URI Brings Nonviolence to Nepal

Nepal GroupThis alternative spring break trip was no Cancun beach party – it was a mission to deliver the hope of peace and nonviolence to a nation emerging from 10 years of civil war and internal political conflict. Twenty URI students, faculty and friends joined the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies to travel halfway around the world to conduct Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training for Nepali peace activists and university students. For the fourth year, URI’s Center conducted the training in collaboration with several Nepali nongovernmental organizations, including Collective Campaign for Peace, Center for Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Promotion, and Social Work for Development. Also participating were students from Tribhuvan University’s Conflict, Peace & Development Studies Program. With the world’s highest and most magnificent Himalaya Mountains as the backdrop to the training, URI students and Nepalis participated in three days of interactive dialogues, experiential exercises, and simulated training activities. Cultural boundaries were quickly crossed as participants worked together and established friendships. Following the important global peacebuilding work, the URI team traveled through the central highlands and lower Terai plains to experience first hand the  cultural and geographic diversity of this beautiful country. From the ancient city of Bhaktapur to mountainous Nagarkot, to jungles of Chitwan National Park, to an orphanage and several holy temples in the capitol city of Kathmandu, this life changing experience brought us all together as we developed close friendships and deepened our commitment to a peaceful world. We are grateful to the wonderful Nepali people for their generous hospitality, and humbled by their happy spirits despite the challenges of their difficult living conditions in one of the poorest countries in the world. Many lessons were learned from the Nepali people we met on this journey — none more important than how to find inner peace, live happily and be rich in spirit even under circumstances of extreme poverty, endangering pollution and threatening conflict.