Caux Scholars Program 2009
Alongside conferences on Human Security, Sustainable Development and the Joint Venture for Middle East Peace, twenty students from five continents participated in the 17th Caux Scholars Program, an academic course on peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Through the one-month course, they studied and worked in community service, discussed and practiced interactive exercises, and presented and analyzed their own conflicts.
Dr. Barry Hart, CSP’s Academic Director, who teaches at Eastern Mennonite University, shared his work of trauma healing from many experiences in the Balkans and West Africa. The faculty, who have worked with him over the years, are: Michelle LeBaron, Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at the University of the British Columbia Law School; Mohammed Abu-Nimer, a professor at American University in Washington, DC; and John Katunga, Catholic Relief Services East Africa technical advisor for peacebuilding and justice.
Each faculty member brought unique teaching style, backgrounds and challenges to the class. Under the direction of Michelle LeBaron students looked at conflict through the lenses of identity, culture and leadership. Her challenge to develop cultural fluency and to understand one’s personal response to conflict caused a student to reflect: “It is essential to constantly seek to know yourself better and to know your ‘starting points,’ when it comes to conflict, your argument style, etc. …In class we discussed avoidance, accommodation, competing to win, compromising, and cooperation. It has caused me to reflect upon and better understand why and how I respond with different people or in different situations. Not only has understanding come, but I have grown and matured at acknowledging the ‘other side’ and better ways to resolve conflicts.”
Among those participating in this year’s program was Tameem al-Maliki from Iraq. She finally fulfilled the dream of her brother, who was killed in 2006 just before he was due to join the program. Amena Wardak from Afghanistan, lives in Washington state. She learned of CSP while working with Anila Daulatzai (who been to Caux) on a health project in Afghanistan. Marcia Lee played an active role at the climate change workshop in the Caux Forum for Human Security, helping to draft and present the final report. She hopes to raise funds to participate with others from IofC at the UN meeting on climate change in Copenhagen in December.
Fourteen Caux Scholar alumni returned to participate in various ways in this summer’s conferences: Australian Christina de Angelis (’05) led a workshop on conflict resolution for the conference, Leading Change for a Sustainable World. Ibrahim Natil (’99) from Palestine also contributed. Egyptian Hend Farouk (’06) was a conference assistant for the Forum on Human Security and Rashad Bukhari (’07) from Pakistan accompanied a delegation from his country to the forum. Genevieve LeBaron (’04), Canada, was part of the Caux Preparation Team and coordinated assistants for two conferences.
Mexican Fabiola Benavente (’01) was instrumental in organizing the curriculum for a year-long leadership course, which brought three young leaders from Mexico. Selly Wane (’07) from Senegal worked with young Muslim leaders, many visiting Caux for the first time. She and Muaz Cisse (’07) from Liberia also supported the administration of the Tools for Change conference.
Vichheka Khoun (’06), working on her PhD in France, graciously greeted guests at the reception desk. April Kuehnhoff (’99) came with her daughter Ruth and husband Ward Vandewege. April has just completed law studies at Harvard and this fall enters law practice at a non-profit in Boston. Aditya Jain (’07), Asiya Mohammed (’06), and Abu Saleh (’03) came for the Human Security Forum and met ’09 scholars to inform them about the CSP alumni network. The three of them helped to coordinate the Alumni Scholarship Fund, raising $3,000 to in scholarship support for 2009 scholar Jeevan Amarasingham from Sri Lanka.
In the 2009 evaluations of CSP one Caux Scholar wrote that “quiet and reflection” were the most important things that he had learned from this summer’s program. These two key values help to make Caux a place that encourages inner change.