Hi, this is Weiru. I come from China but spent my high school in the States before attending UWC Costa Rica. Now I’m a rising junior at Middlebury College majoring in Anthropology and Religion. My interests in conflict studies and peace building mainly come from my experience of growing up as a Han majority in China on the east coast (where all the resources are concentrated and is relatively well off in comparison to Western China), which has shaped my ways of seeing conflicts as intersectional/interconnected.

After coming to the U.S. I started to read news about numerous cases of self-immolation by young Tibetans in Western China and the becoming of a police state in Xinjiang Province, where Uyghur makes up the majority population. Thus, I grew interested in learning more about ethnic conflicts in China and has since been trying to find ways to contribute to the conflict resolution effort. However, I always tend to see conflicts as intertwined with privilege, race, gender and many other factors. And ethnic conflicts in China don’t stand alone, but are exacerbated by racial discriminations by Han ethnic majority in China, the economic development projects that CCP implement in Western China and etc.

With the intention of learning more and contributing to the causes,   I interned at an NGO called Machik this summer. Founded by two Tibetan women in exile, Machik has worked relentlessly for Tibetans within China through leading projects on women empowerment, incubating social entrepreneurship and etc. Though it is not explicitly an organization dedicated to conflict resolution, it has broaden my perspectives to understand how to approach conflict transformation in different ways.

Through SPP, I’m also interested in seeing what different organizations are doing on the ground  to bridge the gap between communities in conflict and think creatively and broadly about resolving conflicts. I’m also excited to be in classroom and hear from experienced practitioners and learn more about  approaching conflict resolution academically!