Building Peace in the Middle East
“Hiking through the forest, sleeping beneath the stars or sitting around a campfire over a meal with someone who’s supposed to be an enemy can be transformative,” says Nettie Pardue.
She should know. Nettie is Director of Programs at the Outward Bound Center for Peace Building (OBCP). For the past four years they have been implementing the Palestinian and Israeli Emerging Leaders program, a joint endeavor with Search for Common Ground that brings leaders from each side together to meet and share experiences. Drawing from all sectors including, business, civil society, religion and politics, it includes adventure, challenge, leadership development, relationship building and connecting with nature.
Nettie, an alumna of Saybrook’s LIOS program in Leadership and Organization Development, is there every step of the way, from designing the programs to training, facilitating and coaching participants.
It’s the kind of work she says a LIOS degree prepared her for.
“I heard about LIOS from another Outward Bound instructor, and I remember thinking ‘Wow, this is great, it sounds like just my type of program. It's experiential and it's hands on. The model of working intensely with a group of people seemed very interesting and appealing. By 2004 I knew I definitely needed to go to graduate school, and I looked around, and Saybrook still stood out.”
As someone who does intensive group work with diverse leaders, Nettie says she’s still amazed and impressed at the curriculum and design of her graduate education at LIOS.
“I've worked with hundreds of groups in an intense learning process, and LIOS is designed exactly right for wherever the group is in their learning process,” she says. “With the experiential learning emphasis at LIOS, you live it and learn it so much more deeply: it gets kinesthetically encoded. I'm not a 'read a textbook and regurgitate it back' person. Everything we were exposed to, we could immediately try it out. I have embodied many of the lessons that I learned at LIOS and can draw upon them as practical resources.”
The Outward Bound Center for Peace Building also trains individuals from all over the world in experiential peace building who want to develop programs like this for their own societies. The skills she’s developed, and the work she’s doing, may bring change to some of the world’s most conflicted regions, one person and one group at a time.