It has been a “week and some change” since SPP ended. For many of us, these past couple of days involved extensive traveling and settling back into old rhythms and patterns, or beginning new roles and assuming new obligations.
I have been thinking deeply about what SPP represents for me. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that I now have more clarity about the trajectory I want my academic career to follow. The opportunity to learn from “industry experts” as to what the field of peacebuilding and/or development entails in such an intimate and relaxed environment is a difficult one to come by, and as such, I am continually grateful to Dr Iyer for organizing this.
Additionally, SPP was a refreshing reminder that the world is not such a dark place after all! It is easy—especially if one follows the major media outlets in this country—to believe that the world is on the brink of anarchy. Indeed, there are “pockets of extreme violence”; this violence fueled by sentiments that appear to be contagious. However, SPP was a reminder that there are many passionate, intelligent, industrious and caring people committed to establishing positive peace in various communities globally. And for that, I say thank you to my colleagues for all the insights and energy (most times, lol) we brought to SPP.
I think the biggest lesson I learned in SPP—and this is not because it was the focus of the last few seminars—is how important it is to establish a clearly defined moral and ethical framework, and, to take time for self-care. I’ve already mentioned the difficulties of a term like “self-care”, so I do not see the necessity of going into it now. However one defines the term, it is important to participate in activities and/or rituals that allow you to be your best self in service of others. Additionally, having a clearly defined framework from which you operate brings an integrity to your character—a trait so important everywhere–but particularly in this line of work. So again, the biggest thank you from my heart to everyone who was involved in making SPP a truly unforgettable 3 weeks 🙂