By David J. Smith, July 27, 2016
I was invited to give a presentation at Conservation International (CI) on July 26 about the work of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc. The meeting was hosted by CI, but the audience consisted mostly of interns from the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD).
CI is an Arlington-based NGO focusing on preserving the environment. In existence for over 30 years, CI works through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities and companies, and employs 1,000 people to advance its conservation work. Before my presentation, CI shared with group its Conservation and Peace program. Increasingly, groups are recognizing the intersection between conflict and the environment, and how sustaining the planet promotes peace.
IMTD is a well-regarded NGO working to bring communities together and promote
peacebuilding outcomes using multi-track strategies. It was founded in 1992 to advance a systems-based approach to peacebuilding and to facilitate the transformation of deep-rooted social conflict through education, conflict resolution training, and communication. Those in attendance were participating in IMTD’s internship program.
In my presentation and the discussion that followed I shared about the history and work of the Forage Center. I stressed the importance of experiential education as critical to professional preparation in the field today. I mentioned Michael VanRooyan’s book The World’s Emergency Room: The Growing Threat to Doctors, Nurses, and Humanitarian Workers published in 2016, which makes the case
for increasing professional training in the field. In addition, I cited USIP Special Report 246, which I co-authored in 2010, which criticizes higher education, and in particular graduate programs in the peace and conflict field, for not doing enough to prepare students for careers.
Registration for the Forage Center’s FTX Atlantic Promise program will open in September and will be held next March 16-19, 2017 in Fellsmere, FL. If you are interested in more information, contact the Forage Center.