I signed up for summer peace building program after my initial introductory conflict resolution course last year. Despite learning a great deal, everything was blurry in my head and nothing quite made sense to me. I learned theories, we practiced through simulations in class, we had discussions, but every time I thought of a conflict, I didn’t really understand and it was difficult for me to apply a theory to the conflict and pinpoint the root of the conflict.
I came into SPP program to clear these confusions and to understand conflicts and learn about peacebuilding. I wanted to find concrete answers for some of the current conflicts. I have this tendency where I organize information in boxes in my head and that’s how I make sense of things. The first week of SPP has passed and even though I learned a lot and it all makes sense on their own; but I am confused where to put these chunks of information and overall it has become even more blurry than it was.
In one of the sessions with Richard Rubenstein, he said” it is ok to be confused and have these difficult questions that no one can answer because conflict resolution and peacebuilding is complex. It is not easy.” In this one week of our program so far, I have learned so many different aspects and approaches to peacebuilding. But I have also realized that peacebuilding is complex where an interdisciplinary effort is needed.
In the first few days, we had different sessions with practitioners and professors about different aspects of peacebuilding and sometimes it was hard for me to follow and organize this information. But towards the end of the week, I appreciated this and realized that looking into different aspects of peacebuilding is extremely important for understanding the complexities of conflicts. And for these complex conflicts, a multi faceted interdisciplinary effort is required to tackle these conflicts.
In our first session, Dr. Iyer mentioned that peacebuilding is not an idealistic notion; in fact, it is very real. It is a political notion and requires strategic efforts. One week into our program and it is only a validation of this theory for me. For peacebuilding, people need to come together, it requires effort and long term commitment.