Family, friends, and colleagues,
This life update is long overdue. Before I begin, thank you for your support during the PanelPicker voting process for SXSW 2018. My panel proposal- SenseMaking for Cities: Conflict and Complexity– has driven the recent flurry of activity that I will outline below. The initial response to the concept I outlined gives me faith in the approach to conflict transformation that I’m developing. I’m confident that this work will prove useful for many and have an impact on the field of peace studies, especially in the realm of structural conflict transformation. Stay tuned for the results!
After finishing my course work for my M.A. International Peace Studies at UPEACE, I have been busy on a variety of new projects and ventures in addition to my full-time job at the KU Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR). On September 10, I will be embarking on a new adventure. I’ll be attending the Inaugural Cynefin Retreat in Wales. The retreat is a gathering of several scholars, researchers, and professionals with the “sole purpose of intellectual discourse to advance the fields of complexity science and design thinking.”
Why Wales? A year and a half ago, I helped establish a partnership between the Cynefin Centre for Applied Complexity at the Bangor Universityin Wales and KU CPPR. CPPR has implemented the SenseMaker® approach in a variety of research and evaluation projects. Developing the projects at KU led me to incorporate SenseMaker® into my thesis work at UPEACE. The Cynefin Retreat marks a transition in my professional life- I plan to take on reporting and Cynefin Centre projects as a contractor and learn from the experience of my colleagues in Wales.
Later in September I will attend a training on Cynefin and Complexity Foundations in Amsterdam, take a brief trip to Belgium, and then return to the UK to visit universities (for my PhD) and continue work with the Cynefin Centre.
In November and December, I will relocate to the Galtung-Institut for Peace Theory and Peace Practice in southern Germany near Basel, Switzerland. I will work on completing my thesis work by rounding out the theoretical sections. I’ll workshop my approach during a weekend seminar in December. The topic will be Structural Conflict Transformation with the United States as a case study for European colleagues interested in learning about the various elements of disintegration the country is experiencing. Additionally, I’ll be assisting Prof. Johan Galtung on an online course on Advanced Conflict Transformation for the UN-Mandated University for Peace in January (pending final administrative approval).
I am currently faced with overwhelming opportunity. It’s extremely exciting, and I’m looking forward to providing regular updates on the development of my projects. My studies and work are aligning to my career as a peacebuilder, and I couldn’t be more pleased.