A Call For Action

Dear Reader,

To begin with, let us tell you that this is a call for action, and we mean it. We need you, and we are going to do our best to convince you about the urgency of this matter. Therefore, consider this as a warning; a warning with a twinkle in our eyes. Jokes aside, what we want to share with you is a concern which comes from the bottom of our hearts, because we believe that what we are working for matters. You may be a peace student, a peace worker, or you just came across this magazine and this article by chance. Either way, we want to extend a warm welcome to you. In case you do not know us, we take the opportunity to introduce the Peace Studies Fund e.V. and our vision to you.

The Peace Studies Fund e.V. is an association founded by a group of five alumni and students of the Master’s Program for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck. We are all either writing our master’s thesis or already working full time. And we are all working for the Peace Studies Fund on a voluntary basis. Every semester we have experienced how the program is carried by the diversity of its students from all over the world. Every student enriches the group’s learning process with his/her unique background, stories and experiences. Hence, a unique learning environment is created in which we, future peace workers, learn to live, together with an international community. Moreover, we get a first-hand experience of what peace and conflict mean to people from all over the world.

Still, after every semester, we have to face the fact that some of our peers are not able to continue their studies because of money. It is as simple and, at the same time, as difficult as that. We strongly believe that financial difficulties should not keep anyone from becoming a peace worker. This is why we decided to take action and, in the spring of 2016, the Peace Studies Fund was born. We want to raise money for our fellow students who otherwise would not be able to obtain their master’s degree. The money we raise is added to the existing program’s scholarship fund. It is important to mention that we do not take the decision about who receives the financial support, but hand over the money to the program’s administration.

Since our foundation, we have been able to collect € 2.500 to support our peers. While we are incredibly happy that our initiative bears its first fruits, we, at the same time, have to point out that fundraising takes a lot of time and effort. Our current vision is to be able to fund one full scholarship for one semester, which at the moment means to raise € 5.000. We now want to ask for YOUR support. This is an urgent call for action. It does not matter if you work in or are connected to the field of peace and conflict studies and research. This is a unique opportunity to become part of a community that cherishes the beauty of diversity and contributes to more peace(s) in the world!

This project is about solidarity and diversity and the support of future peace workers in a master’s program where people from all over the world study and grow together, where peace and conflict are experienced and not only read about. A program wherein experiences and insights are gained and carried back into projects in the students’ home countries or into the various organisations students and alumni of this program work for worldwide. The students of this program are therefore multipliers of peaceful approaches, tools and techniques for conflict transformation which we learn throughout our studies. If this resonates with you, you are exactly what we are looking for!

What can you do? There are many ways in which you can help. For example, in October we organized an event in Heidelberg – a weekend for peace with different activities, such as lectures and dance. The money raised from this event income was donated to the Peace Studies Fund. Or what about spreading the word? In September we did a radio interview with Radio Freirad, a local radio station in Innsbruck, in their UniKonkret-Magazin to inform more people about our idea and why it is so important to support future peace workers.

Networking is key: This is one of our biggest efforts in which a lot of support is still needed. What we also do is searching for and addressing companies, foundations or initiatives which could either financially support the Peace Studies Fund or could be interesting networking partners for sharing ideas and experiences and maybe even working on future projects.

Become a member of the Peace Studies Fund e.V. and convince others to do the same. By becoming a member of the Peace Studies Fund e.V. you are first of all strengthening our community, for knowing about your solidarity even if you cannot donate is very important for us. And just imagine if all your friends become members and donate for example 5 Euros per month, or 10 Euros, or more. You can find the membership forms on our website.

Last but not least, of course, you are very welcome to donate any amount of money that is possible for you. Every little bit helps! You can engage and contribute in multiple ways according to your possibilities and resources. This can reach from one event to a short or long-term project. You are warmly welcome to contact us and share your ideas.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

The Peace Studies Fund e.V. Team

 


Student Voices:

“After three terms of what turned out to be a transformative journey, and watching the Peace Studies Fund get off the ground, I was strengthened in my resolution. I knew that I have it in me to use whatever resource I could find to help young people in my home country, one step at a time.“

Patrick, Educator; Working in strategic development and peacebuilding in non-governmental organisations; M.A. candidate and currently writing his thesis – Rwanda


“Being able to study within an ever-expanding world as I heard the stories of friends from all over the world was a priceless experience and one that has forever changed me.”

Meaghan, School Teacher; M.A. candidate and currently writing her thesis – Canada


“In a world where actions and
politics seem to be driven by fear for that which is unknown, different or even from ourselves, I believe
acceptance and tolerance are essential.”

Tuva, Leader of Changemaker Norway (NGO) – Norway


“To me, solidarity is not about helping others to do something; it is about giving all of us the opportunity to be the teachers and students in all of our relationships.“

Maria, European Studies; M.A. candidate and
currently writing her thesis – Spain


“Thus, as a German with a background in engineering, I was able to live together with a forty-year-old pastor from Ghana and a twenty year-old political scientist from Azerbaijan to discuss social problems and even experience moments of peace and conflict personally.”

Johannes, Creative Technology; M.A. candidate and
currently writing his thesis – Germany


“I must say that learning with an international community is a great adventurous experience. This
international community does not only share problems they have faced, but comes to a common ground where each of us becomes none other than a mere human being. This has been my first impression.”

Jagannath, Teacher; M.A. candidate and currently writing his thesis – Nepal

Image Sources:

  • Peace Studies Fund Logo: © Peace Studies Fund
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