Peacemaker Profile: Benoni Swu of India

Our 2017-18 class of International Peacemaking Program fellows includes nine students, four from the U.S. and five from other countries. We asked each one of them the same set of questions.

Q. Briefly tell us about your educational background.

 A. I did my schooling in a Catholic school and went on to do my Bachelor of Arts in Patkai Christian College after which I joined Bishop’s College, Calcutta, for my Bachelor of Divinity.

Q. How did you learn about Hartford Seminary’s International Peacemaking Program?

A. One of my professors met [Hartford Seminary President] Heidi Hadsell in a conference in Korea who introduced the course to him, and he to me.

Q. Why are you interested in learning about peacemaking?

I have always been very interested in interreligious dialogue, and I believe respect and peace is what keeps these dialogues alive.

Q. How do you hope to use your skills after a year of training as a peacemaker?

A. I hope to talk to the people about it especially to the youth in my home churches. Initiate programs and share my belief.

Q. Tell us a little about your home country and the interreligious conflict it faces.

A. I come from India which is filled with diversity. Especially religious diversity, and there are no doubt so many religious conflicts. But also on the brighter side, all these conflicts are mostly political. Common people are open to differences but the people in power enjoy conflicts for their own selfish benefits, which results in so much terror and conflicts in the country.

Q. Give us a quick description of your home life (family, where you live, etc.)

A. I live in a small town called Dimapur, which is in Nagaland, India. I am the eldest in a family of five siblings. My family consists of my father, mother, my brother,my three sisters and I. Both my parents are government employees and the rest of my siblings are all still studying.

Q. Hartford Seminary is using the phrase “We Were Built for This Time” to address the deep divisions in our country and across the world. What does that mean to you?

In the midst of divisions and conflicts in the society, “we were built for this time” means to me that I am being built to be able to contribute a little to this society for change. To contribute to peace making and to the time of our lives.


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