Alden Jacobs

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Affiliated Organizations

What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

I find it interesting to consider division in its multiple forms. Divisions that would benefit from the opportunity for an exchange of perspectives but instead perpetuate each other. Currently, working in Cyprus, there is of course the physical division between communities. Beyond the physical, our peace education context is confronted by divisions in understanding and awareness. We see this very clearly between communities in conflict. From the arts-based peacebuilding perspective, we also see a division in communication between artists and society in general. Our hope is that through peace education for artists, we can help them communicate with communities affected by conflict in a way that helps others overcome the existing divisions in their lives. The bridge that we have found is 'strategic social art' because it has the capacity to share perspectives in a way that encourages engagement and reflection. We believe that sharing these perspectives is an invaluable way of increasing awareness and understanding.

What has been your most meaningful or noteworthy moment in your peace education career?

The most striking moment for me in my peace education related work has been connecting with other organizations/ artists/ individuals around the world that have similar interests in peace education. It’s a moment of imagination, when there are endless possibilities of what we could do together or where this journey will take us. It’s also a time when I get to learn about some really amazing initiatives and methodologies. Even better, is getting to meet these people in person.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I started working in this field because I really enjoy it. What led me here was the opportunity to study community peacebuilding as a Rotary Peace Fellow. As a fellow, I was also lucky enough to see the incredible work of the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia, Cyprus which really motivated me to continue working with peace education, especially through arts and culture. This linked very well to my previous experience with youth programs that utilized theater and music to promote positive social change. This work made me very aware of the power of artistic expression and the importance of using pre-existing interests to interact with communities.