We each observe the world around us according to our own personal experiences. I was brought up in a very loving home, encouraged to think critically and be open- minded. I have fond memories of volunteering at an early age with my parents with non-profit organizations and attending protests and signing petitions. I had little clue of the depth of my actions at the time, but looking back, I think the grassroots activity in which I was participating is at the core of conflict resolution.
Once I hit my teens, I started educating myself on world events, and I formed my own opinions about America's policies. I got involved with the American Friends Service Committee and learned that problems can be solved while still considering "the inherent worth and dignity of every human being." Through this Quaker-based social action organization I learned so much about standing up for what is right, even if you stand alone. I was fortunate to receive two internships through AFSC; my last experience with the John Looney Internship to train young leaders in Peace, Justice and Nonviolence cemented my passion for non-violent conflict resolution.
It was also through this internship experience that I discovered that Kent State University offered study toward an undergraduate degree in Applied Conflict Management. I began the program after a four year hiatus from attending school. It has been a slow process as I work full time and have been able to take only a few classes a year, but I'm chipping away at a most worthwhile goal.
Submitted by Serena-Claire Hanna
2009 John Looney Intern