As a peacebuilding training institute working to find ways to connect and provide space for solidarity to as many peacebuilders as possible around the world, MPI enters into a new collaborative relationship with the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, USA. The partnership was formalized this October when the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating their intention of cooperation for collaboration on mutually beneficial grant opportunities and curriculum development.
Elizabethtown College is a community of learners dedicated to educating students intellectually, socially, aesthetically, and ethically for lives of service and leadership as citizens of the world. As a comprehensive institution, the College offers academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies. In the same way that MPI marries theoretical and practical skills and knowledge, and lessons from experiences in its courses, the College combines classroom instruction with experiential learning to promote independent thought, personal integrity and social responsibility as the foundations for a life of learning. They believe that learning is most noble when used to benefit others and affirm the values of peace, nonviolence, human dignity and social justice.
The connection between Elizabethtown and MPI was established through the efforts of one of MPI's mainstay facilitators at the Annual Training Program. Jonathan Rudy who is also currently a peacemaker-in-residence at Elizabethtown College has been with MPI since 2002 as a facilitator for courses such as Fundamentals of Peacebuilding, Active Nonviolence, Religion and Peacebuilding, and a field-based course on grassroots peacebuilding.
The two instiutions hope to cooperate and collaborate on mutually beneficial training opportunities and facilitation of peacebuilding/conflict transformation topics. This may include, but not limited to, the areas of facilitation for praxis refinement, faculty visits, student interns, and ongoing academic research and interaction. It was also agreed that the parameters of the roles and responsibilities of each institution will be determined on a project-by-project basis.
In behalf of the two institutions, David Kenley, the Director for the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College, and Christine Vertucci, Director of MPI, signed the Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU will be applicable for a duration of three years and at the end of which, an evaluation of the relationship will be conducted.
MPI intends to nurture this relationship with Elizabethtown as it sees this as an opportune time to take advantage of its networks especially its pool of experienced facilitators and reach more peacebuilders not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also beyond.