Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Intern's Reflection

by Katharine Shapleigh

“Baby you’re a fireeeeeework, come on let your colooooors burst!”

It’s Tuesday, our day of tourism in Boston, and every one of our 75 participants from around the world congregated in Jimmy’s Brick Oven Pizza is throwing their hands in the air to Katy Perry’s hit song, Firework. It’s been a day full of activities– from a personal address by Vicky Kennedy to our own Flash Mob in the middle of Boston’s Long Wharf. Six days into Project Common Bond, the feeling in the room is unforgettable. Participants, staff, interns, and facilitators jump up and down and shout out the words to the song– celebrating community, strength, and life itself.

“Baby you’re a fireworkkk, come on show ‘em whaaaat you’re wooorth!”

As an intern for the summer, this week has really demonstrated Tuesday's Children's mission to provide support through the healing process for individuals that have lost loved ones to terrorism. It was so rewarding to see Kathy, Candy, Chrissy, Paige, and so many others' hard work create such an essential community for these young adults-- One participant I met who lost his father in 9/11 said at Project Common Bond he could finally be himself among peers that shared a common bond of loss.

Youth from conflicts such as Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland and Ireland that have gathered together in search of understanding, peace, and the restoration of dignity now form a congo line across a pizza restaurant and laugh as they hoist a smaller Israeli participant on their shoulders. I am touched that their experience of loss has not led to hatred, but to hope for a more peaceful future.

Looking back at the dialogue and laughter shared over the 9 days of Project Common Bond, I am coming to understand the significance of the Survivor Tree at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City, adopted as part of Project Common Bond’s logo. Terrorism– the loss and the lasting impact it has made on their lives– happened. But, somehow, this community continues to live and grow tall, shaping their own futures as peacebuilders. Witnessing this courage and will to do good, I leave humbled and inspired. Thank you to Tuesday’s Children, facilitators, donors, and especially the participants, for showing me the way we can support one another and seek an end to both violent conflict and its legacy through dignity, community, and a touch of grace.

Team Orange repping our team cheer!
Look closely and see our participants "playing it cool" moments before Long Wharf erupts into a Flash Mob!
My Friends from Pakistan model their PCB shirts!
The Sri Lankan participants demonstrate their traditional dance at the Talent Show at the end of the week!

Katharine :)

A Blog Entry from a Counselor

By Mari Timpanaro
When this journey began 10 days ago, I could never have predicted, or allowed myself to fully understand, the transformations that happen in this very giving and protected space of PCB. 10 days ago, I walked into a second family; a family of educators, Masters, and PhD students who all have wonderful talents (comedy, music, dance, drama, knowledge, etc.) they willingly grant to others. 10 days ago, this “old fart” novice PCB counselor felt the euphoria ripple through this group and became addicted to the spell of Project Common Bond.

8 days ago, planes and buses overflowing with participants from 15 countries blessed Governor’s Academy with some truly remarkable young people. Child Welfare advocates, sons and daughters of 9/11 victims, and authors walked into this program and forever altered the lives of their counselors and each other. When surrounded by such accomplished humanitarians, your faith and energy for maintaining persistent, yet dignified discussions to better our global connectedness is restored. This group of young people proved that using “active listening” to accompany a proactive mind and a welcoming heart can, in fact, set us on a new course. Their selflessness and gloriously friendly natures were so refreshing. During one of our many dance parties as I looked around while grooving to the music, I saw a room filled with participants from Sri Lanka, Spain, Northern Ireland, and France, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity. PCB, to you we belong.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Peace in Action

The Peace in Action sessions have been gratifying. Participants started by articulating visions of peace.  There is something so special about this unique group of young leaders transforming their life experiences into visions of what the world needs.  

Since then they've been working with each other to transform their visions into pragmatic action projects.  It's been inspiring to watch how connected people are while doing this work. We're watching contributions to a better future happen in real time, and that is very exciting.

Bauback Yeganeh, Ph.D.
PCB, Peace in Action Faculty Member

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Art Elective

Photos from the Art Elective taken today:

"The whole world gets a little smaller..."

So I stood there in the Student Center with my four new friends from Sri Lanka teaching them magic. Magic, like music is a universal language. We laughed a lot while making M&Ms disappear. It made me forget my seven hour ride that morning from Long Island. My name is Dan and for the last 11 years, I have helped these kids from Tuesday’s Children and Project Common Bond tell their amazing and inspiring stories.

In a matter of minutes, I met teenagers from France, Algeria, Morocco, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Pakistan and so many more. They were singing, laughing, sharing stories and bonding. They told me stories of their Peace in Action class and the importance of dignity when dealing in delicate peace negotiations.

Algeria and France battled hard at fooseball and afterwards laughed about their game. Then the room exploded in excitement when Molly, a PCB Counselor and staff member walked in with a bag of popsicles. I learned popsicles are also a universal language. So at the end of day three, I watched new friends become best friends and the whole world get a little smaller.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Art Elective

Participants in today's Art Elective courses created symbols reflecting their ideas of peace along with their names on a collage which is now held by the Peace in Action program.

Here are some fun photos from the campfire social last night!