Students experience South Africa through Albert Schweitzer Institute

Photo by Elaine Martinez'16

Photo by Elaine Martinez ’16

The Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University sponsored a trip to South Africa for the 2014 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Due to travel visa restrictions for the Dalai Lama, the Summit was suspended and will be relocated. Led by David Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, students were instead afforded a variety of opportunities including attending an indaba, visiting Robben Island and going on safari.

Here, students reflected on their experiences in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sarah Winjobi ’15

Indaba is a South African word meaning a get-together or sharing.

On the third day of the Indaba there were various sessions with a variety of topics discussed. One of the topics, “Life After Conflict,” caught my attention because it focused on the American Friends Service Committee and services they provide.

I knew about the genocide in Rwanda, but at the Indaba I learned about the neighboring country of Burundi and the violence between ethnic groups due to past genocide. During the session I watched a video in which a Burundian war veteran shared how he changed his life path from a soldier to a man who helps his community.

I heard another story about a woman who felt ostracized when returning to her own country, after becoming a refugee in a neighboring country. This woman distanced herself from her community, only to realize that she was not alone in her suffering.

Many Burundians have been affected by the war — with the help of the American Friends Service Committee, peace villages were created as a place for those affected. I learned about the stories and the perspectives of Burundians living and working in these peace villages. Whether someone is from the Twa, Hutu, or Tutsi ethnic group, these villages provide a comfortable and safe haven for everyone. Having these communities help to strengthen the bonds between all Burundians.

I’m glad that I was able to become aware of some ways that organizations like the AFSC are striving to promote peace across the globe.

Photo by Elaine Martinez'16

Photo by Elaine Martinez ’16

Tracey Hummel ’15

This past week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Over the course of three days I had the opportunity to work with a group of young, wonderful and intelligent people from our Indaba. I feel so lucky to have met people who are ready to tackle the challenges that surround peace and equality.

The workshops and the Chaeli Campaign were amazing. Chaeli Mycroft is an outstanding individual. She has taught me, along with the other delegates, that it is our time to create action and create change. I enjoyed our workshops, especially when they became more interactive.

We spent a couple days touring, which included the Slave Lodge, District Six, Table Mountain and Robben Island. Seeing these places made for an eye-opening trip.

Robben Island was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Our tour guide in a former inmate and gave us an insider’s look into how this prison ran and his own experience there.

The two most powerful things I saw were the cells of the inmates with their biographies and Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. It was fascinating to get a full view of the cell that Mandela was imprisoned for twenty-seven years.

After our conference we spent the next two days touring Hermanus and going to Aquila Private Game Reserve. I know that I, along with everyone else on the trip, enjoyed going on safari to see some of our favorite animals. It was a nice way to relax and enjoy ourselves after the week. I was so excited to see the lions and the elephants.

I am looking forward to the next Indaba and summit in Atlanta!

Categories: Albert Schweitzer Institute

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1 reply »

  1. Very nice sharing everyone. Cape Town seems cool and great destination for this holiday.

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