Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Two weeks into the Rotary Peace Fellowship, it’s become abundantly clear that there are both conscious opportunities to learn and grow as well as more passive spaces to engage over a meal, on a walk to class or simply listen to an unfolding conversation to learn — rather than to respond.
I’ve found that it is in these more informal spaces with fellows who hail from more than a dozen nations where there’s a new, deeper level of understanding that takes place.
Very often, learning that begins with a powerpoint presentation or lecture in the confines of the controlled, air-conditioned environment at Chulalongkorn University spill into the hot, teeming, loud streets of Bangkok, continuing long into the night over street food with other fellows in the program. It’s in this informal environment where the academic curriculum intersects with real world application.
It’s in that space where the learning really comes alive. It’s sharing a meal between five people from five different countries with five different educational and professional backgrounds having a dialogue around the merits of a particular idea or concept; these conversations profoundly shape your view of the world and your place in it.
In the last two weeks, we’ve learned about trauma and self-care, gender and sex, the crisis in Sudan and South Sudan, the emotions surrounding the 2nd amendment to the U.S. constitution, issues around the peace process in Colombia, sport and how all relate to the peace building process.
I’ve learned as much in the classroom as I have through dialogue with other fellows and I’m grateful for that.
Jason Paul Torreano – USA
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 26