Applications are coming in for the first Caux Scholars Program to be held at Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change center in Panchgani, India. Twenty scholars from across the globe will gather for this intensive three-week academic course that runs from December 28, 2014 to January 16, 2015. As well as applicants from India there are others from Pakistan and Afghanistan who are applying for the program.
Leading the program is Babu Ayindo, a Kenyan consultant in the design and facilitation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes. Ayindo is a researcher and trainer in the arts, peace education and development communication. He has worked in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Mozambique, various parts of Europe, Korea and Fiji, to transform conflict in communities using the tools of theater and the arts. Ayindo was a Caux Scholar in 1999 and taught as a guest lecturer in the program in Switzerland for two summers.
The Caux Scholars Program-Asia Plateau (CSP-AP) will teach students to analyze conflicts and the factors that create and sustain them, as well as practical approaches to resolving them. Students will further develop their skills by visiting communities surrounding Panchgani where they will observe and experience peacebuilding and development work in the field. “Through interaction with a diverse array of peacebuilders and practical experience in the field of sustainable development, scholars will leave better prepared to address the conflicts that they face in their own communities,” says CSP program director Jitka Hromek-Vaitla.
Joining Babu Ayindo on the faculty is Sri Mayasabdra, who supports peace development initiatives through the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) country programs across Asia. He is on the Governance Board of Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) in the Philippines and the Steering Committee of Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI). He has collaborated in peace advocacy and peace education with non-governmental organizations in the Middle East - Palestine, Israel and Syria for four years.
Also serving on the faculty is Patrick McNamara, PhD, executive vice chair of the IofC USA board and a member of the 1996 CSP class. He has worked in the US and internationally with universities, corporations, governments, NGOs, and foundations for 25 years. He serves as Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. McNamara teaches conflict and negotiation, sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and civic leadership. In 2011, he was in India teaching social entrepreneurship and conducting research on water conflicts and social movements as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. He has returned to India each year since 2012 to teach social entrepreneurship, train civil servants and corporate executives on ethical leadership and good governance, and to work on water resource management.
The hope is that by holding this satellite program in India it will be more accessible to many from Asia and Africa where some of the hottest conflict areas are located. The cost per student is only $1000 but there is still a need to provide scholarship funds for many of those attending. Other countries have expressed interest in hosting satellite programs so the success of this initiatives in Asia Plateau may have a far reaching impact.