We are one small step closer to world peace, thanks to The University of New Mexico. The Global Education Office (GEO) has officially announced the Friends of Fulbright Argentina Institute for Young Leaders: Leading Peace Through Policy Making, as part of its longstanding Friends of Fulbright program.
The Institute for Young Leaders is a revolutionary, short-term certificate program funded by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, focused on diplomacy, political leadership and domestic and foreign policy. GEO applied to host it, entering a rigorous process against numerous other universities.
GEO Global Programs Manager Sue Wilder says UNM was chosen for its robust global certificate programs, unique Peace Engineering approach towards real-world problems and its previous success working with the U.S. Embassy in Argentina.
Wilder, as well as Executive Director for Global Education Initiatives Nicole Tami and Dean for the School of Engineering Donna Riley, spoke at the opening ceremony on June 5. Both highlighted the highly imperative, though not always top-of-mind aspect of peace engineering.
"Peace engineering shows how the field can solve big, wicked problems. This discipline considers anything that affects global welfare and security," Riley said. "Peace engineering can direct aim towards improving peace, but you can't do it with engineering alone."
Friends of Fulbright Argentina Institute for Young Leaders: Leading Peace Through Policymaking welcomed a new wave of 20 young Argentinian leaders, who had just completed a degree at an Argentinian University, and came to UNM determined to keep the momentum going. Many of these hard-working individuals are already working in the fields of law, policy creation and political campaigning.
“We are honored to host this group of young Argentinian leaders who are committed to collaborative leadership and policy-making for sustainable and meaningful change,” Wilder said. “I am very excited to see what these scholars take away from the impressive cadre of global peace leaders they will meet during this active, experiential program, and I'm even more excited to see how they ultimately advance peace in the world as a result of their time here at UNM.”
These young professionals, ranging from age 22 to 29, will spend three weeks at UNM exploring Peace Engineering through real-time case studies. By comparing and studying Rio Grande sustainable water policies and sustainable development in Argentina’s San Javier community, GEO leaders hope scholars will work through three global challenges: health in all policies; justice, equity, accessibility, diversity and inclusion (JEADI) and climate change and sustainability.
“These programs are part of our internationalization policy. Not every student can go abroad, so when you interact with folks who found their way here, I'm always grateful," Tami said. "They're going to leave here with an impression of UNM and Albuquerque, so this goes a long way to build or reputation globally and contributing to solving diplomacy."
After their time at UNM comes to an end June 24, the future peacemakers will spend one week in Washington D.C. to explore bureaucracy on a national scale, while engaging in educational and cultural activities. In addition, their previous three weeks of work, in which each will have compiled policy proportions for these environmental case studies, will also be presented in the nation’s capital.
Those not enrolled as a Friend of Fulbright, can still be a part of the solution in a brand new way during the month of June. Thanks to the new institute, GEO will simultaneously present a virtual Peace Engineering Symposium from June 20 to 22.
The online event, hosted by UNM and Argentina's Universidad Nacional de la Plata will consist of keynote speakers, panel discussions, and case studies to explore practical applications of leading peace through policymaking around these global challenges. Faculty, students and anyone interested in creating a world where prosperity, sustainability, security, transparency and a culture of equity and quality thrive are invited to attend, and can sign up here.
"This idea you're engineering peace seems like it's just from engineering. Yet, it's how we as a society and we as professionals can work together to also help engineer peace," Tami said.
GEO wishes the inaugural class of the Institute for Young Leaders nothing but enrichment during their time at UNM, and is grateful to the US Embassy in Argentina for the opportunity to make it happen. Any students, staff and faculty on campus interested in meeting this group can also email the Global Education Office.