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References

Endorsements of the work of Virginia Swain, Reconciliation Leadership and the Institute for Global Leadership:


"Sometimes 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


"It 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."

—Jean Ndayizigiye, Burundi


"I 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."

—Elise Boulding, Professor Emerita of Sociology,
Dartmouth College. Former Secretary-General,
International Peace Research Association


"In 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."

—Michael Collins, International Commerce
and Human Development Consultant in Ireland,
Slovakia and the European Union. Team Member,
Virginia's Master of Arts Project, United Nations


"I 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."

—Ambassador John McDonald, Chairman,
Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy


"I 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."

—Patricia Mische, President Emerita,
Global Education Associates and Lloyd
Professor of World Law, Antioch Univeristy


"Virginia 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."

—John 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


"Virginia 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.

"Virginia's 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.

"By 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.

"Virginia 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 and peace.

"I 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.

"In 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.

"I 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."

—Paulette Vigeant,
Pedagogue and Consultant,
Global Education, UNESCO


"I 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.

"While 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.

"What 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.

"I 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 leadership.

"With 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 peacebuilding."

—Patricia Walker, Ph.D., President, Center for Arts
and Spirituality in International Development, Chicago, IL


"Central 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."

—Linda Julian, O.S.H.,
Convent of St. Helena, NY


"A fantastic, moving breathtaking Earth Summit follow-up...executed with grace without a perceived hitch...A sensitive extravaganza, embracing many traditions..."

—Donald Clark, a United Nations Representative
from the Network of Environmental
and Economic Responsibility
of the United Church of Christ


"Congratulations 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..."

—The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Golliher,
Environmental Representative of the
Anglican Observer to the United Nations


The Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Massachusetts endorses the Global Reconciliation Service and initial projects in Rwanda and the United States.

Virginia 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 1996.

Virginia's 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.

Virginia 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.