Thank goodness I pursued a doctorate in Conflict Analysis & Resolution in spite of the many voices (internal and external) telling me to keep my jet setting corporate job.
Corporate life can be terrifically exciting -- travel opened my mind to the world. Doing business with the world's biggest advertisers and media companies prepared me to research and speak about how we can engage market actors (corporations) in peace building.
In my doctoral work, I bought business and conflict resolution together. Maintaining optimism while studying genocide prevention and post-conflict work, however can be challenging. Anyone interrupting cycles of fear, revenge and violence works against unspeakable odds.
Peace efforts are constantly being interrupted by suicide bombers, warlords, and greed.
My graduation speech, below, speaks to the feelings of hopelessness any sane person can feel.
Five years of research instilled in me a nugget of wisdom for those wanting to contribute and feel overwhelmed by the need around us.
This wisdom emerged from hundreds of hours spent Holocaust survivors as part of my doctoral work. I also spoke with survivors of the 1965 genocide in Indonesia and refugees from Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria -- all seeking a way forward. The 9/11 kids who belong to a group called Tuesday's Children echoed many of the same messages.
We can always honor the dead. For the living -- our contributions and caring are never too little and never too late. Excuse the slightly crinkly video with my 3 minute speech speaking to this point.