The recent events in Paris have made me think about why I’m studying conflict management. For starters, I’d like to say that I am by no means an expert on peace studies or global issues, but I don’t think that’s the point. I’m not here to become an expert, as there are so many global issues to understand. Let me give a little more detail on some of my classes and how I’m spending my days.
Monday: Conflict Management – theory and research around the concept of conflicts
Tuesday: International Relations – policy, finances, war, etc.
Democracy and Inequality – social systems, wealth, poverty
Thursday: Transnationalism – Migration/ Immigrants, Culture, Space
Human Rights – United Nations system and International Law
Friday: Guest Speakers on a variety of conflicts and case studies
It is pretty great that the degree is so Interdisciplinary. This always for a variety of topics to be discussed. Of course, this also means there are many different views and opinions being shared. I’d say the greatest aspect of my degree is that is bringing me awareness. Classmates and professors bring first hand knowledge of conflict issues in their home cities. And we also hear about issues that are often forgotten.
The tragedy is Paris is horrid, but there is tragedy everyday. For instance, in Congo, over 6 million people have died since the 1990s. People are being displaced everyday from their homes. The issues lies in natural resources – jewels and metals. The very cellphone in your pocket was produced from a conflict resource. One can’t say that the War is conflict is not related to them, as much of our products are produced because of outside countries invading Congo. Rwanda is the main Let’s also keep in mind that the United States has close ties with Rwanda – who ultimately leads much of the violence in the Congo. In a way, we’re contributing to this genocide and war. No doubt, the US also needs and wants such resources.
Keep in mind also that days before the Paris attacks, 50 people died in Beirut from a bombing. Why don’t we hear about this? Even living in Europe, I didn’t hear about this on the mainstream media. Why are some conflicts more important than others? I also found it interesting that Facebook activated their ‘Safety Check’ for Paris, but not for Beirut or other cities who have had recent human disasters. I don’t know exactly what the right answer is, but it is a bit disheartening that so many people are suffering and dying, yet much of the world is left in the dark on these issues.
So, why do I study conflict management and peace studies? I truly want to gain a better understanding of root causes of what leads to conflict and war. War doesn’t happen over night. How can we begin to recognize the signs that lead to conflict and destruction. I study this to become more empathetic towards cultures. I study to understand all of the connections in the world and realize that so much of what happens is interconnected. I study to understand why this isn’t the Refugees fault. If all else, I study this to be aware of what’s happening. I have a long way to go and I’ll never be able to learn everything, but learning is a journey.