March 20, 2009
Nonviolence advocate Maya Soetoro-Ng conducted a presentation on "Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding and Education" for the students and faculty of the Monterey Institute of International Studies yesterday. Soetoro-Ng serves on the International Advisory Board of Global Majority, a Monterey-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nonviolent conflict resolution education, mediation and advocacy.
Explaining her approach to the high school class she teaches on nonviolent conflict resolution, she described asking her students to write in the voice of the "other" they feared or disliked. "Empathy is an underutilized quality," she said. "Peace is something that begins with the individual, in finding humanity in inhumane situations."
Soetoro-Ng has a long and rich background in cultures and education. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, she later moved with her family to Honolulu, Hawai'i. A graduate of Barnard College, she holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from NYU's College of Education and a Ph.D. in International Comparative Education from the University of Hawaii. She is currently a high school teacher at La Pietra, a school for girls in Honolulu, where she teaches World Cultures, US History and the Constitution, as well as Peacemakers, a course she designed on the power of nonviolence. In August 2008, Soetoro-Ng spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in support of her half-brother Barack Obama’s candidacy for president.
Global Majority was co-founded in 2004 by 27th District California Assemblymember Bill Monning, a former Monterey Institute professor, and a group of Institute graduates who studied conflict resolution and related subjects. The organization consists of an internationally diverse group of individuals who share a common vision of promoting nonviolent conflict resolution, through shared cross-cultural experience, conflict resolution training, and respect for the fundamental principles in the International Declaration of Human Rights.