Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Entering this class of fellows, with a background focused on peace-building in my own backyard (as a Mediator) I am being exposed to models of conflict-analysis and the voices of conflict-realities from around the world, at different levels & intensity that have – until now – been all too easy to ignore from my home environment. Some of those voices come through the course design and field-study events and some are the voices of my fellow students. All are crucial to the learning that has presented itself to me.
As a baby-boomer in the midst of “post-boomers” I am delighted and encouraged to hear and see such deep concern and thoughts, strong commitment to making a difference and to hear the amazing, courageous and hard work being undertaken by my Peace Fellow peers. There is nothing that can duplicate the astounding and rich learning experiences made available by sharing ideas, assessing possibilities and exploring theories and practices with this cross-section of cultures, experiences, ages, fields of study and work.
I knew coming into this course of studies that it would offer me opportunities to expand and deepen my understanding of the field of Conflict Resolution, which it is definitely doing in a big way. I find it hard to articulate how much of what I am hearing and learning is applicable to the field of Mediation even at the local-conflict level. The concepts are being taught from the broad world/Nation/state conflict level and yet I frequently hear ideas and concepts that are relevant to mediation situations between two people, two families, two businesses or communities.
This time in Thailand is also offering me the opportunity to expand and deepen my understanding of my role in being the peace I want to see in the world, a path that has been a long-time focus and pursuit for me.
Traveling half way around the world, leaving behind old familiar patterns, habits, routines and surroundings has offered me a precious opportunity to explore an inner path of growth in an entirely fresh and different way. To take the time to notice and rejoice in the newness, being aware of inner reactions to and dealings with things new and different offers me wonderful and special gifts. I guess the contemporary term is mindfulness and that is true and accurate. I also see it as living each day as a Thank You Note.
Jan Woloson, USA
Rotary Peace Fellow
January 2013 Session