Students Passion For Peace Put to Use Around the World
Sponsored by Haverford's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the funded internships are designed around the study of reconstruction and reconciliation as challenges of peace.
Sophomore Celeste Day Moore will spend ten weeks in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, a city where an estimated two-thirds of the population keeps guns in their homes. Moore will be interning for the Working Group for Weapons Reduction, helping with an education campaign that discourages the use of weapons or violence in resolving conflicts. "The issue of landmines in Cambodia has gotten a lot of attention, but those mines are mostly in rural areas," Moore says. "In the cities, where so many people live in fear, the small arms trade is a more immediate problem for a lot of people." A native of Durham, North Carolina, Moore will be helping to develop a resource center on weapons and planning several community forums on weapons laws to heighten community awareness. Additionally, because the Working Group's staff is primarily Cambodian, Moore's English will be put to use in international communications and organizations.
Haverford freshman Andrew Peterson is traveling to El Salvador, intent on helping convince the people of that war-torn country that education, mediation, and dialogue can create a sustainable peace. Peterson will spend ten weeks living and working in San Salvador with Yek Ineme, a group formed after the end of the war in 1992 to continue peace-building efforts between the country's diverse populations. A native of Denver, Peterson will receive training in mediation and conflict resolution techniques and help run workshops and seminars for the so-called School of Peace run by Yek Ineme.
Nineteen-year-old Gwenn Rosenberg of Baltimore will spend 14 weeks in Kibaya, a small town in Tanzania, that is home to a learning center founded by a Haverford graduate. The study center is designed to supplement the education for Massaii and rural youth, many of whom do not receive enough training in English to pass a test that is mandatory for high school graduation. A recent changeover that requires the graduation test be given in English has forced many students to drop out of school altogether. Rosenberg will spend part of her day leading an English study group for Kibayan students. She also plans to organize discussions on peace and conflict resolution. Although Tanzania has maintained a fragile peace since its independence in 1961, the country is home to more than 120 tribal groups, and recent economic and political changes have heightened tensions. "In many ways, Tanzania is a great model for peace, since so many different tribal groups have lived together without major conflict," Rosenberg says. "While I hope to learn some of their tactics for peaceful coexistence, I also hope that discussing concepts of peace and reconciliation can help ward off potential conflicts."
For Haverford sophomore Sara Wolf, her work this summer in Cuba is a continuation of her mission to bring the people of Havana and the United States closer together. Over the past four years, Wolf has visited the island six times and has spent a tremendous amount of time studying Cuban culture and organizing joint U.S.-Cuba sports and academic activities. Her efforts culminated in March when Haverford's baseball team and a group of political science students traveled to the University of Havana for a weeklong student sports exchange. A native of Newtown, Pennsylvania, Wolf hopes to spend this summer expanding on the ties she has already made and establishing new contacts with Cuban social leaders and students, to facilitate future trips to Cuba. It is her hope that this diplomacy through sports will foster a relationship of learning and understanding that can lead to larger peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts. "We're taking practical and productive measures to reconstruct a positive relationship with Cuba," Wolf says. "I can really see the light at the end of the tunnel."
When the students return to Haverford in the fall, they will take part in a semester-long seminar on reconstruction and reconciliation, and they hope to bring in outside experts for a symposium on peacebuilding. "A big part of what the school wants to do is to continue the experience and bring it back to campus, to share with other students and raise awareness of world issues," Peterson says.