I was interviewed by Barbara Gaughen-Muller in anticipation of the upcoming Rotary World Peace Conference in Ontario, California January 15 – 16, 2016. The conference will feature more than 100 breakout sessions covering themes related to peace and conflict resolution, in communities and globally. Presenters include notable nonprofit and business leaders, Rotarians, and Rotary Peace Fellows. Even actress Sharon Stone will be there—she’s one of the keynote speakers—presenting her new documentar, “FEMME”. I feel quite honored to be invited to present about my work with True Roots Consulting Group and developing projects for deep impact: about what makes a solid project and a strong organization—as well as what can stand in the way of success.
As a Rotary Peace Fellow alumna and international development consultant, I am often asked: “So how do you see peace? And how does it relate to your work?” In the interview, I talk about how peace goes a lot deeper than just the absence of violence. Conflict isn’t always visible or tangible. For example, conflict occurs when someone can’t earn a decent living, provide for their family, or put food on the table. This is not outright physical violence, but is structural violence—a subtle, often invisible form of violence perpetuated by systems and structures that hold back, oppress, and disadvantage individual people or populations.
The way I see it, the majority of philanthropic projects, nonprofit organizations, and individual efforts to make change in the world are responding to and challenging structural violence. They seek to address, alleviate, and eradicate poverty, disease, illiteracy, inequality, etc. (This isn’t to say that each of these projects is truly achieving what they set out to do—we all know that famous phrase about good intentions.)
Our mission at True Roots is to accompany these individuals, businesses, and organizations in dreaming up and implementing effective social responsibility projects that challenge structural violence. We assist in planning, managing, and monitoring and evaluating projects with true sustainability in mind—with the goal of generating resiliency and self-management capacities within stakeholders. And this is where I make the connection between my work with True Roots and peace: we are helping change makers make change in the world—and to make it more effective.
By Summer Lewis
Click here to listen to the full interview