Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
It will take me years to unpack, internalise and begin my mastery of all that I have learnt so far. And I am referring to the first 4 weeks of a 12-week training program. The next 8 weeks I am certain will continue to be days filled with much learning and “aha!” moments.
The learning does not only occur during the formal class times from 0900 to 1600 hours everyday from Monday to Friday. It occurs on a daily basis outside the classroom. It occurs when we talk walking to and from class at the Rotary Peace Centre. It occurs over a meal in the evenings or the occasional breakfast with a classmate.
From Monica, I am learning how I can incorporate religiosity when we do our peace cultivation work. Marc has introduced me to a whole new world in cyberspace that up to this point I have been aware of but completely ignorant: the need to counter-message language and culture of hate. Maria has been the best sounding board that I could have hoped for: a fellow educator who wants to come up with a curriculum to inculcate values and perspectives that encourage the creation and propagation of a culture of peace. For years, I have wanted to expand my repertoire of facilitation tools to include more creative, artistic expressions. I have spent hours with Stine, our resident artist, after class hours to learn from her techniques. I can easily go on with every Rotary Fellow that I am humbled to share this experience with.
In the first week alone, my understanding of gender equality has become more sophisticated thanks to Irene Santiago. Over the last 12 years, I have tried my best to bring in gender equality in my work. But I have never been completely convinced with my work. Irene has elevated my understanding, and shared many practical tips on how to approach it in such a manner that is inclusive and positive for my future learners. When I shared with my wife, a dean of a political science and public administration faculty, that Erik Melander, the director of the Uppsala Data Conflict Program is spending a week with us, she was completely envious of our privileged experience.
In a nutshell, the personal growth I am experiencing, the lessons I am learning is beyond my wildest dreams. I cannot say enough good things about this program. My classmates inspire me; and the trainers/facilitators are teaching this 42-year old dog many and very new tricks. I can only end by saying a big thank you to Rotary International for this opportunity, and a promise that I will spend the next stage of my life sharing what I have learnt; and that this experience has further crystallised a life’s mission: mainstreaming peace education.
Qamaruzzaman Amir – Singapore
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 21