My interest in Peace started when I was in Junior College in Sacramento, CA. At the time, I had no lexicon for what I wanted to do and no idea of the career path I’d be interested in taking. I went from Education, to History, to Political Science all with the drive of using my knowledge and career to benefit CHamorus and empowering my community to find the peace and justice we’ve been so long denied. Conflict Resolution and Peace studies peaked my interest with its’ engagement and critique of power structures and various systems of power, and as I continued to study the transformative power peace and Conflict Resolution had on communities effected by violence and colonization, I began to see this field as the perfect tool to benefit my community and my island.
When I came to MIIS, I found that – similar to previous colleges and educational experiences – I would ultimately be responsible with educating myself more in subjects such as Decolonization, Indigenous and Oceanic Development, and Conflict Resolution and peace. Throughout my time at MIIS I made it a personal goal to focus my studies and work on giving a voice to a region, community, and people that a majority of professionals and scholars outright ignore or decide are not worth having the conversation. I became aware of the importance of values based education and how understanding your values and motivations is critical when working in a high impact field such as Conflict Resolution. As a result I learned to become more rooted in my values of dinaña, inafa’maolek and chenchule’, while keeping my community in focus as I navigate spaces that traditionally weren’t meant for me to navigate. As I reach my final year at MIIS, and the more I continue to envelop myself in this field, the more I see its benefit for helping communities such as mine that have been victim to centuries of colonization and have had no outlet to work through that trauma.
I joined the Summer Peace Building Program in an attempt to better understand what I could contribute to in the field of Conflict Resolution. Conflict Resolution is such a wide reaching and ranging field, and without first hand experiences and relying strictly on classroom settings, it became very overwhelming trying to navigate the current and find my place in the field. During the three week time, I intend to be exploring the different facets of Peace Building keeping an open-mind and understanding the benefits that each facet has in working with my community. I hope to gain more insight in the demands and expectation of a day in the life of a peace builder, and see whether peace building is the field for me, or if it lies somewhere else in the realm of Conflict Resolution.