Back to School
Being a fellow of the 27th Rotary Peace Fellow Class, I have appreciated the opportunity for self-reflection and to learn new things from both the speakers and fellows from 17 other countries. The knowledge and expertise people have shared is invaluable. As a professor, I have learned updated information on peace and conflict resolution, innovative pedagogy, and new materials to apply in my teaching and research.
During the week 6th on “Religions, Identities and Interfaith Dialogue” introduced by Ms. Khin Khin Lwin from Myanmar, I learned about the model on “socio-psychological foundations of intractable conflict” (Bar-Tal, 2007). Through the framework that was introduced through a conflict in Myanmar, I found it useful in enhancing my understanding about the inter-community relation tension in the Deep South.
Sharing the time with people who are passionate about working to better their communities has motivated me to continue the work I am doing in my own community. Even though we speak different languages, we share a common vision on social change and justice. Through personal conversations with several fellows, I have had a chance to exchange stories about the work that we have been doing. I have learned about their work and have been able to share my own.
During a group exercise, I was amazed that each group produced such good campaigns in such a short amount of time. This is especially impressive work involving people who are meeting for the first time and who also from different cultures and backgrounds. Even though many of them hold high positions at home, they are determined to share their own knowledge and expertise to the group and produce an interesting collaborative work.
I could not assume that all the people who had participated in the Rotary Peace Fellowship program would be all good and nice. However, in my experience, I respect all of the fellows in this class and simultaneously, I also feel respected by them. Sometimes our group work was chaotic, or we had heated conversations and disagreed with one another. We also have different preferences and personalities. However, I found that because the fellows value friendship and diversity. For instance, every time there is a disagreement, I observed that the group would find a way to return to positive energy with humor and creativity, in attempts to restore the group’s relationship.
The three months program comprises with people with diverse expertise (both the speakers and fellows) and comprehensive elements and topics necessary for people who are interested in working with conflict. Therefore, I would encourage anyone who works in the field of conflict and peace to participate in the Rotary Peace Fellowship program.
Acknowledgement: I thank you a kind friend and a peace fellow, Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario for kindly polishing my English.
Duanghathai Buranajaroenkij- Thailand
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 27