of the work of Virginia Swain, Reconciliation Leadership and
the Institute for Global Leadership:
it is hard to write about people. Not because they are hard or you
don't know them enough, but because you cannot find an appropriate
word. There are some people who you learn through your responses.
There is just a heart beating. There are no words. Virginia is such
a person. It is enough to spend some time with her, and to be sure
that her heart is beating together with yours. There are no words;
just heart beating. And after that, when you are somewhere alone,
you still have that heart beating and you know that her heart is
beating just for you. It is heart beating that gives you strength.
There are no words. There is just heart heating, but that heart
beats for you, and you are aware of it."
Marijana Ajzenkol, Croatia
is a pleasure for me to have met you, Virginia. You have been for
me a source of inspiration. Your commitment to peacebuilding in
Africa is an encouragement for me. Your involvement in certain activities
toward capacity building for Africa will help to create a new vision
for our countries. and our continent. God bless you. Peace, peace,
always peace within you, your family, around you, with others."
have been very interested in Virginia Swains innovative approach
to peacebuilding in highly stressful conflict situations, and her
development of a Institute for Global Leadership for training Reconciliation
Leaders and building a global mediation and reconciliation service.
The Program will be an important contribution to the United Nations
Year and Decade of Education for Nonviolence for the Worlds Children."
Boulding, Professor Emerita of Sociology,
Dartmouth College. Former Secretary-General,
International Peace Research Association
particular, Virginias humanity, dedication and determination in
the conception and production of her project cornerstone event,
the Celebration of the Children of the World, presented at the United
Nations in 1992, gave credence to her impressive credentials as
a successful global networker and true exponent of the new language
of international collaboration. The mastery of this concept could
lead to the maturation of human society into a genuine planetary
family Her peacebuilding process of reconciliation, which provides
a personalizing experience of real community, offers significant
promise for integrating the vision of global cooperation into the
everyday consciousness of men, women and children."
Collins, International Commerce
and Human Development Consultant in Ireland,
Slovakia and the European Union. Team Member,
Virginia's Master of Arts Project, United Nations
am pleased to invite you to present a panel discussion on the Global
Mediation and Reconciliation Service project and the Rwanda pilot
project at the Hague Appeal for Peace in the Hague on May 11-15,
1999 in the Prevention, Resolution and Transformation of Violent
Conflict Strand. I would also like to encourage funding support
for start-up costs for implementing your generic model that could
be widely applied to historic protracted situations."
John McDonald, Chairman,
Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy
am pleased to recommend Virginia Swain. Virginia has the vision,
commitment and competence to successfully train people for non-violent
conflict resolution and reconciliation leadership. She brings to
her work spiritual, psychological and pragmatic approaches that
help people develop in themselves and import to others the qualities
of trust, power sharing and healing needed for this work. Non-violent
conflict resolution and reconciliation leadership are emerging fields
that will have increasing importance for national and international
peace and security, as indicated by recent efforts in South Africa,
Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia, to name only a few countries.
Virginia has been doing workshops and organizing toward this goal
for some time now. I have known Virginia for about seven years and
know that she is totally dedicated to this goal. She has the drive,
creative initiative and competence to see it through. She has taken
the initiative to approach UN officials and representatives of nongovernmental
and civil society organizations. She works very well with others
in scholarly, policy and action arenas alike, and should make a
valuable contribution to the groups with which she is engaged."
Mische, President Emerita,
Global Education Associates and Lloyd
Professor of World Law, Antioch Univeristy
was an active participant in the Steering Committee of the Tent
of Meeting project for the City of New Haven in 1985. In her role
in the Steering Committee, Virginia distinguished herself as a concerned
and committed citizen to bring a work of art to the City that involved
the participation of various community groups. Virginia brought
careful and realistic analysis of our budget structure and implementation.
She brought keen attention to the issues and questions that the
committee had to solve. She had an understanding of the Project
that involved both an appreciation for the Tent of Meeting as a
work of art as well as its implication for the good of the community
at large. Additionally, she was the person on the committee that
continued to remind us and help lead us to the point of focus. She determined that a slogan ought to be
defined and designed a button with the phrase 'Celebrating Our Differences'
for publicity and marketing purposes very successfully. She was
constantly available to help write, to help evaluate goals, and
to work with our Project Director and others in implementing those
goals. Virginia was a facilitator for the committee that helped
draw on the strengths and talents represented in the group in order
to make a contribution towards our common interest. She was one
of the outstanding members and represented very high standards of
managerial and human resource skills. Displaying a keen intelligence
as well as sensitivity to the various types of people involved,
Virginia emerged as a civic leader who has talent and ability to
work in public relations and public projects in a constructive and
successful manner. At the last minute, during a financial crunch,
she successfully raised additional monies to complete the project
from the Xerox Corporation."
W. Cook, Director, Institute of Sacred Music
and Professor of Religion and the Arts, Yale University
“Virginia's culminating integrative project for her master’s degree demonstrates her ability to draw from theory, research, and considerable personal experience to develop community building goals and strategies in an international framework. During her graduate studies Virginia combined her unique skill set and connections with the United Nations to develop a coalition to create a Celebration of the Children of the World, which she carried forth on December 9, 1993 at the United Nations with much aplomb. The event followed the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and was held to commemorate Human Rights Day, The Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the beginning of the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples. Ms. Swain is a remarkable, multi-talented individual who compassionately embraces a world vision.”
Marion J. Nesbit, Ph.D,
Associate Professor and Program Director,
The Independent Study Degree Program,
Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Swain's proposal to begin a Reconciliation Leadership Certificate
Program through her Institute for Global Leadership for global mediation
and reconciliation has great importance now we are in the year 2000.
As the international community faces intractable conflicts and genocide,
a new overarching vision is needed with deep roots in the community.
As a consultant to UNESCO, I know how much a leadership institute
an global mediation and reconciliation service is needed. The project
falls within the scope of a Culture of Peace, as defined by UNESCO
and the United Nations Association proclaiming year 2000 as the
International Year of a Culture of Peace with the explicit purpose
of launching a movement towards sustainable peace. Virginia Swain's
initiative is compatible with many aspects of the mission of the
UN: maintaining peace by assuring the willingness to mobilize people
and the civic society in developing a global security system.
proposed project for an Institute for Global Leadership Reconciliation
Leadership program for global mediation and reconciliation emphasizes
practical ways to transform attitudes first intellectually,
and then through skill building necessary to reach the goal of reconciliation.
designing a curriculum for training for reconciliation leadership
Virginia will anchor ideals and principles in daily possible actions
to empower people. Most importantly, the Certificate Program is
offering a concrete link between personal and global peace with
a perspective of transforming people and systems. Virginia's project
will go far to make the transition from a culture of war into a
culture of peace.
has been developing her peacebuilding process of reconciliation
Process to develop political will since 1992. The high quality of
her research, partners and resources are extraordinary. The first
implementation, the 1992 event at the United Nations in New York,
Celebration of the Children of the World, is an illustration of
Virginia ability to envision, plan and implement a bold peacemaking
strategy. Many people experienced a shift from their own sovereign
consciousness to a personal experience of global community. Virginia
rethinks political empowerment as growing from collaborative and
peaceful evolution, a qualitative action to reach reconciliation
first met Virginia at the International Conference on Education
and Globalization in Boston, sponsored by the Comparative International
Education Society, in March 1995. Since this event, we have often
discussed her Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation. Now that
she is upgrading the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to
a Global Reconciliation Service, her personal and professional work
have prepared her well for this endeavor. Virginias expertise in
conflict resolution and community building has been important in
the implementation of this facilitation service.
addition, her extensive experience with NGOs, her organizational
development experience designing and implementing large system and
culture change interventions have all given her the skillset and
competencies to solve problems effectively. Virginia has special
gifts of compassion and creativity to design and implement personal
and organizational growth.
recommend the Reconciliation Leadership Certificate Program as a
specific means to promote a sustainable culture of peace while helping
global citizens to learn, grow and respect one another."
Pedagogue and Consultant,
Global Education, UNESCO
can think of no one more qualified to receive funding for her peacebuilding
work than Virginia Swain. Her Institute for Global Leadership certificate
training to promote coexistence and reconciliation is a bold approach
to provide resources to address the cycle of violence for the International
Year/Decade on Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World
(2000-2010). Virginia's program to begin a global mediation and
reconciliation consultation and training service. Over a dozen implementations
beginning at the United Nations in 1992 have been developed in local
and international settings.
the conditions of peace appear to be scarce, the reality is that
the solutions for peace reside within the hearts and minds of awakened
individuals. The purpose of Ms. Swain's training allows twelve leaders
to learn a body of knowledge and leadership competencies that arrests
the cycle of violence that goes on for generations, nurtures peacemakers,
and offers an interdisciplinary approach to nation building that
grows out of organization development, nonviolence history, psychology,
and international relations. Ms. Swains work is a valuable contribution
to the field of peace studies and peacemaking.
is innovative about Ms. Swain's pilot projects in Rwanda, Philippines,
with refugees from the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations Community
and the Parliament of the World's Religions is her emphasis on a
collaborative process which involves and engages those most affected
by the conflict to become stakeholders in the consultation process.
A training to promote coexistence and reconciliation leadership
teaches leaders how safe environments can be facilitated by more
people to resolve the complex problems of the 21st century and make
the world safe for differences both for the United Nations
and the international community.
first met Ms. Swain in 1994 when we were on the economic development
committee for a conference celebrating the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Over the years, I have been impressed by her scholarship,
compassion, and commitment. What has impressed me the most is her
capacity to not just engage in theoretical ruminations about peace.
She has the courage to deeply be engaged in creating a peacebuilding
process in her own life. She is engaged holistically as an activist,
scholar, and individual human being. She was already on this path
before I knew her. I can therefore say with confidence that Virginia
has the credentials and qualifications to contribute both to the
scholarship and practice to promote coexistence and reconciliation
great enthusiasm and confidence, I highly recommend the work of
Virginia Swain. Virginia is an asset to the field. I am confident
that in the years to come, her work will transform the field of
Walker, Ph.D., President, Center for Arts
and Spirituality in International Development, Chicago, IL
to our talks was her deepening sense of commitment to a ministry
of peacemaking at all levels of society, from personal relationships
her own and those of others to reconciliation of conflict
in parishes, and to the global arena of the United Nations and the
World Parliament of Religions This vocation has seemed to me very
real, and seems, too, to have been validated in a wonderful way
by the forming of a relationship with a man who shares her commitment,
and with whom she can try to incarnate the vision of reconciliation
in which she so passionately believes. I believe that Virginia and
Joseph are a strong couple, supportive to each other and able, both
in their relationship and in their joint work in the Center for
Global Community and World Law to be a witness and force for peace."
Convent of St. Helena, NY
fantastic, moving breathtaking Earth Summit follow-up...executed
with grace without a perceived hitch...A sensitive extravaganza,
embracing many traditions..."
Clark, a United Nations Representative
from the Network of Environmental
and Economic Responsibility
of the United Church of Christ
to Ms. Virginia Swain...who organized, planned and led the 9 December
Celebration...following the Earth Summit's spirit of hope, this
very successful celebration brought together artists, spiritual
leaders and children- reminding UN delegates of the importance of
Agenda 21 and honoring the role of indigenous peoples for the future
of the Earth..."
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Golliher,
Environmental Representative of the
Anglican Observer to the United Nations
Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Massachusetts endorses
the Global Reconciliation Service and initial projects in Rwanda
and the United States.
is a member of the Commission and the Anglican Womens network. The
Commission has funded her efforts to bring people to the table in
dialogue at the International Institute of Peace in Vienna in 1994,
at the NGO forum of the United Nations World Social Summit in Copenhagen
in 1995, and a Re-Imagining the Urban Environment Conference in
Global Reconciliation Service began at the United Nations in 1992
with her first project, Celebration of the Children of the World,
which was endorsed by Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros-Ghali and
a coalition of 60 UN agencies, international civil servants, member
stages and non-governmental organizations. She has been developing
her work in local and international settings since 1992.
has been invited to chair a panel discussion on the Global Reconciliation
Service during the Hague Peace Conference in May of 1999 in the
Prevention and Transformation of Violent Conflict Strand of this
civil society forum designed to bring citizens from all over the
world in an appeal for peace, and in a bid for a better future for
the children of tomorrow. A hundred years ago, in May 1899, the
leading powers of the time convened in the Hague to agree on how
to prevent international conflicts. The descendants of the ruling
families of Europe who signed the first Hague Appeal will be present
at the second Hague Appeal, trying once again to bring peace in
a new century.