CONTACT 2018: What Students Had to Say

June 29th, 2018   |   SIT Graduate Institute

Naomi Tsolanke - Feminist activist and director of Community Health Care Initiative, Liberia

When I first read about the CONTACT program, I said, this is something I need to add to the work that I do. CONTACT was the answer that I was looking for.

Usually, I just want justice. I have realized that justice is also part of healing, that truth and peace and forgiveness come with justice. That has already opened my mind to understand that justice is important, but justice in the absence of peace is not. Justice in the absent of truth is not. Justice in the absence of forgiveness is not complete justice.

CONTACT material will be used to go back home and train the whole base of networks I work with – other activists, other feminists. This is going to strengthen the work we do and give it a more visible and stronger approach.

Dr. Abul Kashem Mohammad Jamal Uddin - Professor of Sociology, Bangladesh

Black and white portrait of Dr. Abul Kashem Mohammad Jamal Uddin - wearing a nice suit and striped tie. He has short hair and a well trimmed short beard

I’ve come here to get skills, knowledge, and experiences from CONTACT so that I can use these skills for negotiation and reconciliation between Bangladesh and Myanmar, so that the Rohingya community can be peacefully repatriated to their motherland.

Natasha Lin - Music therapist, Australia

Black and white portrait of Natasha Lin, She has black hair, tear drop earrings and a great smile. Wearing a dark vneck blouse.

I wanted to know more about the theoretical ideas and applications of  conflict management and resolution. Professor Bruce Dayton taught a class called “Dialogue, Negotiation, and Mediation,” and imparted to us some very concrete skills in communication surrounding really sensitive topics around conflict and how to navigate that kind of space. That to me, was a reminder for why I’m here. But I’m also making friends from around the world, and being silly, creating songs, sharing stories, getting to know each other as people.

Sunday Justin - Office Manager, SIT Study Abroad, Rwanda

Black and white portrait of Sunday Nzititira. He has short black hair and is wearing a World Learning Sweater with the green circle logo, grinning widely

I didn’t know what I don’t know until I get here. CONTACT opened my eyes to be creative in conflict management. Before, I didn’t know how to deal with a given conflict. I didn’t know all these styles to address conflict management. And we have Asian, African, American students – everyone has their own conflict they are dealing with. Seeing the way all these conflicts are, and meeting peacebuilders from around the world was an astonishing experience.

Staying in this environment, where everybody is talking about peace – it’s peaceful itself. Here I know, at breakfast, at dinner, we are talking about peace. I wish all peacebuilders could go through CONTACT.