The six students in our 2018-19 class of International Peacemaking Program fellows will spend a year at Hartford Seminary studying mediation, interfaith dialogue and public speaking while earning a Graduate Certificate.
We asked each of them to answer the same set of questions.
Q. Briefly tell us about your educational background
A. My education has taken both formal and informal tracks. Formally, I received a B.A. in psychology as well as a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Connecticut, where my concentration was in Group Work, with focus areas in Mental Health, Human Rights, and Women, Children & Families. I have also acquired independent study in neuroscience, sociology, philosophy and religion.
Q. How did you learn about Hartford Seminary’s International Peacemaking Program?
A. In my travels as a Hartford resident I noticed the Hartford Seminary and dropped by one day to learn about their programs. After learning more, and sharing my interests, I was advised to apply for the International Peacemaking Program and the rest is history.
Q. Why are you interested in learning about peacemaking?
A. Despite the fact that injustices, oppression and suffering are common realities, I have developed an unwavering faith in the capacity and goodness of people. I took on this learning at Hartford Seminary because I recognize the unique capacity of faith to unite people. I (often naively) believe that a solidarity of identities can be formed on the value of diversity in itself and felt the mission and diversity of this school would create the perfect breeding ground for formulating plans towards overcoming social ailments.
Q. How do you hope to use your skills after a year of training as a peacemaker?
A. The goals of my study at the Hartford Seminary are twofold: to fulfill my interest in learning about different faiths and to learn of their role in enacting and impacting social change. My hopes are to use my existing knowledge as a social worker, and this year of learning, to work towards the eradication of social disparities and inequities. This program will provide me with the tools necessary to initiate dialogue and mediate conflict in my community, to make for a more welcoming and safe place to live.
Q. Tell us a little about your home country and the inter-religious conflict it faces.
A. I am from the United States, which is experiencing a great deal of political turmoil. The tide has shifted from implicit bias to more explicit. Beyond the negatives of this transformation, there are many positives, one of which is the potentiality in transparency. When is a more urgent time to act than when hostility on political, religious, racial, immigration matters are on the rise?
Q. Give us a quick description of your home life and any interesting facts about yourself!
I currently live with my wife in Hartford but was raised in a single parent household with two other siblings, one of which is my twin. We are second generation Americans of Jewish ethnicity, with both of our maternal grandparents being born in Germany (one of whom is a Jewish holocaust survivor). It is a pleasure and outlet of mine to exercise: weight training, run, play basketball etc.. It was once my goal to be the strongest and fittest person alive; all was going well, until I had a series of injuries.
A current goal of mine it to live off-grid in a tiny house where I can best shift my perspectives and values to match those which promote inner and outer equanimity. The ultimate goal is to spread the tranquility of mindfulness, made easier by minimalist living, to the broader community, to enhance the capacity of peace efforts.