Students‘ Voices

„Increasingly, given the world that we find ourselves inhabiting today, we hear thePallavi Kaushal words diversity and solidarity being used in an aspirational form. The Innsbruck Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies has provided me with the opportunity to understand and engage with these words on a visceral level through the experiences I have made in the day-to-day functioning of the program. Such a space, a safe space, in my opinion is exceedingly rare and tremendously potent in the scope of learning it provides for me as a student from a different part of the world. Furthermore, an internationally diverse peer group has allowed me to expand the perceived limits of my knowledge, empathy, compassion and resilience – all skills I believe to be crucial towards harmonious cohabitation today.“

(Pallavi, Political Sciences (B.A.), Conflict Transformation and Peace Building (Diploma), Work in Social Change Organizations, India)

„This program gave me more than any other program would have given to: it did help me to recognize and trust my potential, to see my creativity, to witness so many transformations and to learn to accept differences. Learning in an international multicultural environment helped me to see the beauty of diversity. I have friends from every continent of the world, and listening and sharing with each other, supporting each other is an invaluable gift. And now I am able to continue my studies, my third term due to this support, support from the students who founded Peace Studies Fund. And I am grateful for that, for being part of this diverse environment and global connection.“

(Lilit, Current Peace Student, Armenia)

„The most transformative and deeply cherished moments of my studies in Innsbruck were the times I was being challenged to re-think and re-evaluate my opinions, my emotions, and even what I considered to be my knowledge.  These challenges are built imeaghannto the structure of the program itself, but they are amplified and made so much richer, more challenging, and therefore more rewarding because of the diversity of the student body.  Being able to study within an ever-expanding world as I heard the stories of friends from all over the world was a priceless experience and one that has forever changed me.  Knowing that my own unique story added to that sense of diversity and solidarity has been the motivation for my thesis and my future aspirations in educating children to find strength and beauty in diversity.“

(Meaghan, School Teacher, Canada)

„For me diversity is life.Diversity is both being and living what exists inside me, and I believe this variety exists in the human beings around me as well. The Master of Arts Program in Innsbruck challenged me to explore and accept the parts of me that I have feared or ignored. tuva2.png That taught me that by accepting these aspects of mine, it becomes easier to accept similar aspects and the diversity of the people around me.
In a world where actions and politics seem to be driven by fear for that which is unknown, different or even from ourselves, I believe acceptance and tolerance are essential. This experience reminded me that my perspective on how things “should” be done is not the only one. Fellow students, from different cultures see the world differently. By seeing how I am shaped by my culture, in contrast to all the different cultures in my surrounding, I developed a deeper understanding for different patterns of behavior. For me diversity is life. A life of understanding and love. „

Tuva, Leader of Changemaker (Non-Governmental Organization), Norway

„The most important learnings I have acquired during my studies have never been in thebooks, but in the experiences shared with my fellow students. Feeling part of aninternational group, with all the diversity of backgroundmarias and cultures that it brings, has meant for me feeling part of something bigger; feeling connected to many parts of the world. Thanks to those encounters, I have been able to get to know more about places I’ve never been to and situations I would not have been able to understand. And thus, it is through those encounters that I got to know myself better. To me, solidarity is not about helping others to do something; it is about giving all of us the opportunity to be the teachers and students in all of our relationships.“

Maria, European Studies (B.A.), M.A. candidate and currently writing her thesis, Spain

„I can say with all my heart that this course of study has changed my life. In addition to the academic knowledge of peace research and conflict transformation, the cultural exchange and cohabitation with my fellow students was the most formative experience. People from all over the world, from different age groups and with different professional backgrounds come together with the common need to bring more peace to this world. Thus, as a German with a background in engineering, I was able johannesto live together with a forty-year-old pastor from Ghana and a twenty-year-old political scientist from Azerbaijan to discuss social problems and even experience moments of peace and conflict personally. The exchange with these different perspectives is, in my opinion, essential for a sustainable understanding of peace. Knowing that there are people in every part of this world who choose peace over violence and love over hatred and who give their lives for their conviction, makes me believe in a positive future.“

Johannes, Creative Technology (B.A.), M.A. candidate and currently writing his thesis, Germany

I see things differently since I got to know this Master Program. The way I enpaulcounter my environment, fellow (human) beings and not least myself has changed. I was confronted with many different peaces and truths and I was strengthened by those experiences. All the academic and practical inputs of the program have helped me becoming a peace worker. Above all, my life was enriched by the encounters with colleagues from all over the world. Peace Studies Innsbruck provided an insight into lived diversity with all its potentials and challenges. That is what makes me grateful.“

Paul, Sustainability- and Conflict Researcher, Austria

„Studying amidst a culturally diverse group of people, brought me to discover and better understand myself and the cultural roots that make me who I am. What I assumed was the normal, suddenly when checked in relation to my culturally diverse colleagues and friends, seems quite unique. By relating with peoplemanuel with different roots, suddenly my own ones jump to my eyes in contrast and I had the chance to put them in perspective. Furthermore, yes, our cultures and the nation states we come from do shape us as humans and in this program I had the opportunity to experience this. But much more important than that, at the same time that cultures do actually exist, what I bring from this multicultural and diverse experience, is that behind the cultural and national labels, every human being is unique and that makes us very similar. Maybe we are all similar in our uniqueness. Every person, while never being an island (as we are in constant interaction), has an own and unique story, an unique body, unique emotions, an unique power, an unique heart, an unique voice and an unique way of seeing the world shaped by that person’s very own journey. This experience brought to my eyes how such a thing as ‘them’ does not really exist, it is ‘Us’ walking this world!“

Manuel, Political Sciences (B.A.),  M.A. candidate and currently writing his thesis, Portugal

My name is Patrick Iregura and I am a perpetual peace student, which means I am always highly intrigued by anything peace related. patrickAs a citizen of Rwanda, studying the MA program was probably the most diverse experience I have ever been part of. Imagine sharing a learning space with an eclectic group of students from all over the world, anywhere from Austria, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Norway, Denmark, Nepal, Mexico and the list goes on. This rich cultural and academic environment and the unique touch of the program helped me grow my open-mindedness exponentially and in a non judgmental manner.And one of the most inspiring lessons learnt was that my colleagues and I were given a chance to reconnect with our inner most sense of humanity. After three terms of what turned out to be a transformative journey, and watching the Peace Studies Fund get off the ground, I was strengthened in my resolution, I knew that I have it in me, to use whatever resource I could find to help young people in my home country, one step at a time.“

Patrick, Educator, Working in strategic development and peacebuilding in non governmental organisations, M.A. candidate and currently writing his thesis, Rwanda

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