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What first attracted you to peace activism?
Growing up in a multicultural and multilingual household, I’ve always been interested in international relations, cross-cultural communication and global events. So it made sense for me to go to Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service where I heard over and over that we were the future leaders of the world. But it occurred to me that if they are teaching the future leaders of the world game theory (essentially how to play poker on a global scale), it’s not surprising that the world is full of competition and mistrust. But Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition also emphasizes that students and alumni should be men and women of service to others. So I decided to get a masters in Peace and Conflict Studies from the European Peace University. We were 40 students from 30 countries living under one roof, sharing one kitchen in the middle of nowhere in Austria. It was a totally experiential way to learn how to create peace, collaborate, communicate across cultures, negotiate, mediate and let go. I wrote my masters thesis on Moving Mainstream Media Towards a Culture of Peace and realized that while there is a lot of violence and conflict in the media (sometimes even framed in a thoughtful way), there is very little peace.
One of the arguments I’ve been making since I wrote Moving Mainstream Media Towards a Culture of Peace is that if the media invested as many resources into portraying peace as they do in portraying violence, then we would see peace as sexy, engaging, fun, and possible. But since mainstream media hasn’t figured out how to do it yet, I figure I should show them how. Basically, I’m looking at how we can re-brand peace and get a mainstream media that reflects the values of society.
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