Class 16 (2017-2019)

Nigel Heywood, Australia

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Department of Folklore

South Sudan | Reconcilation | Diaspora | Peacebuilding

Nigel Heywood originally comes from Manilla, Australia, where his family farmed for four generations. He studied Visual Arts at The Australian National University in Canberra. From 2001 – 2012, he worked in leadership training and community development programs with Initiatives of Change (IofC). Based in India for three years, Nigel took on the coordination of these programs as they expanded their fieldwork into more than 20 countries throughout Asia, the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Africa. This established an ongoing network of social entrepreneurs with around 100 graduates that continue to deliver peace and development projects globally.

Through contact with communities recovering from conflict, Nigel began to focus on reconciliation and dialogue work between ex-militia and victims. This led to work in the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the training of 200 Peace Mobilizers in partnership with the South Sudanese Government in 2013. Nigel has continued to work with the South Sudanese community in Australia, running training and forums focused on advocacy for humanitarian aid and the key role of the diaspora in building peace within South Sudan.

From 2013 – 2017, Nigel worked with the Red Cross Emergency Services in Australia, designing and delivering training programs to 1000+ volunteers, particularly focusing on service needs and psycho-social well-being of the community during emergencies.

Nigel is passionate about peacebuilding work, storytelling and the creative alternatives that come out of a community when it decides to respond with non-violence. He hopes to understand more about a holistic approach to peace that includes all levels of society from the grassroots to government with his Masters in Peace building and Folklore.

Applied Field Experience

Bridging Lanka, Sri Lanka