By Veronica Jacob, Director of Innovation and Impact, Mediators Beyond Borders International
During these unprecedented times, we are all experiencing moments of panic, fear, scarcity, and uncertainty, and conflict seems inevitable. But conflict is not inherently bad; it is simply an expression of our diversity – diverse needs, perspectives, and possibilities. Conflict is natural; violence is not. And with the right skills, conflict can be transformed into a positive source of creativity, collaboration, creative problem solving, and unprecedented progress.
As an official service partner of Rotary, Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) comes with an international team of practitioners with the technical expertise to equip local communities with critical conflict transformation skills, worldwide. Rotary has already experienced the power of partnership in organizing polio vaccinations with local and global partner organizations; in the same way, Rotary can reduce violent conflict globally by collaborating with MBBI.
Peace is the foundation on which every other humanitarian goal is based. And where unresolved – or violent – conflict persists, so do all other issues. But resilience is found in the ability to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions. And conflict transformation skills are precisely the tools we need to build more resilient communities.
Rotary’s partnership with Mediators Beyond Borders International brings a uniquely collaborative, inclusive approach that has enabled Rotary to expand while the world is contracting. Rotary’s commitment to peace and conflict prevention, coupled with MBBI’s technical expertise in the field of conflict transformation, inclusivity, cultural competency, and trauma-informed peacebuilding, presents a powerful partnership. And the global pandemic, political tensions, economic uncertainty, social unrest, and climate changes have only highlighted the profound necessity of exactly this work. For example, during the ongoing pandemic, the Rotary Club of San Pedro invited MBBI to design and host a Social and Racial Justice Peace Conversation for their club. This collaboration resulted in creative thinking, problem solving, positive outcomes, and laying critical foundations to build more resilient communities.
Both Rotary and MBBI bring important skills and expertise when collaborating through the official service partnership to address critical conflict transformation skills. Members of the Rotary network are successful community and business leaders, and their connections can offer insight into community priorities and culture. Rotary members can identify prospective beneficiaries and key local leaders, offer logistical and funding resources, provide technical expertise across many different fields, advocate for specific causes, mobilize outreach and action, build local or international partnerships, and much more.
An internationally recognized peacebuilding organization, Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) keeps the people affected by conflicts at the center of peacebuilding and understands that peace is a process. It is MBBI’s mission to build local skills for peace and promote mediation worldwide. Their approach emphasizes inclusivity and cultural competency, and their multi-disciplinary practitioners uncover and address the many contexts of conflict, including the impact of trauma on communities. Together, Rotary members and MBBI can provide peacebuilding and mediation skills to build stronger, more stable communities.
It is urgent that we continue to equip local communities with the skills to respond to those conflicts constructively and to build resilience. Today’s challenges offer a bold invitation to leaders who are committed to a vision of peace. Not only will partnerships like this continue to make this work possible, but it will help shape the way we move forward in this historic and unprecedented time.
There are many ways in which the Rotary family can get involved with MBBI, such as Peace Conversation Facilitation training, community assessments for peace projects, the advancement of women’s involvement in mediation, building peace through development of leadership, livelihoods, and reconciliation, and much more. Learn how you can get involved here.