Motivation for Local Change

This past week has been a whirlwind of long, informative days. In attempt to learn about what peacebuilding is, I feel as though a more encompassing question is “what isn’t peacebuilding?” From nuclear weapons to conflict and water, we have already been exposed to so many different themes that all revolve around peacebuilding, and although I acknowledge this fact, I think that we all have consciously or subconsciously determined which of these many topics interest us the most. With that said, tying all these issues into ways that I can impact change right here in Monterey and the surrounding areas regarding peace has taken priority.

Between Police Chief Kelly and then Earthbound Farms, in combination with the amazing lectures given by Professor Matthew and others, the opportunities here are plentiful. This shift in my perspective was initially shocking given my normal international focus in coursework at MIIS up until this point, and I don’t think that I have moved out of that focus just yet. However, I do think it is possible to have an interest in both and that is how my mentality has changed. How can I focus on theory and practice that can benefit both local and international communities, with certain commonalities present in both that emphasize my personal beliefs and passions; building personal relationships with individuals while having an enormous focus on culture sensitivity and language.

Finally, a emphasis by many (direct and indirect) on the environment and the importance of improving our impact on our planet when discussing development in any context really has prioritized itself on my internal list of passions. For me, change starts with the individual, living as the example that you are talking about…which is exactly what I will do (or continue to do).

Perhaps these issues seem vague. Perhaps the hippie, man-bun wearing student in me has grown. Either way, the first week in this program has opened my eyes in ways that I didn’t expect and I look forward to the personal growth that is bound to happen in the next 2 weeks, and then where my perspectives stand after.