Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
October 31, 2014. “Congratulations! You have been accepted into the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program.”
When that messaged floated through cyberspace to Midland, Michigan, USA, I went racing down the stairs to tell my husband, “I got it!” When Ruby Iwamasa from the Midland Noon Rotary Club had urged me to apply in April, 2014, and I shared that with George his response was, “Go for it!” After prayerfully and carefully discerning if this was what I was supposed to be doing at this point in my life – I’m almost 70 – the application was filled out ……. and here I am, smack in the midst of my BANGKOK ADVENTURE.
It has been a great adventure for sure, one I will be living into and out of for the rest of my life. As the weeks race by and the speakers come and go from different areas of the world and the field study in Cambodia is on the horizon, the schedule has far more days behind than ahead. I told a friend in Midland that if I come back and she doesn’t recognize me because my head is twice the size, that it would be because my brain has taken in so much information, ideas, and experiences and has been thinking overtime so that it needed to expand.
My heart size will have doubled as well, in gratitude for support of family and friends back home, for Rotary, locally, nationally, internationally and right here at Chula where part of my heart will remain with Jenn and her team. Parts of it will go home with each of the 17 other Fellows who will return to 14 countries and who have become special friends.
However, as much as I have benefited from this opportunity, I will be delighted to get my feet on the ground, working locally again as a mediator and as a trainer of students in nonviolent conflict resolution skills. It’s time to begin digesting and doing what was learned here. My future will be informed and enriched by this Professional Development Certificate program, the benefits of which will bear fruit only when I put them into practice.
Do No Harm – Negotiation – Truth Commissions – Workable Peace Processes – Capacity in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution – Role of Religion and Dialogue in Peacebuilding – Strategies: Culture and Identity in Conflict – Gender Issues –Facilitation – Trauma and Self-care – Art and Peace
It’s hopeful to know that the field of peace and nonviolent conflict resolution is deepening and broadening and that the number of those choosing to be involved is multiplying – all for the purpose of helping create a better world, not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of the family of humankind. It’s a long-held belief of mine that the inhabitants of the earth (now 7,000,000,000+) are one family and that the way each of us lives affects all the others, positively or negatively. Having the honor of sharing this tremendous experience with people from 5 continents makes it even more true for me.
Life is a mystery. A year ago I had no idea if I would be chosen for this program and remember saying to a friend that if it was meant to happen it would. If it didn’t, I had lots of other things I wanted to do. To my great delight I was chosen, to be in this place at this time with these people. The mystery deepens, and the next page in my life is about to turn. That’s all I need to know.
Jeanne Lound Schaller, USA
Rotary Peace Fellow
June 2015 Session