Journeys of Reconciliation - Recent Journeys
Appalachia Journey (2003)- While visiting parts of the Appalachian region (eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, western North Carolina), we listened to a history of exploitation and resistance. We heard from educators, community organizers, artists, politicians, representatives from the coal mining industry, religious leaders and students. The extraction of natural resources and underdeveloped infrastructure in Appalachia has led to high rates of unemployment and addiction. Yet in peoples' stories, there was a current of creativity, resistance and joy that left us with a deep impression of the region's complexity.
Mississippi Delta (2003) - In Mississippi, the main focus of the trip is on the history of race in the American South.
Montana Journey (2002, 2003, 2005)- In Montana, Journeyers visit the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations. While there, Journeyers visit with government officials, tribal elders and religious leaders to gain a better understanding of issues of race, poverty, health and indigenous culture, listening to how Native peoples relate to a dominant society that has a history of exploiting them.
New Orleans (2007) - In recognition of Hurrican Katrina in August 2005, this journey focused on the devastating effects of this flood on the city. Conversations included meetings with New Orleans religious communities (Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish) and experts from medicine, nursing, religious studies, social justice advocacy, interfaith cooperaetion, philanthropy, civic and neighborhood planning, public education, the arts, university education, and social work.
Texas/Mexico Border ( 2003) - We sought to understand how America and Mexico are mutually defined as neighboring countries. Partnering with the University of Texas at Brownsville and Curamericas, we met a diverse group of people from both sides of the border. We saw colonias built on landfills and witnessed the effects of environmental pollution on children and families. We visited community health clinics and maquiladoras (one producing auto parts and another flour for corn tortillas). Focusing on issues of public health, education, labor practices, immigration and poverty, we grew in our understanding of the area, the people we met, one another, and our individual vocation.
Oaxaca, Mexico (2004) - Recognizing that Mexican indigenous culture is undergoing conflict with increasing ‘Americanization’ around the globe, the Oaxaca journey tries to learn and experience indigenous culture of rural central Mexico. The group visits ancient archeological sites, engages discussion with local religious leaders, visits local sacred sites, and participates in a variety of indigenous rituals including prayer and welcoming ceremonies as well as a ritual sweat in the lodge of local villagers. In the past, Journyeres have met with a family who was sending their son to the U.S. having been recruited for work by another Mexican man. Such interactions sparked conversation around questions of indigenous spirituality, issues of globalization, particularly immigration policies in the United States.
Bolivia (2001, 2002) -The journey focused on health and healing, volunteering in several health clinics under the direction of Andean Rural Healthcare, an organization that provides health care to rural areas of Bolivia.
Cuba (2001, 2002, 2009) -This group traveled to Cuba and met with community leaders, universities, and religious groups to explore how they might develop partnerships to support the work of reconciliation within the country.
Costa Rica (2005) -Costa Rica has a strong democratic tradition and a long history of dispute resolution. Owing in part to their impressive 95% literacy rate and national education system, Journeyers examine Costa Rica’s educational system.
Journeyers also analyze how Costa Rica seeks to protect natural resources while maintaining an important job-providing tourist industry, and how issues of absentee land ownership affect local economies and communities. A portion of this Journey will be devoted to tutoring at an elementary/secondary school and community-sponsored service.
Bosnia-Herzegovina (2004, 2005) - The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s erupted between the Croat (Roman Catholic), Serb (Eastern Orthodox), and Bosnia (Muslim) populations of the country as the former Yugoslavia disintegrated. The war in Bosnia witnessed some of the worst atrocities in Europe since the second World War, including large-scale ethnic cleansing. In 1995 following Dayton Accords, the country began the long process of rebuilding and reconciliation. On this trip, we plan to meet those community leaders who are tirelessly working to reconstruct and reconcile the community.
South Africa (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006) - Ten years after the first free elections, the Journey to South Africa will look at post-apartheid South Africa under majority rule, focusing on two main areas: education reform/access, and AIDS, or the new global apartheid. Journeyers will visit with educators and policy makers involved in these areas. Additionally, they will meet with faculty and students at the Universities of Pretoria, Cape Town and the Western Cape to talk with them about the changes they have experienced under majority rule.
India (2007) - Traveling to New Delhi, Pune, Chennai, and Madurai, this journey discussed political and economic implications of globalization. The group met with Indian college students and religious groups for dialogue and cultural exchange.