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Sarah Spiers

Sarah Spiers is a student at Eastern Washington University and the founder of the Mwambao Alliance. The Alliance is designed to work with an African school and has been able to bring over 25,000 books, water wells, proper bathrooms teaching materials as well as starting a soccer club. She also runs a political science club at Eastern Washington University as well as making movies and documentaries to bring light to social injustices.

Interviewed by Kendall Dehnel, May 2014

Cooperation. This is the word that comes to mind when explaining what peace means to me. Peace is such a vague word in reality since it can embraced differently by different people, but My work with the Alliance has taught me about how I perceive peace in this way. I have had to work both domestically in order to gain support and volunteers but also internationally. I have worked closely with the school and people in Africa in order to develop this initiative and to develop all the programs. You must have an effective cooperation in order to achieve your goals.

How can we achieve this cooperation? Education plays into this as well as personal accountability. If someone is studying peace they must first try to understand the premise of what war or violence is and why it is used in order to form a better solution. If you don’t know the logic behind war or violence how can you change it? You must understand the causes, effects, outcomes and the ideology. If you know how you can find realistic solutions to change that outcome. You need to understand peace as well. If you come at this in a educated logical way with stats and logistics it can be way more efficient in changing the outcomes.

When working in any environment you will be working with people who hold different or opposing views as your own. When people can work together in spite of these opposing views, this is when you can reach peace. This is when your personal accountability plays into it. We must be individually responsible and able to work with those with opposing views.  We must work with those people who are different than us instead of migrating to the militaristic side and perpetrate towards violence.  We must be able to listen to what others are saying and being open to being wrong and finding the middle ground. This will transform the group to form a collective accountability and a collective sense of peace.