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The Power of Women and Mentorship

1 October 2012 No Comment

From the Peace X Peace archives, Sri Lanka

Corinne Mitchell
Washington, DC, USA

“They may be from different cultures or backgrounds, but all share an unwavering desire for peace.”

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What an exciting time this has been for the Peace Through Mentorship program! Now in its third season, the program has grown beyond our wildest expectations. For this round, we received over 200 applications from all corners of the globe. The fall session comprises 60 pairs of women from over 40 different countries.

This third session officially kicked off September 4, and the enthusiasm from the participants so far has been overwhelming. The mentors are eager to impart their knowledge to their mentees and the mentees are eager to learn from the experience of those who have made peacebuilding a part of their lives. Says mentor Maria Morell, “What I like the most is the possibility to get in touch with people from very different cultural and professional backgrounds, to be able to share my own experience with them and to learn from theirs.”

Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects that mentoring can have, particularly for women (See, for example, http://web.mit.edu/cortiz/www/Diversity/MentoringAndWomenInAcademia.pdf). Studies show that mentoring can reduce job stress and lead to greater career satisfaction. They also show that female mentors are more likely to convey empathy and support than male mentors. These studies consistently lead to the same conclusions: mentorship can be extremely beneficial to a woman’s career and life.

Our program focuses on peacebuilders, young and old, to develop mentoring relationships focused on peace. Experienced peacebuilders can provide guidance for emerging peacebuilders, while learning new ideas themselves. Peacebuilding is an inherently cooperative endeavor, and mentorship provides an opportunity for collaboration. As mentor Alicia Cabezudo says: “It is an innovative approach to create links between experienced practitioners and/or instructors and young people. It is a good way to exchange ideas, information, concepts, thoughts and have a good time together while learning!”

Another strength of our program is our global network of peacebuilders, which allows us to bring together women from around the world. Very rarely will a participant be matched with someone from the same country. Most often, pairings will span national borders and even continents. This differentiates our program from other mentoring experiences because the matches are between people who likely would never have otherwise met. They may be from different cultures or backgrounds, but all share an unwavering desire for peace. The cross-cultural nature of the program allows participants to encounter new ideas and perspectives, an important component of peacebuilding.

We are very excited about this program and are eager to see the mentorship relationships develop before our eyes. If you would like to participate in a future Peace X Peace mentorship session, either as a mentor or a mentee, please check back with our website in early 2013 for applications. If you have any questions, please direct them to mentorship@peacexpeace.org. By working together and learning from each other, we can build peace!

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The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Peace X Peace.

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