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Crossroads, Winter 2005:
in the news

EMU trainees nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Stella Tamang, a Nepalese Buddhist, completed a five-day workshop on “trauma awareness and resilience” at EMU on Oct. 7, the day that the Nobel Peace Prize was announced. She and 10 others among the “1000 PeaceWomen” —a group nominated to win the 2005 prize—have links to EMU.

A Switzerland-based committee combed the world to find 1,000 women to represent the millions of women who have devoted themselves to a future free of violence, according to the committee’s website, www.1000peacewomen.org.

The committee spent almost three years seeking the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for representative women peacebuilders from more than 150 countries. That effort ended when the peace prize was awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Egyptian director general, Mohamed ElBaradei.

“I see this as an honor not for me—I don’t feel I deserve it for myself—but as a special recognition of the peace work being done by women around the world,” Tamang said at EMU.

Tamang is a powerful advocate for women’s rights and minority groups as a result of facing discrimination in Nepal on two fronts: she is from the indigenous Lama community and a Buddhist in the world’s only Hindu kingdom. The name of her organization, Milijuli Nepal, means “together.” Her message is that diverse groups in society can work together for their respective rights, with mutual toleration, without violence.

Eight of the 11 EMU-linked nominees have received training through one of EMU’s three flagship programs: its two-year masters program in Conflict Transformation, its six-week Summer Peacebuilding Institute, or its five-day session called “Strategies in Trauma Awareness and Resilience,” underwritten by Church World Service.

These eight hail from six countries—two from Kenya, two from the Philippines, and one each from Nepal, Russia, Rwanda and Somalia.

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Three others on the 1000 PeaceWomen list belong to EMU’s peace network. One of the American women, Elise Marie Biorn-Hansen Boulding, is a Quaker who helped guide EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding in its early years by serving on its first board from 1995 through 1998. Two other nominees have collaborated in Eastern Europe and the Philippines with persons holding EMU masters degree in conflict transformation.

“When EMU started its graduate peace program 10 years ago, we hardly dared dream of being a major player in the world peace arena,” said Ruth H. Zimmerman, co-director of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP).

“Now we are running into our graduates everywhere, and we are learning about the impact they have on others. It’s a huge ripple effect,” she said.
—Bonnie Lofton (G 04)