In 2009, I graduated from Armand Hammer United World College of the American West after having the most extraordinary years in my life, and much more to come. I learned at the UWC-USA many things, including some calculus that I almost failed on my IB-exam, yet the most important lesson was that we have in one place people from more than 80 countries, from different backgrounds, cultures, with countless believes, and opinions – yet, still living together and sharing everything with each other. This is the most hopeful fact I have learned, the dream I lived that the world without conflicts is possible, because if this is possible at the UWC, it is also possible anywhere…
While being at the UWC we followed few simple rules that I think each of us should utilize in daily life:
- explore and examine differences,
- appreciate multiple truths,
- communicate with respect and take responsibility,
- problem solve collaboratively,
- apologize, forgive, and make amends,
- live with awareness and gratitude.
These simple seven rules if respected and used in daily routine are able to make miracles. Just as miracles I have seen while at UWC. People there separated by history and current conflicts were coming together and discussing past and contemporary issues. And more than that, they were looking ahead for the better future. I know all of that might seem so idealistic and so unreal for someone who never experienced UWC, but what can I do if for two years, every day, I observed possibility of solution for all world conflicts either if it is Palestine and Israel or Tibet and China - I have seen those solutions in my friends, in their dialog. Since then, every time when I am hearing politicians saying that something is impossible; I simply do not buy it. They make it impossible, because they too often do not know how to listen, how to be and work together with those who might not share the same cultural luggage. As one of my fellow UWCers Dikpal Dhamal said: “The peace we seek is not in some distant land but within us and in our actions for the rest of our lives.” That is why I stopped to blame politicians, corporations, and others for all of that misery out there, I know that the key is in organizing, and only by organizing we can make a difference. As old proverb says “if you are not a part of solution; you are the part of the problem.” UWC is a solution, but we need other people to share that solution with us.