Graduate Students Reflect on Peacebuilding Activity

If you followed us last week, you may have seen a video that we made about a peacebuilding activity that we had participated in while attending the CJP class called “Arts and Peacebuilding.” In this video, we asked some of our peers to participate in the activity with us. At the end, we had some pretty silly poems about batman, british accents, and parents. It was interesting to see how our answers reflected who we were and what we valued.

When I heard the CJP students’ poems, I was surprised and impressed by what deep thoughts they had. The one sentence that stuck out to me the most was, “Injustice is the cancer of society.” Short, but incredibly powerful. Needless to say, I was able to see what the students valued through this activity. I was somewhat embarrassed to read off my own sentences about ice cream making me feel bad. Fortunately, I was in a room of open-minded people who were able to make meaning out of  even my silliest sentences.

After making my video and talking to my peers about their reactions to the activity, I wanted to hear the graduate students’ reactions to the activity as well.

Some of the students commented on how meaningful physical touch was in the experience:

“I liked the idea of sitting back to back. It gave a sense of energy and harmony. I started out feeling negative, then human touch made me a little more positive. It changed my thinking. The activity reminded me of two sister poets who sat back to back and recited poetry. Maybe two people sharing energy changes the way people think?”     -Farshid Hakimyar

“In the way that we pair up and are back o back I feel like I can feel the feelings [my partner] has and I can be more compassionate. This makes us provoke more thought about the problem and feel like I’m not the only one with a problem. It helps me feel more empathy.”    -Yaprai Satutum

Wore Ndiaye talks about the experience of listening to your partner:

“I enjoyed the exercise because we couldn’t take notes while they were talking. So it allowed me to calm down and focus. It’s better to absorb what people are saying and see what comes out later.”

Some students were inspired by the final product of putting your sentences together:

“There were a lot of similarities between our words and they went together in sentences surprisingly well.”    Yago Abeledo Madueno

“It is amazing the wisdom one might realize coming out from collective knowledge.”   -Cynthia Nassif