So What? to What Now?

“Every day, 306 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention[1].” In the world there are 795 million people – or one in nine people in the world – do not have enough to eat.[2] Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.[3] 6.3 million children died in 2013  – 17,000 a day- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia[4]. 22,000 children die each day due to conditions of poverty[5]. Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.[6] UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015[7]. The stats can go on and on. So what?

The lecture by Jerome Sigamani asked very profound question that I am still digesting. So what? What is my role in the world or my place and has to do with this statistics? I will try to answer this question through my perspective and really see what it really means?

The lectured started by writing down points that touched the heart and the head. It was surprising that the things that were very human or emotional and had to do with life touched my heart very quickly and I am sure it will be true of others too. It did not happen with the theories and academic work. As a human being it is important that we feel the things in our hart and are passionate to work with peacebuilding. But is it possible when I am broken and need to fix myself more than the society? The quote, “liberate yourself before you liberate others” really stroked me and lot of thoughts came into my mind.

After having the conversation with Pushapa and class discussion, I concluded (there is still a lot of room to improve) that we as a peacebuilder have to accept that we are human beings. We have our own needs, ego, and interest. The most important part though is to find the shared vision and interests from both parties and interconnect it with the local people and fulfill their needs. I believe that it is very important that when we ask so what question it not the negative connotation that is we have to focus on the question but what now? Are you ready to take challenges? Are you ready to be humble? Are you ready to be curios, passionate, mindful? And finally, are you ready to feel the trauma and get paid (usually little) and committed to work and dedicate life to make the change? I am still working on these questions and need time but the lecture made me think on my role in the world and how should I approach to the above questions…

[1] http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics

[2] http://www.thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

[3] http://www.thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

[4] http://www.thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

[5] http://www.thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

[6] http://www.thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/

[7] http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/news/latest/2016/6/5763b65a4/global-forced-displacement-hits-record-high.html

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Peace,

Kailas.

Talking About Gender Rights and Emotional Intelligence…

As a peacebuilder we have to be “passionate and curious to learn new things” was one of the core point of the lecture from Kathryn Poething. It was one of the very influential talk and made me think about rights and gender equality more passionately. I grew up in very patriarchal society. Even if you cry you would get judged for showing your emotions and being a female (?). Being passionate to me does not mean just ask questions and happy and smiley but at deeper level, it means I am mindful about my acts and being emotionally, culturally intelligent, and empathetic toward other cultures.

Other thing that I learned and I think is important to be a peacebuilder is to be Human. Most of the time we get into the idea that we know everything or after reading two articles we feel that we are the masters (?) in that filed like attitude does not help grow individually and rather than creating peace it makes negative impact on building peace.

Not want to repeat but other thing that was very important was discussion about “are women prone to peacemaking?” I do not know if women are prone are or not but most of our group and I agreed that women do not get to play major role in the society. Women have as much potential as men to make decision and can work even hard work than men. As a male, I strongly believe that women need space, time and environment that will create leadership and peacebuilding. Most of the time women are the one who are affected by the war, violence and are used as a war weapon (by raping) but they play very little role in peacemaking. These women need to play more than 50 percentage role in peacebuilding. Mr. Kazu Haga said in his lecture that the patriotic society does not just impact on other genders but on the male too. It negatively impacts the on being human and full of emotions and feelings that are essential. As a man I believe that that it is my duty to loose and break the barrier of thousands of years. But is our patriotic society ready?

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Peace,

Kailas.

 

Religion and Peacebuilding

I grew up in a very conservative Hindu background. Up until my 10th grade I was very ignorant about other religions and very radical extremist that believed in Hinduism as almighty religion. Furthermore, the harder part was that my religious bias was included into the belief of nationalism. I was blind to see other side of the picture and had very strong negative feelings toward other religions as negative force and evil. After a while, I got into contact with NGO and had opportunity to have good teachers who showed me other side of the picture. The process was very hard but over time I got to respect the diversity that our world has to offer. I also got the opportunity to go to one of the international school in Italy where there were student from all over the world. Seeing this diversity in ethnicity, languages, religions and in almost everything, we all came together to learn about different cultures and respect the diversity in the world. The two years were life changing in my life. I think I learned more than equivalent of my entire prior school in just two years. Although it was academically challenging I met amazing people and I strongly believe in the peaceful world.

But as a student of Philosophy, I always dwell on my past and future. Without the help of NGO and teachers I would not have been here. If I would not have got help from them I would have become a radical extremist if not like a terrorist. Religion played a major role in my development. Is it the religion that made me extremist or the societal structure? Is religion bad for people? I raised lot more questions like this. After listening to the lectures of Dr. Laurie Patton and Dr. Joseph Bock it really helped me to understand that it is not the religion that makes people bad but the people who have interests and are always looking forward to see people fighting. There is also high chances to utilize the religion to build our brokenness. Pragmatic Pluralism and how it can be beneficial in building the world block by block made more sense for me then let’s bring peace! Most of the observations are very clear in society that if our society is connected on civic level there is more relationship created witching different faith people. It nurtures the possibility of understanding and respect which is not necessarily evangelisms. Our society has to come together and fix our broken heart together unless that we will not have faith and trust on anyone which is important wheel torun the society. But who wants this to happen? Peacebuilders!

 

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Track Diplomacy with Human Track

V. Montville and Davidson, W. D., in their revolutionary book “Foreign Policy According to Freud” developed the concept of Track II Diplomacy. Track II Diplomacy focuses on “non-governmental, informal and unofficial contacts and activities between private citizens or groups of individuals, sometimes called ‘non-state actors.[1]’” The Track II diplomacy was developed after Track I diplomacy which is refereed to official, governmental diplomacy that occurs inside official government channels[2]. The concept and policy itself got popular because of the important aspect of the diplomacy which is to interact non-governmental, informal, and unofficial activities that are as much as important as the policy makes that are only working in the government. Later there has been additional inclusion of the tracks such as Track Three, private sector involvement; Track Four, citizen-to-citizen educational exchange programs; and Track Five, the media. All the tracks combing together is called the Multi-Track policy[3]. In these tracks, it is assumed that whoever is imposing the policy/ diplomacy has more authority and it is preferably the right thing to do. No one takes into account what the individual and collective society wants to do. Most of the time we “western educated” (this applies to me very well because I am from India and currently studying in the USA and have studied in Italy) minds like to think that we have found something good for the people who are struggling in the global south.

 

I have to do more research on the Multi Track Diplomacy and I am very fascinated by this topic because it is popping up in most of our lectures and it is much easier to explain things now. There is really lot of things to do and improve conflicts if we have policies that are based on the Tracks. One things that is I believe should be added that to empower the individuals and understand the local government as well as social structure and cultural practices that are deeply rooted in the society. This human to human track approach is more connecting and if the change has to happen it should come from and within the society. The policy is important but most often the society is not included in making any decisions. The elites and lobbyist influence a lot. There are also special interests for Multinational Corporates and companies that are looking only to control the resources. The human voice is need to be heard and need to take into account in a way that give them human dignity and right to be involved in decision making.

 

dove2               quienes-somos

 

[1] Davidson, W. D., and J. V. Montville, “Foreign Policy According to Freud,” Foreign Policy, Vol. 45, Winter 1981–1982.

[2] Diamond, L., & McDonald, J. (1991). Multi-Track Diplomacy: A Systems Guide and Analysis. Iowa Peace Institute

[3] http://promotingpeace.org/2004/1/mcdonald.html and http://www.imtd.org/

 

The Story of our Society

In the peacebuilding program we have been looking at various social, economic, and all other causes to the conflict. It is a great thing to do but most often we forget about the root causes of the problem. When we try to find answer to the most of the causes we get into this bubble that the problem is approachable. We can solve the problem within seconds. Earlier, I was talking with some people and even some of the faculties were supporting this idea. I would love to see the change, who doesn’t? But I have got a problem with it.

 

Mostly we tend to keep our focus at macro level but micro level picture matters a lot. In fact, it is both level that we have to see and understand the perspective. When people say that if I get 240 police, or if I have lot of money, or if this and that… the problems that we are currently focusing will be solved, I get very excited to learn about their “perfect cure.” But is there a “perfect cure” for the things that are responsible for conflicts in the world? Is it possible if I give $10, 0000 to person and change his presupposed biases and racial hatred? Is it possible if there are jobs, education, and the material needs fulfilled to every person and have peace? I do not believe that peace is possible if we just try to cure dieses by bandage. We need individual and societal

healing, help of our ancient knowledge that reflects life style which is less stressful and community that is interdependent on each other. We also need to understand the importance of human dignity and diversity that our world has to offer.

 

I think we have to dig deeper into our society and find the answers. Most of the time the problems start with individual. Current time in our world is one of the scary time because of the global economic world that we are living. There is no guarantee that if we are going to be safe tomorrow. Our economy is very fragile. Thousands of people are losing their job. The rich are getting richer and poor getting poor. Our society has become obsessed with material needs and not the relationships and community building. The kids grow up with playing video games and textual knowledge. The knowledge that we get due to social media is very faster than the news media and mostly the facts are not correct. First, we try to find good for our society but later this “good” thing becomes dangerous. When we realize it, we try to fix it by putting the bandage on it. But in fact, we just need to cure the root of the problem. And the most problems are product of the capitalist society that we are living in. I neither believe in certain ism nor support it but we have to look deep into our social problems. The answer always goes somewhere close to the decisions that our world has made decades ago.

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Beyond Storytelling…

27th July, 2017

Everyone’s a storyteller. The story that makes who you are is very important but what even matters is how you present it to the world. As a peacemaker you have to “believe that you are going to change the world” starts the lecture of Susan O’Halloran. When you are telling the story you are not just capturing the attention but also connecting the people and their story with you. The audience look for specific key events and figures that they relate with yours and it is what make most of the storytellers good one. While providing mirrors and windows, and facts with context is important as a peace builder, you have to be a role model. But most of the time in our time we seek rather than becoming a role model we we seek to the model that is very scientific and a business type.

 

I believe that it is important to know the skills of storytelling and its scientific/ marketing knowledge. The “branding” and selling your product can be very challenging in 21st century when there is tremendous competition. And that is when i see in the world the knowledge of storytelling is abused. Most of time i see that there is an environment that stigmatized and symbolized for specific social problem for specific kind of people. The best example could be found in the images when NGOs and INGOs portray that a child from country in Africa is starving and in need of help. Another example could be a Syrian child in a refugee camp. There are various social and economic issues that most of the countries still in the world are facing. It does not mean that places above mentioned do not have any problems. But when we symbolize and attribute a certain group for specific cause we do not have to forget the problems in native country and rest of the world is facing. There are not just kids in Africa, a continent, that are hungry but also kids in Asia, Europe, America and everywhere are hungry. In fact just in the United States, according to Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2015) report called Household Food Security in the United States in 2014 states that there were “15.3 million children live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. The same thing with refugees. .
As a peace builder it is not just important to make statements but to connect with people. Build the bridge of trust and hope between two parties. The stories are important but most importantly we do not have to forget the the originality, passion, love, and the life that is hidden behind curtains.

 

The-Story-Teller

The Tragedy of a Man

There once was a Man

Fool and jealous, determined to kill the fam.

In the middle of desert

He got little drunk

Then the story starts…

And then there was a “Thin Man”

Tall and fair,

Cracked,

Failed in the test very hard!

And then there was a “Little Boy”

Oh Little Boy!

What have you done?

The mountains

And valleys of lilies are dead.

Innocent Little Boy,

Who is responsible?

And then there was a “Fat Man,”

The Man’s manhood.

Arrogant and Ignorant,

Fooled by temptations,

Silence all across…

Man,

Your journey has not been so long.

The child of yesterday night,

Have left nothing to live,

Nothing to breathe,

The unforgettable scar…

DEPRESSION

Blame game

July 26th, 2016
Sometimes we get into the trap of blame game. We forget about the external and internal factors that impacts on the major conflicts around the world. The lecture by Kent Glenzer on Structural Pathologies of the Development Enterprise was eye-opening. Before the lecture we had to watch the documentary regarding the Rwandan genocide. It gave us additional background information that was necessary to understand the topic. But the most important thing that I had missed was how ODA (Official Development Assistance has fueled the conflict in Rwanda.

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About 100 days of killing and slaughtering took life of more than eight hundred thousand people. Although the genocide has various dimensions and actors that need to take in account it is clear that there was a large investment by the ODA actors. The distribution of the investment and later benefits were not equally distributed. The poorest of the poor farmer in a Rwanda could tell that it is not just and there is need of transparency. When structural and systematic factors make advantageous situation over other group and there is a historical pattern for it there is need of careful attention. As a peacebuilder it is a good to notice this “gathering material” that might “kindle fire” and soon it will be a “bonfire”!

Most of the time in developing countries ODA actors forget about the “plantation” of the “bonfire” when they are involved. As a peacebuilder I learned from the lecture that we have to look for these little movements that have potential to rise into conflict. There is need of stronger policy at international level which will have to follow by ODA actors. After the lecture I wondered about involvement of ODA actors and their role in Rwandan genocide. Could the genocide had been preventable if the ODA have played different role? The answer is very dynamic and debatable and could be argued but nonetheless different.

 

Here I am!

This is the day that I have been looking forward for very long time. Probably since more than four or five years. When I found passion and wanted to learn about peacebulding I was not aware of how much complicated and full of amazement this field can be. I only knew that there are major conflicts going on in this world and as a responsible citizen I need to do something. Because of growing up in India, most interesting subject for me was India and Pakistan relationship. About four years ago I visited the peacebulding center in Dharamsala, India. It was life changing experience for me because of getting a different perspective on life. Most of the Tibetan refugees took asylum there. Listening to stories from these people really touched me. The image of a person who does have a home and has left behind everything including their loved ones was very eye opening. The peacebulding center also gave me further information on how Tibetan refugees are treated by the local Indians communities. The center works with both youth communities and find a way to build peace. That is where I got hope that peace is possible and I found that there are people who want to change the world.

I do not have practical experience regarding the peacebulding but it is my passion and I love it so much. I like to listen stories and build personal relationships. I am hoping that this program will enable me to give academic as well as practical skills that will provide clear understanding and nature of conflicts and peacebuilding. Furthermore, I really want to know more about career and academic opportunities that fall into the peacebuilding branch. Although, I am a Peace and Justice Studies major at Wartburg we study through policy making and International Relations perspective.  Here, at miss I am privileged to have this opportunity to meet all the professors and faculties that are expert in their fields. I am looking forward to learn more peacebuilding!

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(People of different nationalities holding hands together.)

 

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