Claremont Lincoln Announces University’s First Peacemaker Fellows

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Students from the U.S., Tanzania and Ethiopia selected for scholarships to Claremont Lincoln’s Master’s in Interfaith Action program to learn skills for promoting peace.

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“In my country we have 168 different ethnic groups with different religions and languages. People use their faith to incite conflict and problems and sometimes to kill others. I hope to help change that.

Claremont Lincoln University today announced the very first recipients of its Global Peacemaker Fellowship award, a full-paid scholarship to participate in the Master’s in Interfaith Action program.

The three recipients come from war-torn countries of Tanzania and Ethiopia, and the unwieldy bureaucracies of the U.S., -- each one with a dream to help promote peace and resolve conflict within their respective communities.

  • Dawit Gebre, Ethiopia, is a lawyer and member of an organization that resolves religious conflicts emerging between Christians and Muslims in his country.
  • Rev. Amani Mwaijande, Tanzania, is dean of students and chaplain of Tumaini University Makumira Mbeya, where he hopes to help educate people in his country about the importance of interfaith in promoting peace.
  • Darrell Burrell, Washington, D.C., is diversity and inclusion employee for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His goal is to help foster a more inclusive working environment within the agency and beyond.

Global unrest and the mounting need for leaders to seek out non-violent solutions to conflict prompted Claremont Lincoln University last year to set up the scholarship fund to help educate international change-makers for peace. The Global Peacemakers Fellowship Program offers fully funded fellowships in the amount of $15,000 to professionals to pursue a master’s degree in Interfaith Action at Claremont Lincoln University. The program is offered online, allowing students to participate in meaningful dialogue among cohorts practicing interfaith all over the world.

“Without enduring peace, there can be no meaningful development in Africa,” said Gebre. “Promoting a culture of peace and trust and using interfaith as an instrument of love and unity are major competencies I look forward to acquiring from this program.”

Gebre has had significant involvement as a peacemaker to resolve religion-based conflicts in Southwest Ethiopia, where 4,000 members of local Protestant churches were displaced due to persecution by Muslim extremists in which 69 churches and a Bible school were obliterated. “My effort in convincing religious leaders and working in close partnership with the local government has finally played a pivotal role in resolving this seemingly unmanageable conflict.”

Like Gebre, Mwaijande also hopes to learn the skills that are essential in bringing peace to his homeland, which is largely divided over differences in religion and ideology.

“In my country we have 168 different ethnic groups with different religions and languages,” Mwaijande said. “People use their faith to incite conflict and problems and sometimes to kill others. I hope to help change that.”

Burrell, a former U.S. Presidential Management Fellow, has worked for more than 15 years in management and organizational development in government, academia and private industry in the United States. It’s his goal to gain insight into strategies than can bring about an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of any organization.

“Since 2001, U.S. government agencies have experienced a tremendous increase in discrimination complaints, especially those directed toward Middle Eastern-American male employees, which has risen 10-fold,” he said. “Diversity training in the government at this point fails to educate employees on religious tolerance and cultural competence in the workplace.”

The M.A. in Interfaith Action degree is intended for leaders in faith-based organizations, religious communities, nonprofit organizations and other public arenas in which religious multiplicity can be a source of conflict, yet also has the potential to become a rich resource for positive change. For more information visit http://www.claremontlincoln.org/admission/global-peacemakers-fellowship/.

ABOUT CLAREMONT LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
Claremont Lincoln University is a nonprofit graduate institution that immerses students in a dynamic learning community, leveraging pluralistic perspectives to promote richer thinking toward transformation. Our mission is to put wisdom to work in the world, and our proprietary Claremont Core methodology enriches the learning experience with mindfulness, dialogue, collaboration and change, enabling students across a variety of sectors to implement change for good. The university offers master’s degrees in Ethical Leadership, Interfaith Action and Social Impact. http://www.ClaremontLincoln.org

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Deniene Rivenburg
Claremont Lincoln University
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