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Lisa Schirch :: Scholar of Peace

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Scholar of Peace

Lisa Schirch is a propagator of peace, a scholar at Eastern Mennonite University who teaches students methods of preventing violent conflict. Now Schirch is working to instruct members of Congress in the methods for building peace.

It all began when Schirch worked with peace-builders in Ghana in 2002. During an outbreak of tribal violence in the country’s north, the Ghanaians approached their national leaders and created a network for peace—national, regional, and local peace councils that could address and solve conflicts before they escalated into violence. Schirch’s studies later led her to Iraq, where she trained a community development group called REACH in skills for bringing Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds together to build wells and water treatment projects. After the training, REACH countered, what was Schirch doing to change U.S. foreign policy in Iraq? “That was the last straw,” says Schirch. She returned to the U.S. and began bringing peace-builders like REACH and the Ghanaians to meet with members of Congress. “REACH told me, ‘Security doesn’t land in a helicopter. It grows from the ground up.’ That’s our message to the U.S. government.”


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The DIY Foreign Policy Heroes are part of A Just Foreign Policy, the Summer 2008 issue of YES! Magazine.
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