Students learn peacebuilding career skills

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Maddie Swenson / Winonan

David Smith, author of “Peace Jobs and a Students Guide to Start Working for Peace”, said “there are a lot of challenges in society.” This idea is the centerpiece for the workshops Smith gives on building careers in peace.

On Tuesday, April 11, Smith gave one of these workshops on the Winona State University campus, through a grant from Minnesota State for all of the Minnesota State Schools to use to bring Smith in to speak.

Yogesh Grover, global studies and world languages chairperson and professor, stated that the goal of the workshop was to introduce the information needed to obtain a career in peace.

“This is a specific kind of information in the sense that it pertains to peace building. There are so many conflict areas and people can go there and get some training first, then work, get paid and also create conditions which resolve conflicts and help people and peace,” Grover said.

This is something Smith said a lot of college students are interested in. Winona State senior Maria Sauer, a global studies major, agreed with this.

“I would love to have a career in peace building,” Sauer said. “To find my calling in life, I need to look at my gifts, my passion, and my values.”

This was what Smith did in his own way. He was working for the U.S. Institute of Peace and decided he did not like what they were doing because he did not feel like it was giving the right skills to be successful in the peace building field.

“We assumed people knew how to find these [skills], but that is not the case,” Smith said. “The most essential skill would be world view. [Someone who] accepts tolerance and differences, change and flexibility. Its more an attitude than a skill.”

Senior Lisa Daraskevich, a global studies major, said she caught on to this “attitude” at the workshop.

“Promoting our differences, whether religion, ethnicity, race, is the first step towards a global community that uses its connectivity as a strength rather than as a way of promoting violence,” Daraskevich said.

However, she did not like one of Smith’s messages in his workshop.

“It was establishing an obligation for people, something I don’t think people handle well,” Daraskevich explained when asked what she thought of the workshop.

On the other hand, Sauer shared her enthusiasm for her future after the workshop.

“It made me even more excited to join the Peace Corps and start my peacebuilding career,” Sauer said.

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