I have been spending this summer interning with Mothering Across Continents, a non-profit in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am working with Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni Patricia Shafer, Phil Gittins, and Carla Lineback to research and extend content development for a youth education peace program for students in Thailand. Previously piloted in the US and Bolivia with high school and university students, this program has been positively received by a number of local Rotary Clubs as well as some representatives of the Rotary Action Group for Peace for its potential for expansion into a global youth peace education program.
I am in my fourth week working with Mothering Across Continents as I am writing this. Several questions arise, for instance, are Buddhist teachings not enough to create peace in Thailand? why peace education? what are our peace issues? who would be our target audience – high school or university students? is this the right time to introduce this program? who should be leading the content?
The more I find answers to these questions, the better I understand my motherland in a way I have never had before. I am reaching out to Rotary Peace Fellow alumni, primarily Thai nationals, to hear their thoughts. Most of them are very supportive when they hear about the program. Although their jobs are not directly in a peace and conflict field – they said – they are more than happy to help where they can.
I interviewed some high school students who participated in the program last spring. Interestingly, one of them decided to join the program just to earn academic points. At the end of the program she realized she received more than the points but also had developed knowledge and skills. Additionally, another girl wished to see the program introduced in a college level.
Charlotte, a 2.5-hour drive from Durham, is an amiable city like its slogan “Charlotte’s got a lot”. One part of the city is a business hub whereas another part represents vibrant neighborhoods. My office is located in an area called “South End” where I can see a diverse mix of residents and businesses and can grab a quick bite in a walking distance. Last week I had a chance to visit the Mint Museum to see an exhibition featured by National Geographic women photographers. I wish to explore the city more during my stay.
I hope the research I am conducting this summer will be somewhat meaningful to the world where we all live in.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves”.
— Dalai Lama