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Wednesday, 21 June 2006
World Refugee Day June 20, 2006
Downtown Tucson is bustling with people. The swealtering heat doesn't seem to stop them from trekking out of their air conditioned offices around noon onto the streets humming with cars, bicycles and transients to grab a bite to eat at the corner bistro.
This part of the city has an intoxicating perfume. A mixture of hot sidewalk, fossil fuels, and hot dog vendors. It's an irresistable grittiness I rarely experience, but always find fascinating.
I park and walk through the maze of asphalt, cement and brick to the library entrance. At the doorway, I'm accosted by a throng of teens carrying clipboards and pens, the papers on them petitioning for all kinds of things... a total smoking ban in Tucson, an increase in programs like Head Start, and so on. I sign a few, and pass on a few, then head inside to the cool and quiet.
Downstairs, tables are set out with poster board presentations, papers and explanations about the different kinds of refugees and the different groups that help them locally.
The room is packed full of people speaking different languages, some I recognize, some I don't. I hear French, the Spanish, then something resembling Russian, and then there are the Somali Bantu. Their language is as foreign to me as I can possibly imagine... yet...
I walk around taking pictures, trying to figure out why these people in their colourful clothing make me feel so comfortable. Why the children, ranging from possibly 2 years old to 13 or 14 remind me of something. The Bantu people bring back memories for me.
Familiar faces of people I've never met.
Memories of the smiling faces of the children I played with as a child. They spoke another language. Something just as different and foreign as the languages spoken in this room. Fading memories of another home I left when I was young.
A guitarist from Romania sings Tom Waits songs for a little while, then traditional Romanian songs. Two women get up and stand next to him, singing. Their eyes closed as they dance a little dance and sing along. The memories they have of the home they were forced to leave who knows how long ago.

These are, in my opinion, the beautiful people.

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 10:04 AM PDT
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Tuesday, 20 September 2005
Red Cross Shelter in Tucson
Topic: Relief Efforts
Just a note about the short-lived shelter here in Tucson, while I found things a little disorganized, the group, as a whole, both volunteers and "guests" were amazing people.
It's an experience I'll never forget.

I was surprised to get negative feedback from people about going to help at the shelter. With all the negative media about looting and assault happening in New Orleans the week after Katrina, I can understand some concern over my well being, but to punish the vast majority of folks based on the actions of a few is really counterproductive in my mind. These people needed help.
My faith that most people are good people was reaffirmed at the shelter.

-- Wendy

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 9:42 AM PDT
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Monday, 5 September 2005
Hurricane Katrina Volunteers
Topic: Relief Efforts
Well, it's official.
I am now an official Red Cross volunteer.

Tucson has become one of the sites for the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. We're not sure when they'll get here, as they're being routed to Phoenix first until the accomodations in Phoenix fill up.
Maybe tomorrow, maybe later.

There are sites all over the place on how to help. Please do so. If you can't afford to donate money, find a place that's taking donations of clothing, medical and daily supplies (like shampoo etc) and take some extra.

May we all get through this in one piece.


Posted by The Peace Clinic at 5:44 PM PDT
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Sunday, 14 August 2005
Photos from Bolivia
Topic: Conflict Resolution
I have posted most of the photos from Santa Cruz Bolivia. Hopefully other members of the group will upload their own photos to this same site in the not too distant future.
Many of the photos are of the participants.



Posted by The Peace Clinic at 9:21 AM PDT
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Saturday, 13 August 2005
What is the field of Conflict Resolution?
Topic: Conflict Resolution

Conflicts happen whenever two parties, be they individuals, groups, communities, companies, or countries have differing positions on an issue. Some of the most common issues have to do with security, resources, or values.

The field of Conflict Resolution and Peace building focuses on being able to help conflicting parties to resolve their issues without resorting to violence, through mediation, negotiation, dialogue, and arbitration. The field of conflict resolution can also include efforts in schools and communities to educate the public on ways to reduce violence, stop bullying, and help them to develop constructive communication and problem solving skills.

There are several methods that peace builders and conflict resolution specialists have in their tool kit to assist conflicting parties in reaching a resolution. The most common of these tools, as mention previously are as follows:

Negotiation is a discussion among two or more people with the goal of reaching an agreement. Negotiation should not be mistaken with Debate. The intent of a debate is simply to convince the other party of the "rightness" of the speaker's position and not to reach an equitable agreement between both parties.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator, possibly a peace builder or conflict resolution specialist, assists the parties in discussing difficult issues and negotiating an agreement. Some basic steps in the process of mediation include: research and information gathering, developing options, negotiating, and formalizing agreements. Parties in mediation create their own solutions and the mediator does not have any decision-making power over the outcome.

Arbitration is a process in which a third-party neutral, after reviewing evidence and listening to arguments from both sides, issues a decision to settle the case. Arbitration is often used in commercial and labor/management disputes, and requires that all involved parties agree to abide by the arbitrator's ruling.

Peer Mediation refers to a process in which young people act as mediators to help resolve disputes among their peers. This tool is usually implemented in schools but could also be utilized at the community level as well.

Dialogue between parties is usually implemented with the intention of creating an understanding of differing views without any intention of creating a resolution to the original issues. Dialogue, like negotiation, should not be mistaken with debate. They key in both dialogue and negotiation is intent by all parties to participate in creating an understanding.

These tools and others assist conflict resolution specialists in creating solutions to issues that may have eventually (if not already) resulted in negative actions by one or more of the parties, including judicial action (lawsuits) and violence. By participating in peace building processes, conflicting parties are more likely to resolve their issues in a peaceful and equitable manner.

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 9:30 AM PDT
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Saturday, 30 July 2005
Greetings from Bolivia
Topic: Conflict Resolution

I have been in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for the past two weeks and have one week to go in my programme.
So far I've been simply amazed at the incredible people that are participating in this. I have made what I hope to be lifelong friends in two short weeks.
The ACT programme has included several amazing guest speakers to talk about peace processes on issues all over the world, but primarily in South America.
I am compiling a summary of the course work and will post it soon.

Be well

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 11:24 PM PDT
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Monday, 20 June 2005
July 1st, One Day
My wristbands for have come in.

The campaign is asking those who support their cause to wear the white ONE wristbands, put white ribbons on their car antennae, and/or possibly make T-shirts to wear July 1st.
This is the day before Live 8, an impressive conglomeration of musicians all over the world. They even managed to get Pink Floyd back together for this one.

For more information go to

---- Wendy ----

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 3:27 PM PDT
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Bolivia Graduate Program
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Conflict Resolution
Back in May I was accepted to a graduate program called the Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution through a cooperative effort between the Alliance for Conflict Transformation and Nur University in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
I will update this Blog with information on the program as it progresses as well as links to pictures of the city of Santa Cruz and possibly surrounding areas.
With the current political climate in Bolivia, this trip really holds a great significance for me. Too often I have viewed poverty and conflict on television, giving me a somewhat detatched position on things. While I believe it's good to be objective, it's also helpful to see, and possibly experience the suffering of the people in impoverished areas of the world in order to truly understand what they are having to deal with.
I leave July 14 for Santa Cruz and will arrive there July 15. My stay will be until August 8.

Please stay tuned for updates.

--- Wendy ----

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 3:16 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 20 June 2005 3:17 PM PDT
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Friday, 10 June 2005
One World
Recently my attention was drawn to an amazing organization I'd like to share with you.

The One Campaign

On July 1st, is asking that people all over the US spread the word by wearing the wristband, or attaching white ribbon to their car, their arm, their tree, what have you.

The goal? Spread awareness about how we can end poverty in our lifetime.

It seems quite idealistic, but after hearing spokesperson Brad Pitt's discussion on the subject with Diane Sawyer on Primetime a few days ago, it seems much more possible.

One of the facts that he pointed out that has stuck squarely in my mind is that, for $17 a YEAR, an Ethiopian child can go to school.
The dreadful part is that these children rarely get that $17 a year.
Even on my piddly student income, I can afford to spend $17 a year on someone's education.

The problem, Pitt says, is that being born into a wealthy country tends to give us a sense of entitlement, a sense of superiority.
This is something that needs to be overcome in order to end poverty throughout the world.

While Pitt's interview was a bit emotionally charged, with images of AIDS infected orphan teenagers trying like mad to get through school, one question did pop up for me:

As an anthropologist... as someone who reads the news... as an educated and realistic individual... how much of that $17 a year that I send to send an orphan to school is going to go to fund the conflicts that are placing her in this impoverished state to begin with?

While I believe that the cost of getting the aid to her is a small price to pay to save her life... still, I'd still like the question answered.

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 6:38 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005 6:46 AM PDT
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Topic: Introduction

I'd like to start off with a hardy Welcome to everyone who chooses to read these types of things.
My name is Wendy, I'll be your host for this wild ride.

First I'll start by telling you a little about myself. I am 32, a single mother of a phenomenal 13 year old. I live in Tucson, AZ (USA) with my daughter, my boyfriend, my dog, my two fish, my three parakeets, and my two goats.
I am currently in school finishing my BA in Anthropology at the University of Arizona and am scheduled to finish in May 2006. After I finish there, I intend on going to graduate school and focusing on Conflict Resolution and/or Refugee research studies.
While my interests are varied, one of the projects I hope to work on when pursuing my MA is researching the effects that the presence of aid organizations have on conflicted areas.

At this point, I will wrap up my little blurb about me and update you on the news at hand.

Posted by The Peace Clinic at 6:22 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005 6:40 AM PDT
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