In the summer of 2010, Krista sent a Peace Corps program “Our average volunteer is 24 to 26 years old, with very limited manager from Uganda to EMU to take STAR (Strategies for experience dealing with atrocities and protracted conflict,” says Trauma Awareness and Resilience). With her new skills, Krista Krista. Yet some of these young adults are placed in Liberia, Sisays, the manager “will be used by the agency as an on-contierra Leone, Rwanda, northern Uganda, and Kenya, all of which nent resource to other country programs.”
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Director, regional center for advancing dialogue & understanding
31. Timothy “Tim” Ruebke ’93, MA ’99 Harrisonburg, Virginia
Given the worldwide reputation of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, one might reasonably ask, “But what impact have its graduates had in EMU’s home community?” An observer might cite the work of CJP-linked people in churches, health-care centers, school systems, a transitional program for recently released prisoners, and a center that helps immigrants and refugees. But at or near the top of the list of “most impact in the community” would have to be the Fairfield Center, founded 28 years ago by a dozen visionaries, almost all of them EMU faculty members or alumni. The Fairfield Center was launched in 1982 under the name Community Mediation Center, the first such center in Virginia. The center was renamed “Fairfield” in 2010 to enhance its marketability and to recognize one of its founders, Kathryn Fairfield ’70, an attorney who has been a steadfast mediator, trainer and advocate over the years. In the center’s early years, Tim Ruebke was an undergraduate majoring in social work at EMU. For his social work practicum, he went to the mediation center in the fall of 1992. Two months later he was employed as a case manager and mediator. He spent the next 15 years handling 1,500 cases involving issues as “minor” as marital conflict and as major as criminal cases and complex organizational or multi-party issues. He is a state-certified mediator for civil and family circuit court cases and has taught alternative dispute resolution in community workshops and college classes. Since 2007 Tim has been the executive director of the Fairfield Center, a role which requires him to spend more time “managing the business” – producing grant applications and reports, supervising personnel, working with his board – than actually mediating or facilitating, as he did in his earlier years. Tim has four part-time staff members and eight volunteers to handle an average of 45 cases per month. Their efforts are enhanced by those of almost 30 trained community mediators. Collectively, these workers offer an array of “conflict resolution, communications excellence training, business services, restorative justice and civic engagement initiatives,” according to www.fairfieldcenter.org. In short, they can address “any circumstance requiring dialogue or decision-making between two or more people.” Harrisonburg and surrounding Rockingham County abound with examples of the influence of the Fairfield Center: An annual international festival, now sponsored by the Fairfield Center, attracts hundreds of people living in the region – representing perhaps a dozen or so traditions or ethnic groups – who gather to eat each other’s food, watch each other’s dances, check out each other’s crafts, and otherwise mingle appreciatively and respectfully for the day. The festival is in its 13th year.
peacebuilder fall/winter 2010-2011
CJP professor Barry Hart with Tim Ruebke (right).
Through adept facilitating, Fairfield staffers have kept community conversations on a civil level. For instance, they have moderated debates among local political candidates. They have also facilitated public forums where people feel passionately about their divergent views, as in a forum at James Madison University involving Israeli and Palestinian women, where the participants explained their people's claims to Jerusalem. Since 1986, Fairfield staffers have worked with personnel in the local school systems to spread the techniques of peer mediation, circle processes, and restorative discipline throughout the system, as an alternative to purely retributive ways of dealing with offenses. Trainings and dialogues with various “movers and shakers” in the community – judicial and police officials, schools and colleges, businesses, the media, and government officials – have contributed to remarkably harmonious relations among these groups. The “town-gown” frictions often found in communities with large college-student populations, as is the case in Harrisonburg, have been eased through a series of Fairfield-sponsored “summits to create connections.” Scheduled for about six hours on a given day, each summit is organized around a theme. As of November 2010, the themes had been: supporting youth and families in crisis; strengthening local businesses and economy; sustainability; intercultural/interfaith matters; health and wellness; and justice. Harrisonburg isn’t perfect, but its inevitable problems tend to be addressed in a responsible and calm manner. Part, maybe even much, of the credit for this situation of relative social harmony lies with the work of the Fairfield Center and its longtime staffer and current leader, Timothy Ruebke.
Priest in Maryknoll order
Full-time mother, part-time consultant
33. Emily Stanton, MA ’00 Belfast, Northern Ireland
32. David J. Schwinghamer, Grad. Cert. ’97 Hastings, Minnesota
Father David Schwinghamer’s daily routine is now centered on one person: his 61-year-old younger brother. In 2006, David became the full-time caregiver to a brother who had been born with Down’s Syndrome and now has Alzheimer’s Disease. In his fifth year of this ministry, David says matters have deteriorated to the point that his brother spends most of his time in a wheelchair and is not able to communicate much. “He clearly suffers a lot, but he never complains,” says David. Nor does David, though his caregiving keeps him confined much of the week to the suburban Minneapolis townhouse where he and his brother live. When he is no longer needed by his brother, David hopes to be able to return to Africa to work with his Maryknoll order of priests, nuns and lay missioners. He has already spent about a third of his life (22 years) in Africa, mostly based in Tanzania and Kenya. In the 1990s, around the time that David came to CTP to earn his graduate certificate in conflict transformation, he worked with Jesuit Refugee Service to assist Burundian and Rwandan refugees in camps in western Tanzania. David thinks one day he may be able to be of service in the new university the Jesuits are building in southern Sudan. “I could teach conflict resolution and reconciliation, because this seems to be where the church is going in Africa,” he says. David feels the greatest challenge for peacebuilders is to determine the “next step” once violent situations have subsided into a semblance of stability. “Some of the reconciliation stuff can be a smoke screen, if underlying problems are suppressed. It is not enough [for instance] to say, ‘We are not going to talk of ethnicity anymore; we are all the same – we are all Rwandans!’ If the situation hasn’t changed, if there is, in fact, one minority group in power, then that underlying problem must be raised to the surface to achieve reconciliation.”
Emily Stanton met Hedley Abernathy – the man who became her husband and then a fellow graduate of CJP – while both were trying to help young people in Northern Ireland to embrace alternatives to violence. Emily, an American, was the first of the two to plunge into peacebuilding. In 1994-95, she lived as a volunteer at the Corrymeela Community, a peace and reconciliation center in a rural area of Northern Ireland. Emily then met two Mennonite Central Committee volunteers in Northern Ireland, John and Naomi Lederach. Learning that Emily was interested in going to graduate school to study conflict resolution, they said, “You should look at EMU. Our son [John Paul Lederach] has just started up an MA in Conflict Transformation there.” Upon completing her MA at EMU in 2000, Emily headed back to Northern Ireland as a Mennonite Board of Missions volunteer. She developed a pilot program to introduce conflict transformation training and restorative justice practices into a half-dozen schools in North Belfast. That’s when she met Hedley, who was a youth worker in North Belfast. They married in 2003 and came to the United States so that Hedley too could earn a master’s degree at CJP. Here Emily worked with youth in various ways: teaching courses, helping with an alternative education program for at-risk middle school children, and fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Upon Hedley’s graduation in 2006, they moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where Hedley worked for Catholic Relief Services. In 2008, the couple and their two young sons re-settled in Northern Ireland, where Hedley took a job with WAVE Trauma Centre, an organization that supports people bereaved or traumatized by violence. WAVE has close ties to CJP; several dozen WAVE personnel have attended EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute since 1996. Emily does periodic work in the conflict transformation field, such as co-facilitating a Youth STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) at WAVE. But, while the children are young, she and Hadley have agreed that Emily will be their primary caregiver.
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PhD candidate in social work & research
Computer systems engineer
35. Moe Kyaw Tun ’95, MA ’97 Ashburn, Virginia
34. Barb Toews, MA ’00 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
After eight years of going “behind the walls and bars” to work with prisoners and prison staff, Barb Toews finds herself in a dramatically different environment these days: in the peaceful setting of a Quaker-founded private college with expansive lawns, towering shade trees, and buildings with picture windows. Barb is a doctoral student at Bryn Mawr College in a suburb of Philadelphia, where she is looking at the ways that people find privacy when institutionalized and the benefits of such privacy. As she puts it, she is focused on the need for “therapeutic space away from the chaos.” Previously she was the restorative justice program manager for the Pennsylvania Prison Society and the founding director of the victim-offender reconciliation program in her hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylania. She says she has moved from a focus on day-to-day interventions to exploring broader philosophical issues and theories. “I found that even in prison, the guys wanted to use our time together to debate philosophical and religious issues. Before, I was focused on planning and executing programs; now I can have a two-hour conversation [with prisoners] about how restorative justice could fit into community life in north Philadelphia.” Yet she knows her foundation in practice will make her more effective as an educator and trainer in the field. In recent years, for example, she has taught a restorative justice course through nearby Haverford College, another Quaker-founded institution, in which her students are “co-learners” with a group of prisoners taking the class. They hold the class inside a jail. Barb says her MA in conflict transformation has been “super relevant for my PhD work.” Mentored by EMU restorative justice professor Howard Zehr – in 2004 they co-edited Critical Issues in Restorative Justice – and seasoned by being one of the few to bring restorative justice into Pennsylvania’s prisons, “I am able to bring something unique to the Bryn Mawr program.”
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In his early teens, Moe Kyaw Tun traversed the jungles of junta-ruled Burma as a messenger in support of the resistance struggle of his ethnic group, the Karen. Moe says his female relatives wanted him to escape the war. “My father had been imprisoned for his involvement in politics. Almost all of the men in the family were dead.” Moe eventually met a Mennonite Central Committee volunteer, Max Ediger, in Thailand. With Ediger’s help, Moe got to EMU where he finished a BA and earned an MA in conflict transformation. He then earned a second master’s degree in computer science at James Madison University. At CTP, Moe admits to chafing at what he viewed as the naïveté of his pacifist professors. “When you see the bodies of burned children and raped women [as he did in Burma], you cannot not react,” he says. “You have to survive, you have to defend your family. You have to do something. These are very overwhelming feelings when you are a teenager.” He elaborates: “Under the eyes of the diplomatic corps in urban areas, I believe non-violent tactics can be effective. But I have not seen evidence that these tactics are effective outside of the spotlight, when you are deep in the jungle and hundreds of thousands are being driven from their homes and killed without anybody noticing.” Moe credits CTP for helping him find nonviolent ways to support his people’s “struggle for ethnic freedom and equality.” He has been an advisor, for example, to the Karen National Union in negotiating a cease fire with the Burmese government. CTP also “helped me to see things from the other side. I began to wonder why young Burmese men joined the army. Was it to hurt my people, or was it for other reasons, like their poverty and lack of jobs? I started to be able to put myself in their situation.” Finally, “it was very, very valuable to me to get a break from being in the conflict zone, though I didn’t realize it at the time I was at CTP.” Moe, a computer systems engineer for a large consulting firm in the Washington DC area, served in the US Army and thereby gained US citizenship. He is married to another information technology professional, Tomomi Kotera from Japan. They have two preschool daughters.
Founding director of JustaPaz, organization for peace in Portuguese-speaking world
36. Alfiado Zunguza, MA ’99 Maputo, Mozambique
Like many of his fellow students in CTP in the late 1990s, Alfiado Zunguza came from a country ripped apart by war – Mozambique. As a child, he lived for months without electricity or potable water. Motherless from age 6, he moved among relatives’ homes in search of education and security. For survival, he became adept at growing the food he needed – cassava, rice, and sweet potatoes. In 1996, the 16th year of Mozambique’s civil war, Alfiado met a Mennonite Central Committee volunteer, who was helping a group of Mozambican Christians work toward conflict resolution and reconciliation. Encouraged by the Mennonite volunteer and subsidized by his Methodist church, Alfiado took his first four courses at EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute that same year. When Alfiado returned to Mozambique after his summer of peace studies, he established a department, JustaPaz (“JustPeace”), within his church to do ongoing peace work. The next year, 1997, Alfiado’s church offered him the opportunity to be a full-time master’s student in conflict transformation at EMU. It was a difficult decision. He would have to leave behind his wife Carla and their two daughters, one of whom was a newborn. With Carla’s support, he took what they viewed as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” (Alfiado and Carla now have four children, all daughters.) From its modest beginnings, JustaPaz has grown to be the most influential peace organization in the Portuguese-speaking world. Headquartered in Maputo, Mozambique, JustaPaz now has its own building, 13 staff members, and an annual operating budget of $400,000. It receives support from German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Canadian organizations, as well as its original parent, the United Methodist Church. The establishment of JustaPaz was, in part, an outgrowth of efforts by the Methodist bishop of Mozambique to get the two major warring parties – known as FRELIMO and RENAMO – to negotiate their way toward a peace agreement. (An agreement was signed in 1992.) JustaPaz’s most recent strategic plan notes the following accomplishments over a three-year period: 425 police officers trained in mediation, human rights, gender issues, and other matters of conflict transformation. 110 senior political and government officials equipped with an in-depth understanding of the relationship between political conflict and violence at the community level, along with strategies to reduce such conflict. 150 local government leaders trained in group-process skills and educated to understand the relationship between conflict and development. Producing and distributing (in print and online) literature in
Alfiado Zunguza (right) with fellow students Alastair McKay (left) and Nathan Barge (center) in the fall of 1997.
Portuguese on peacebuilding, good governance, human rights, development, and democracy, including 3,000 copies of the Lusophone Journal of Peacebuilding. Facilitating “constructive dialogue” among the various faith groups in Mozambique – Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, and followers of traditional religions – through interfaith symposiums held each year in all regions of the country. Equipping religious institutions throughout Mozambique to fill peacemaker roles and to increase their organizational effectiveness by doing training-of-trainers workshops. Attended by hundreds of church leaders, these workshops are designed to make local churches, often the only community hub in remote areas, more effective in responding to HIV/AIDS, poverty, community development issues, and other local matters of well-being. Since 2006, running an annual Lusophone Peacebuilding Institute that attracts about 50 participants each year from Africa’s Lusophone countries. Hosting conferences of Lusophone peacebuilders from the former colonies of Portugal: Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Brazil.
Photo by Acamo Maquinasse
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From Self And Community To Systems Mental health worker Professor Schoolteacher Full-time parent Mediator Lawyer PhD student Administrator Writer Consultant Newspaper editor Hospital staffer UN official Computer engineer Grandmother Priest The post-EMU paths followed by CJP’s 36 earliest graduates are as diverse as the 10 countries in which they are currently living. Yet several themes tended to recur in the interviews, regardless of the nationality, gender, or vocation of the speaker.
Theme No. 1: Peacebuilding begins with oneself and
one’s close personal relationships. Twenty-one of the 36 graduates (58%) specifically mentioned personal sacrifices or career changes they had made to enable their children to be raised in a healthy home environment with attentive caregiving. Four of the alumni are in couples where the husband is devoting, or did devote, years to being the full-time parent. Three of the female alumni are full-time parents now, and two couples are job-sharing or otherwise evenly splitting childrearing responsibilities. One at-home parent explained, “I want my children to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, when they grow up.”
Theme No. 2: Peacebuilding needs to be extended
beyond self, home and immediate community into the transformation of entire systems that perpetuate widespread injustices and thus foment violent conflict. “In becoming a parent I have become increasingly aware of the world that we are leaving to future generations,” wrote Jeff Heie in an e-mail to the editor of Peacebuilder. “Our current economic system assigns very little value to prevention and the ‘common good’… I have come to view many forms of conflict as rooted in issues of lifestyle. When Western cultures demand a certain level of comfort and wealth, they sow the seeds of conflict.”
Theme No. 3: Wrestling with transforming systems and
structures in the absence of clarity on what would be better and how to get there. In February 2009, at the Global Baptist Peace Conference in
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Alfiado and Clara Zunguza with daughters, (from left) Letice Laurina, Lara Melissa, Enea Mirela and Gene Carla, at their home in 2010.
Rome, Aküm Longchari of Nagaland (in northeast India) asked those present, representing 59 countries, to consider how they use nonviolent campaigns around the world: Are they merely addressing the outcomes of a violent society, but not addressing the structures that create it? In a 1999 paper written with fellow alumnus Babu Ayindo of Kenya, Longchari elaborated: In almost every part of the world, greed and insecurity have led to astronomic consumerism and domination. What we have now is a culture of lies and death primarily guided by fear and profit. Humanity has turned anti-life. We are now evolving a culture that does not have humans and life at its center… Things will get better when more third and fourth world and indigenous people overcome the [Western] definitions of culture that suffocate their capacity to transform their world according to their needs, as their ancestors did.
Build Relationships, But Then?
Upon graduating from CJP (called “CTP” in their era), most of the 36 alumni felt they had been well prepared to develop the interpersonal relationships necessary for reaching out to parties in conflict and bringing them into dialogue with each other. They felt they had learned to listen respectfully, regardless of the nature of the speaker, and to converse in a diplomatic, culturally sensitive manner. They also had learned to be aware of the array of factors that play into a conflict, including who are the stakeholders and what might be their motivations. In other words, these alumni often spoke of emerging from CTP with a new lens through which to view themselves and the world, of being sensitized to how others view life. They also emerged with analytical tools to help them know “where to start”
NIne of the earliest CTP graduates, pictured in a 1998 recognition ceremony: (from left) Hadley Jenner, Moe Kyaw Tun, Pat Hostetter Martin, Sam Gbaydee Doe, Janet Evergreeen, Jim Hershberger, David Schwinghamer, Hannah Mack Lapp, and Tim Ruebke.
“The one area that I wish would have been stronger at CTP was a critical analysis of how economic systems and relationships perpetuate conflict.” — Jeff Heie
On the local level, for instance, Jim Bernat has worked for a community services board in a semi-rural area of Virginia long enough to notice that some of the clients coming into his treatment system are the sons and daughters of clients treated for mental health or substance abuse problems many years ago. “Our system is clearly broken, when the kids arrive at our doors as harmed as their parents were,” said Bernat. In El Salvador, Sandra Dunsmore said she ended up doing “damage control” in her role as a facilitator of dialogue for the stakeholders involved in winding down the war in El Salvador in the mid-1990s, rather than hearing the stakeholders address the social and economic issues underlying the war – issues that fester to this day in El Salvador.
in their efforts to sow seeds of peace. Nobody interviewed expressed regret at gaining these insights Need to Understand Power and skills. Almost all spoke of the ways they had benefited from “I used to think that if your arguments are good enough, people learning them. will listen to you,” Dunsmore said. “Often that isn’t true, Nevertheless, about a third of the interviewees expressed a deespecially when there are very powerful interests at play.” Back in sire, as Ayindo and Longchari voiced in their paper, “to search for her day at CTP, Dunsmore added, “We talked very little in class new paradigms of governance and systems… with the inherent about power dynamics.” capacity to meet the aspirations of peoples.” Upon returning to West Africa after graduating, Sam Gbaydee CTP did not contribute to this search, at least not in their era Doe kept seeing something that he did not know how to stop, of study. “The one area that I wish would have been stronger at even with his rapidly growing network of peace organizations: CTP was a critical analysis of how economic systems and relation- certain African power-players went about winning a place in ships perpetuate conflict,” said Jeff Heie. “The military-industrial the post-conflict power structure by intentionally doing horrific complex is an example that we all know about. An economy that things. Doe observed: “One of the best ways to get recognition, to relies so heavily on the economic activity generated by arms sales get a seat at the negotiation table, is to cut off the limbs of babies and military spending has a vested interest in keeping violent and children.” conflict alive.” Heie and other alumni expressed frustration at Eventually Doe developed a hunger to move beyond scenarios addressing the effects or symptoms of cycles of destruction, rather of dealing with sickly violent characters to figuring out “how we than breaking the cycles. can make the state work for ordinary people.” In 2005, he entered PhotoS courtesy EMU/CJP archives
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Jean Ndayizigiye (rear) in '90s, with wife, daughters, and Hadley Jenner
a doctoral program in Britain to study the history and mechanisms of statebuilding, intending to apply his findings to Africa. No interviewee suggested that demonstrating in the streets, in the manner of the French Revolution or even of Mahatma Gandhi, was an effective way of transforming the “system.” “We can’t just protest,” said Dunsmore. “We must come up with proposals for things that will work in the real world. We need to understand the deep, complex phenomenon underlying our global problems.” From her professor’s perch in Ohio, Laura Brenneman agreed: “Oppression is definitely structuralized, but [in the US] folks are mostly comfortable and don’t want that pointed out.” Yet even those folks who aren’t complacent, who are willing to acknowledge “structuralized oppression,” are handicapped by their lack of a socio-economic “paradigm” to work towards. As Dunsmore puts it, “We’re flying blind. We can’t see around the corner.”
CJP professor Howard Zehr with Tammy Krause in spring of '98
“The whole peacebuilding field is becoming monopolized by USAID, which exists to advance the foreign policy of the United States.” — CJP Alumnus (who asked not to be named)
vironmental and development issues, withdrawing funding from CJP and other peace organizations it had been supporting. In hindsight, Hewlett does deserve recognition for hanging The Impact of Money with CJP for 10 years – many foundations shift their funding priA final consideration in this discussion is money. None of the 36 orities much more quickly than that. Ironically, however, Hewlett alumni featured in this Peacebuilder have deep wells of money at shifted its funding just as CJP had started to develop a track their disposal. Many depend on grant-based funding that provides record, as exemplified by the work of our first 36 graduates. for short-term interventions or other types of work focused on One can dream of the long-term impact Hewlett might have specific problems. engendered if it had maintained its support, perhaps providing Yet “sustainable peacebuilding takes years, decades, generations,” CJP with the resources to explore the structural issues troubling says Jan Jenner, director of CJP’s Practice and Training Institute. so many of our alumni today. A major source of grant money for CJP in its formative years As matters now stand, many of our graduates spend considerwas the Hewlett Foundation, according to CJP's leaders in the able time writing grant applications for short-term funding. If 1990s. After a decade, however, Hewlett shifted its priorities to en- successful, they subsequently must prepare detailed reports to 30
And Prayers For CJP's future from early alumni
WANEP founders Sam G. Doe and Emmanuel Bombande at SPI 1997
1. Preserve the Summer Peacebuilding Institute model of intensive, short-term courses. This model permits students to retain their jobs and not uproot themselves. Some people can’t take the time or don’t have the funds to be a residential student. (Nathan Barge)
2. Keep the door open so that diverse people from all kinds of backgrounds can be part of the program. Don’t introduce the admissions barriers typically employed by other academic institutions, such as requiring GRE scores. There are plenty of other institutions geared to producing academics, rather than well-educated practitioners. (Jonathan Bartsch) Spring of '98: Tammy Krause, Hannah Mack Lapp, Christine Poulson
3. Continue to blend theory and practice – this makes CJP “quite unique.” (Randy Puljek-Shank) 4. Consider starting a “Winter Peacebuilding Institute” aimed at
meet the typically rigid requirements of their funders. Rather than being accountable to the people they are trying to serve, they must tailor their work to the funders’ current interests, which may be “natural resource conflicts” this year, HIV/AIDS next year, and “human security” the year after. Few of our alumni are willing to speak on the record on this matter, because of fear of losing all funding possibilities. An African dependent on grant money said: “The whole peacebuilding field is becoming monopolized by USAID, which exists to advance the foreign policy of the United States. I have seen funding of a particular project suddenly cut off, not because the work we were doing wasn’t good and effective for the people at the grassroots, but because Washington DC saw no benefit for Americans in what we were doing.” Another spoke of a $5 million USAID grant supposedly earmarked for peacebuilding work in Africa that was siphoned off by US contractors and other “experts” en route to Africa, resulting in only $175,000 actually being available for work by Africans for Africans. These views are the stuff of uncomfortable conversations. But they are exchanges that need to be held, according to Jenner, formerly a CJP student and now an administrator. She says more resources need to be put into “longer term, harder work, [including] having hard, disagreeable conversations about problems, confronting power, and building peace that is sustainable.” How to do this “longer term, harder work” may be CJP’s biggest challenge over the next 10 to 15 years.
prospective students living in the Southern Hemisphere, whose summer vacations would coincide with an institute held in January or February at EMU. (Lina Maria Obando)
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of giving people time and space to think, away from the stresses of their normal work. (Alastair McKay) 6. Continue to grow CJP’s concentration on organizational leadership. Most of us work in some kind of organization and need all we can get in the way of improving organizational processes and relationships. (Jim Bernat)
7. Feel proud that many peace programs around the world are “copy cats” of CJP. This is a sign that CJP and its graduates are highly respected and having a huge impact. (Fidele Lumeya) 8. Focus more attention on the “complex political dimension” of ending injustices and transforming conflict. “The guys in power are much more strategic than we peacebuilders are – their strategic interests tend to over-ride their moral values. How can we be more strategic in building civic space, institutions and states?” (Sam Gbaydee Doe) 9. Develop critical analysis on how economics contributes to conflict. (Jeff Heie) 10. Above all, “retain faith in the human spirit and the guidance of the Higher Power. Few places provide these values and direction. Peacebuilding goes beyond being smart.” (Sam Gbaydee Doe)
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Lingering Impressions Of CJP’s First Graduates
More impact than they foresaw In the booklet When You Are the Peacebuilder, published just nine years ago , the three authors – then all fresh graduates from CJP – wrote: “Most of us – including the authors – will never be famous. We’ll not work at the UN, or appear on television, or be written about in history books.” Actually, one of the three authors (Sam Gdaydee Doe) now works for the UN, and all of them have found themselves in media reports in reference to their work or views on building peace. If you Google their names – Babu Ayindo and Janice Jenner were the other two authors – you will see they have had a far greater impact on the world than they anticipated back in 2001. They have been research-based analysts, trainers, strategists, communicators, and developers of new peace-related programs. They have directly influenced tens of thousands and indirectly influenced countless more. In a generation or two, they may even be in history books.
Space to regenerate About half of this group of early alumni came to CJP because they were hovering at the edge of “burn-out.” They needed time and space to regain their resiliency. They had experienced war-inflicted trauma, the violent deaths of loved ones, or were exhausted from struggling to address terrible wrongs over many years. In their interviews, all of those who faced burn-out said CJP recharged their batteries, though one spoke of the ongoing effects of the genocide-type trauma he survived. In short, CJP served as a resource for hope and regeneration for this group.
Good people, trying hard Every person in this group of alumni appears to be as well motivated as he or she was a decade or so ago. But certain members of the group have gone through divorces, bungled paying jobs, and found themselves at odds with other peacebuilders. In other words, being a trained peacebuilder is no guarantee of success in transforming all situations of conflict. Yet, by and large, when any of them meets another CJP-trained person in the world, there is an immediate sense of kinship. They nod when hearing the term “EMU mafia,” coined by Babu Ayindo in reference to the CJP-trained people he often meets in trainings, research, and social action processes around the world. This “mafia” consists of overwhelmingly well-intentioned people who are doing their best to, first, do no harm and, second, if possible, have a positive impact, while learning from the mistakes they have made along the way.
Conflict Transformation Program class in the late 1990s
North-South differences Alumni whose work is focused upon the Southern Hemisphere are most likely to spontaneously voice concerns about socio-economic structures or systems that they believe are fundamentally unfair and that fuel violent conflict. In a paper they wrote in 1999 and revised in 2004, alums Akum Lonchari and Babu Ayindo made this trenchant comment: “It is time third world people asked themselves rather seriously whether people who live in squalor, who are oppressed by national and global forces, and who are struggling for a little freedom are in urgent need of prejudice reduction workshops, communication skills, and peace manuals.” By contrast, alumni working in the developed parts of the Northern Hemisphere are more likely to express interest in personal transformation and interpersonal relationship-building as ends in themselves, rather than as building blocks for systemic change. There are, of course, exceptions to this general observation, as exemplified by Laura Brenneman in the US and Jeff Heie in the UK.
Thirst for doctorates The founders of CJP did not intend for the MA in conflict transformation program to be a stepping stone for students who wished to subsequently earn a doctorate. On the contrary, they envisioned a unique graduate program – one that would prepare “reflective practitioners” for real-world work, rather producing graduates oriented toward academic teaching and research, as was being done at another Virginia institution, George Mason University, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and elsewhere. Yet the last decade has shown that even people heavily involved in practice often hunger to acquire the highest degree offered. Some CJP grads want to teach at the university level. Some feel that having a doctorate gives them more credibility, regardless of their field of work. A few want the additional time in a university setting to think, research and analyze. Of the 36 alums in our group, eight (22%) have entered doctoral programs, and three have completed this degree. — Bonnie Price Lofton
Photo courtesy EMU/CJP archives
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