Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)

SMU Dispute Resolution faculty, students and guests recently traveled to Rwanda to deliver peacebuilding and peer mediation training. After returning to Texas, the group shares their individual experiences with the Rwandan people and insights on what we could all learn about peace.

Beauty

Chris Snyder, SMU Guest The trip to Rwanda was the most impactful trip I have ever experienced. While I tried to avoid preconceived notions going into the trip, I was struck by the beauty of the land and its people. Every person I encountered was kind, generous and welcoming. I had the tremendous privilege of volunteering for three days at Les Enfants de Dieu, which is an orphanage for street children. It is difficult to succinctly summarize such a moving experience. Among the myriad of positive attributes I observed, the one that is perhaps the most meaningful from a peace building perspective is resilience. Upon reflecting upon the journey this nation has been on dating back to the 1994 genocide [...]

2017-04-18T14:49:37+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Fear

Lori Anne Shaw, Director of Training & Development at Duncum Center Solutions, Abilene Christian University  The Rwandan people have much to teach us about building peace. For example, Rwandans deliberately and bravely choose hope over fear. Fear drives people to devalue and dehumanize others. For Rwandans, fear led to ideologies that caused 800,000 people to die in the genocide. Rwandans acknowledge the horror of the genocide, reflect on the harm it caused, and boldly choose to hope in a different future for Rwanda. This hope leads Rwandans to the new ideology that all people are of equal value. It leads them to the brave work of forgiveness and healing the emotional wounds left by the genocide. Lastly, it is hope [...]

2017-04-18T14:48:10+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Debate

Dr. Ben Voth, Director of Debate, SMU Associate Professor of CCPA There are several things I saw in the Rwandan people that we could use to build peace here. One is the model of forgiveness that we saw in the communities near Kigali. Victims and participants of 1994 genocide spoke with clarity and conviction about their suffering. They spoke candidly about their obligations toward one another and victims spoke of how they had forgiven those who had wronged them. Those words were matched with deeds. We saw a home build by a genocide participant who provided this action as a matter of restitution to a woman who lost family in the genocide. There communication and actions toward reconciliation are a [...]

2017-04-18T14:46:54+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Humanize

Husain Abdullah, Dispute Resolution Graduate Student, Retired NFL Athlete I saw the recognition of one’s humanness. Dehumanization and derision is what led to an unprecedented crime against humanity in 1994. Today we race to mock and ridicule “the other”. We troll, we meme, we snark, we debase, we disrespect each other to the point of no return. That’s the language of oppression, the language of genocide. By recognizing the other person as human. Born with unalienable rights. Capable of great feats. Filled with thoughts, feelings, experiences and goals. Worthy to exist. Worthy to exist alongside oneself. This will allow us to sit at the same table, break bread and cultivate an understanding amongst one another. Peace.

2017-04-18T14:43:15+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Peace

Sarah Davenport, MA Dispute Resolution, Class of 2017 The people of Rwanda have much to teach the world. I learned a great deal about love, humanity, and peace in the six days I spent among them living and learning their way of life. When you look up the definition of peace, it says “freedom from disturbance." We often think of peace here as forgiving and forgetting, or in picking a side and sticking to it while not engaging with the other side in efforts to keep the peace, thus being free of any disturbance. But we’ve got it backwards. The Rwandan people build peace in how they showcase peace at a depth that goes beyond surface level efforts. They first find [...]

2017-04-18T14:42:02+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Civil Discourse

Elizabeth Blake, MA Dispute Resolution, Class of 2017 The Forgiveness Villages in Rwanda in which victims and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide live and work together were by far the most bold and courageous systems of peace and reconciliation implemented in country. Our group was able to visit one of the Forgiveness Villages, in Nyamata, Rwanda, to hear testimony from victims and perpetrators. They use civil discourse processes as a means speak their truth, share their personal narratives, hear testimony of victims AND perpetrators, and work toward peaceful resolution, and ultimately forgiveness and repentance. Americans generally do not participate in civil discourse as a means to understand other perspectives, and American media tends to promote political and social polarization. Hatred [...]

2017-04-18T14:38:54+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|

Selflessness

SMU Dispute Resolution faculty, students and guests recently traveled to Rwanda to deliver peacebuilding and peer mediation training. After returning to Texas, the group shares their individual experiences with the Rwandan people and insights on what we could all learn about peace.

2017-04-18T14:35:57+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Dispute Resolution in Rwanda (Spring 2017)|