My Introduction to Peacebuilding

By Ariana Falco

Peacebuilding is a newer term in my vocabulary. I think when people hear peace they think it is easy, but it is a difficult process. Coming from a military family, I have seen first hand the effects of war and how it affects a person. PTSD affects individuals as well as families. As a kid I did not fully understand what PTSD was, and how it could change a person. As I grew older, I took more of an interest to it and realized that conflict led to this illness; and it encouraged me to look further into peacebuilding in college whether it be large scale international conflict or a small scale personal one. This image is from Carry the Load march supporting troops and honoring them.

When I began my academic career at CU Boulder, I knew I was interested in helping people, as well as learning more about communication. I chose the path of Strategic Communications with a focus in Advertising. My goal is to be a strategist. To further my education in this field, I decided to pursue a certificate in Peace, Conflict, and Security studies. I was introduced to the program through the intro course. I took it as a general education course, fell in love, and decided to pursue it. Thanks to my amazing professor, Michael English, he has made learning about peacebuilding understandable. I especially enjoyed my conflict communication course where we learned about how to interact with others from a personal level. 

This sparked my interest in Restorative Justice. I just recently became a Community Representation for the CU Restorative Justice program where I can sit in on facilitation and help others understand how to rebuild peacefully without a harsh reprimand. This volunteer opportunity will allow me to learn more by seeing the effects first hand. 

When I tell people my academic career and the path I have chosen I generally get the “oh that’s…interesting” reaction, followed by multiple questions about why I chose this, what it is, and what I plan to do with it, because it’s often hard for people to see the correlation between these two vastly different studies. This is the reason why I love learning about peacebuilding and being able to take the knowledge learned and share it with others who are not familiar with it. Education is a vital tool that sparks interest and eagerness. I have experienced this myself and believe that everyone benefits when they are learning with a will and drive behind it. 

From this program I hope to walk away with a more solid knowledge about how to handle conflict and work towards peaceful solutions. Even though I am new to the field of peacebuilding, I plan to bring my different perspective to the table and learn from others. 

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.